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Truman may regulate rental units

September 20, 2011
Kylie Saari - Staff Writer , Fairmont Sentinel

TRUMAN - Discussion about licensing and inspections of rental properties was heated but civil at the Truman City Council meeting Monday.

It was not the first time the council has discussed the possibility of an ordinance, but it was the first time landlords spoke up about it.

The landlords did not seem to have a problem with the concept of ensuring safe, livable conditions. It was the principle of the thing.

"I really do disagree with what is going on here," said landlord Ron Lenz. "Small business ... is being overregulated. We are constantly put under the microscope."

Council members told the group they are considering the ordinance by request of renters who had trouble convincing their landlords to fix situations in homes.

"I do think we have a responsibility to keep the residents safe," said Mayor Lynn Brownlee.

Lenz told the council he is concerned that no council members had approached the landlords to discuss the matter.

His main concern is that if an inspector comes to a home, he or she can dictate to the landlord what needs to be fixed or updated, with seemingly no recourse for a landlord who disagrees.

Lenz said he would rather see a situation in which landlords and tenants work together to resolve issues, with tenants able to come to the city if things are not resolved to their satisfaction.

"If a renter talks to the landlord and isn't happy, they can come to the City Council," he said.

That didn't sit well with council member Paul Leimer, who believes it is not in the city's best interest to mediate disputes.

"They have other avenues they can go to," he said. "We don't want to monitor it."

The council did not take action on the ordianance at the meeting Monday.



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