City to consider rental property registration proposal

Richard Fogler is pictured in front of one of his rental properties at 711 Glendale Drive in Columbus, Ind., Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017. Mike Wolanin | The Republic

Opposition has surfaced to a proposed plan requiring landlords who own private rental properties to register with the city each year.

Bartholomew County Landlord Association representatives said they oppose the proposal. It would require a $5 registration fee per rental property parcel within the city limits starting in the spring, said Susan Thayer Fye, an association member.

Under the ordinance, the rental registration program would allow police and fire department personnel to have contact information for landlords in case of emergencies with their property, said Robin Hilber, city community development programs coordinator.

But Fye said the landlord association opposes the proposal, saying that the information is already available online. The registration program should be required for everyone in Columbus, not just landlords, she said.

“Why are we being singled out and they’re not?” Fye said.

Landlords are being asked to provide their name, address and an emergency contact number. If the property owner doesn’t live in Bartholomew or a contiguous county, the name and contact information for a local representative of the landlord will be sought, according to Hilber. Each time the rental property changes ownership, a new registration would be required within 30 days of the transfer, she said.

Fye questioned the validity of the information that would be entered into the proposed database kept by the city, saying those details often change on a daily basis.

“I don’t think people at City Hall realize how fast that information changes,” she said.

For more on this story, see Wednesday’s Republic.

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Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or