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Real estate group: City wasting time, money

Published: Fri, October 1, 2010 @ 12:07 a.m.




The city’s crackdown on landlords who haven’t registered their rental properties is misguided, said the head of the Mahoning Valley Real Estate Investors Association.

The city is “wasting time, money and resources,” said Sherry DeMar, president of the 70-member association. “We have people getting murdered left and right and vandalism pushing landlords out of town — and time and money is being spent on this. I can’t believe it.”

The city is giving landlords until Thursday to register their rental properties or face a fine of $100 a week.

The city originally had given landlords until Aug. 15 to register.

“The time is up for rental properties to be registered,” said Bill D’Avignon, the city’s community- development agency director. “We don’t want to fine anyone, but it’s well beyond the due date.”

About 1,500 rental units in the city are registered, with the number growing every time The Vindicator writes an article about the program, D’Avignon said.

But there are about 2,500 rental units not registered, city officials estimate.

“A lot of landlords are fearful to register because their rental properties are not in compliance,” said Maureen O’Neil, the city’s rental-property registration administrator. “If there are repairs to be made, please register. If they make an honest attempt to comply, we’ll work with them and give them time to take care of the problems.”

The city is asking people who suspect rental properties aren’t registered to contact them.

Residents can call the rental- property registration office at 330-742-8833, contact the office by e-mail at rpr@cityofyoungstownoh.com or mail a list to its office at 9 W. Front St., Suite 315, Youngstown, OH 44503.

Tenants are contacting the office to see if their home is on the inspection list, O’Neil said.

The program requires rental-property owners to pay the city $20 per unit for an annual license after a safety inspection. If a property is a multifamily dwelling, the first unit is $20, and each additional unit in the structure is $15.

The city’s inspection list of 21 items requires rental properties to have, among other things, working electric and heating systems, operating gutters and downspouts, structurally sound porches and stairs and windows that aren’t broken or cracked.

The inspections are basic but are needed to protect tenants’ safety, O’Neil said.

Some landlords also say the program isn’t fair because it doesn’t include vacant units, those that are owner-occupied and federally subsidized properties.

The latter are exempt because a government agency already is inspecting those units, and the city is looking at a plan to inspect vacant units, city officials say.

“The people of Youngs-town are being led [by some city officials] to believe landlords are the source of all the problems in the city,” DeMar said.


1EricLW(66 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

When you live around rentals that are rented out by Gary Crim then yeah, there are problems... lot's of them.

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2davidjohn(144 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

this is a money grab pure and simple by a bankrupt city

does the city inspect or register homes that are dumps that are owner occupied

or those which are abandoned but not rental units

if a rental unit is well maintained why should the owner have to register

should you require a landlord to dump in thousands of dollars into a house that is ruined by the tenants

or is in a neighborhood that was nice when they invested but is now a ghetto

how about some individual responsibility on the part of the tenants

does the city go after owners of dilapidated commercial property to clean it up

like the wick avenue corridor of abandoned car lots

who is going to move into these neighborhoods anyway with the violence even if you slap a little paint on a rental unit

this is another excuse to create a political job

the adminstrator oneill is a relative of a city attorney

there is no limit to the number of family members in the political class receiving a pay check

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3Reader(126 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

We need to start to clean up the city one way or another. If we can get the quality of living under control for some of these families, it is a start. This is one small step toward doing something good.
Sherry DeMar, slum lord! The rules are set, if you are earning money off of city housing and not re-investing back into the housing, the city wants to know.
Her surbaban lifestyle is being fed by the slums she rents out. If she can't pay $20 a year, do you think she is going to put smoke detectors in for the children who reside in her buildings?

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4lee(544 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Even if you rent it is up to you to clean up the trash, all you need to do is take it to the curb and that don't cost much.
I know that renters cant do major repairs but they should be able to keep the place clean.
I rented my house in Columbiana once a few years ago the ass hole dumped a load of asphalt shingles in the driveway before he left "2 months behind in rent"
I wont ever rent out anything again.

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5glbtactivist(313 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

The city has plans to dramatically increase the fee after they get all the rentals registered. That's the problem with the fee. In Wisconsin the fee eventually ended up at $900 per year. As far as I can see the city gets nothing out of this that they can't already enforce with existing laws. Section 8 rentals aren't even covered by this law. They are the trashy renters.

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6RFederer(116 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

The unemployment rate for people named O'Neil in the Mahoning Valley is zero. Wonder why?

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7walter_sobchak(2587 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

The landlords should shut up, register their property according to the law, and pay the fees. If they don't like the laws, they should vote out the council and mayor, except that Sherry DeMar wouldn't live in Youngstown.

Not requiring Section 8 properties to be covered under this is also misguided. Just because the feds supposedly already do this, the city should also inspect. This is the first step to turning Y-town around.

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8moeprops(6 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

20 bucks?? Trying being a landlord in Warren. Those rat's charge us $80 bucks a year.

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9moeprops(6 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

And yes.. Our section 8 rentals have to be inspected by HUD and the Warren Health Dept every year.

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10Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago


Oh my ! Wouldn't this be politically incorrect !



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11RFederer(116 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Not a theory at all censoredship. Practically the entire O'Neil family is employed somewhere in the public arena. Remember judge O'Neil?

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12Tigerlily(509 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

For those who question the difference between landlord and home owned dumps in the city, it comes down to this: people who own their home have a right to live how they want. people who need to rent a home have a right to be supplied with their basic needs by the landlord in exchange for the cash. when their is little choice in regards to pricing and condition of rentals in the city, it makes it hard to say "then the renters can just go to a better rental house." so the registration and inspections and improvements must be done. renting a home is a business--there are business ethics and codes. owning a home is not a business.

people should learn the difference in these distinction before complaining about something they're ignorant of.

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13Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

"people who need to rent a home have a right to be supplied with their basic needs by the landlord in exchange for the cash. "

NO WAY ! Mr. Landlord is ripping off much needed cash so that they aren't able to purchase their street medication . There is no crime in not paying rent but stealing for drug money is . It is much easier to ripp off Mr. Landlord than those nasty drug dealers . We need to have the city build new appartments for the people that are rent free and with free utilities .

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14Tigerlily(509 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Stan, I have no idea what you're talking about. Probably because I don't speak anus-ese.

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15Traveler(606 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

What i love is the city cant get people that live in the ghetto to rate out there drug dealing thugs neighbors that are going around and killing people but they will get them to rat out there landlord because there faucet leaks or he charge them to replace the window they broke

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16Boardman120(82 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Here's a thought for many of you: for those landlords teetering on the edge - and most of us are - this law will push us over the edge to abandon these properties.
There is no incentive to keep property and PAY PROPERTY TAXES - something very few (~20% of housesin the city of Youngstown) do, and then deal with this ridiculous law.
What you will see, (and I promise, is already happening) is owners abandoning their properties. This will only exacerbate the problems of vandalism, etc. that plague the city.
For those landlords who truly want to continue, they will be pushed into Section 8 housing. If you thought Section 8 was bad - get ready for more.

If anyone really thought about the unintended consequences of such ill-conceived legislation, they would have voted a resounding NO!
But no one in Youngstown ever thinks, do they?

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17Boardman120(82 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Traveler is exactly right. There is nothing in the legislation (as always) to protect a landlord from a vindictive tenant who damages a property from punitive fees for something they have no responsibility for.
A tenant can break a window again and again and again and again, and the landlord will always be responsible for it.

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18burford(95 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago


I disagree with some of your assumptions. 25 years ago many of the neighborhoods of Youngstown were fairly good when people bought investment property. Few people saw the whole city as a "tinderbox." Lansingville, upper south side, west side, parts of the noth side to name a few.

And not all investors bought single family homes. The southside has many duplexes. And many investors did live on the southside or the northside or whereever.

I agree with Boardman120. Many more homes will be abandond. And I agree with other people here who said not including all housing such as owner occupied, owner unoccupied, Section 8, etc. invites other issues.

Don't forget the mortgage lending scam led by Barney Frank and other liberal policies that put people in homes with 100% financing. People who are trash and their homes look it.

And a rental agreement means nothing to these kind of people. They trash the place, don't pay the rent because they are uncollectible, get Legal Aid to tie you up in Court and trash the place more on their way out the door.

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19burford(95 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago


My family is a southside family. It is amazing how fast a neighborhood can decline especially when there are no jobs and no middle class.

You are right about the schools. We had a hard time sellking our house because it was in the Youngstown schools.

But I fear these out of control government programs that are only in it to take more of the dwindling taxpayers' money and provide jobs for friends. If my home needs a new roof but I don't have the money until next year to do it I wait until next year. Is this oneil lady going to make landlords immeditarely make repairs that may not be critical but are the result of her arbitrary decision so she can fine the landlords if they don't and make more money for more government employees? Owning a house requires a lot of upkeep. With the animal tenants ruining them it is hard to keep up.

And I agree with a previous observation that if a landlord maintains his house or houses and they are up to code, why should he have to register and give the city any money? That sounds like stealing,

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20Traveler(606 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

What i dont understand is how is this the city's job. When you look for a apartment you walk through them before you rent. Then decide if what the landlord ask for in rent a month is reasonable for the place. If you rent a slum from a slumlord why should the city come in and demand that it is fixed up and you pay the same rent.

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21moeprops(6 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

What folks are missing is that if the landlord puts the utilities in their name, there is no way for the city to find out that the property is a rental and not owner occupied. This is how the slumlords in Warren get away with not having valid dwelling permits and not having to pay the $80 registration fee. I don't know about the Sec 8 program in Youngstown, but I can tell you that Sec 8 is very strict in Trumbull County. Your homes must be up to their code or they will not pass.

I have great tenants for the most part and treat my tenants like customers. When a bad one does slip through my background screening, they are gone. I do not put up with any issues from my tenants. The neighbors all have my business card and know they can call me anytime and I will be there within 30 mins to address the issue. You have to be hands on and run it like a business.

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