Letter: Council should have courage to deny proposal

From: Brad Grayson, Bartholomew County Landlord Association president


Columbus City Council is pondering a Landlord Registration List with fines up to $850. Council must muster the courage to deny this proposal that was placed before them with false information. Every idea does not have to be made into law.

Council has been fed misleading information by a small group who do not provide housing, believe landlords are the cause of all their problems and spread hatred.

In committee meetings the landlord representatives spoke up against this, stating a violation of privacy and housing discrimination according to Federal Fair Housing Law, which demands every person be treated the same in regard to housing. They were cursed at by committeemen without housing experience nor an understanding of discrimination law.

What started as a discussion on affordable housing dramatically shifted to demanding a landlord’s personal information be made public on a list. Lists can be dangerous. Council spotted pushback from actual housing providers and quickly shifted the emphasis to public safety, leaving out homeowners.

Are we to believe our fire and police will not respond if they cannot locate the landlord’s new cell number?

BCLA has submitted an alternate proposal which lets the council off the hook and provides a free, voluntary service for all persons without regard to renter or owner, rich or poor, color, race or creed to confidentially provide emergency services with their personal contact info.

The county offers free inspections to any renter or owner with a simple phone call. Written codes are already in place and require the inspector mail a letter. No mention of phones.

Seven county offices (Health, Technical Code -Building Inspector, Treasurer, Auditor, Recorder, Assessor, Surveyor) and seven city offices (City Garage, Board of Works, Planning, Animal Care, Housing Authority, Human Rights Commission, Utilities) all communicate easily with property owners if needed, no matter where the owner lives. They know the free GIS website shows the legal property owner and contact info. It’s right there, available 24/7/365 on any internet connection or smartphone in the field.

The city reported receiving a little over two complaints per day. Is the city department too lazy to check two to three locations and send two to three letters a day? Ask those 14 offices how they get it done.

Many complaints are over a year old and still unresolved by a simple form letter. It’s not for lack of a phone number, it’s lack of effort.

Let’s not waste more taxpayer money by creating more work to duplicate the state-allowed information already on file. LLCs, corporations, trusts are legal and viable forms of ownership. Anyone can send a letter to any owner.

It is obvious from the people who spoke publicly at the January session this is a volatile topic and the majority are against it. Landlords are angry at being singled out by the council and forced to defend their rights.

We’re hoping the council has the courage to say the old proposal might sound good on the surface but is not solving any problems.