Liberty is developing a landlord registration program
By Samantha Phillips
The township is setting in motion a landlord registration program similar to the program Boardman Township trustees approved in 2014.
“In adopting this program we will accomplish not only having valid contact information but will also have an inspection process to ensure all properties are kept in a clean and safe condition,” said James Rodway, zoning inspector, in a letter to the board of trustees. “I feel this is vital if we are to keep property values from declining.”
Liberty trustees unanimously passed a resolution this month to adopt the landlord registration program. Under this program, all landlords in the township will register their properties and provide their contact information.
They also will be required to pass a yearly inspection and pay an annual fee. The fees collected will go toward running the program.
“My goal is to have this program completed this year and start inspections and licensing next year going into January 2019,” Rodway said.
Boardman set the precedent in the Mahoning Valley for this program, which Rodway said will help Liberty structure its own program.
The program is expected to keep landlords accountable for their properties and help the township resolve complaints from renters.
“The biggest thing is it gives us some control over these properties and neighborhoods. There is a trend of out-of-state people buying properties in the Valley and using them as rental-income properties,” he said.
Many single-family homes especially in the township are being bought as rental properties, he said.
The township will send mail to inform landlords of the program and to keep them updated. The township will have public informational meetings about the program once the details are set. Specifics, such as how much registration costs will be, are under discussion.
Jodi Stoyak, trustee, said she believes the program will be good for the township.
“It’s all part of a master plan of cleaning up, making things look nice so people want to live here and move here in addition to businesses wanting to move here,” Stoyak said. “It will help zoning and code enforcement get a handle on the landlords that are out of town.”
Boardman is expected to start doing annual inspections with its program next year. A Boardman landlord sued the township, citing the extra burden on the owners, after Boardman trustees approved the program. But the 7th District Court of Appeals sided with Boardman, and the Ohio Supreme Court declined to review the case.