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City ordinance protects landlords

Published: Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012 11:30 a.m. CDT

An ordinance provision may protect landlords from nonpayment of some city-owed fees by tenants.

Creston City Council approved an amending to the code of ordinances at its regular meeting Tuesday.

Ordinance No. 13-142 was amended to add provisions pertaining to a lien exemption for land lords for nonpayment of some direct city fees past due by tenants.

The ordinance now states, "... a charge for any of the services of sewer systems, storm water, drainage systems, sewage treatment, solid waste collection and solid waste disposal paid directly to the City by the tenant is exempt from a lien for delinquent rates or charges associated with such services, if the landlord gives written notice to the City that the property is residential rental property and that the tenant is liable for the rates or charges."

Melvin Scadden, Creston resident and rental-property owner requested further explanation for public understanding.

"The way I get it, is, you want to charge a deposit for garbage and sewer, is that correct?" asked Scadden.

Councilman Larry Wagner proposed questions regarding nonpayment of bills.

"If your tenant does not pay, the water bill, the garbage bill, whatever, what happens to your property?" he asked. "Who owns the property?"

"The landlord owns the property," said Scadden.

The exchange between Wagner and Scadden was to point out that landlords are ultimately responsible for their residential rental properties.

City Administrator Mike Taylor further explained the ordinance provision provides an exemption in that case.

"This is to conform with the state government. This provides further protection for the landlord," he said. "What it does, if somebody fails to pay their utility fee bills, they can't come and put a lien on the landlord, the owner of the property. So this really protects the landlords."

According to the newly amended ordinance, the city may require a deposit not exceeding the usual cost in addition to the landlord's written notice containing the name of the tenants responsible for charges, the address of the rental property the tentant is to occupy and the date occupancy begins.

In simple terms, the landlord is exempt from a lien on their property should the tenant default on their fees and payments to the city granted the landlord provided advance written notice when the property is rented and declares who is responsible for those payments.

In other city business the council:

• Approved the second reading of an ordinance amendment for cemetery regulations.

• Approved the second reading of an ordinance amendment for installment payment of cost of abatement.

• Held a public hearing and approved current activities and status of funds for CDBG No. 11-WS-015 reconstruction of waterlines along Adams and Cottonwood streets.

• Held a public hearing and approved a CDBG grant application for Creston sewer rehabilitation project phase four — north side.

• Approved a resolution for drawdown request No. 10 for CDBG housing rehabilitation project No. 09-HSG-022.

• Approved payment estimate No. 2 of $107,719.91 to Feldhacker Construction for work completed on the entrance road improvement at Creston Municipal Airport.

• Approved payment of $124.98 to Habitat for Humanity house project at 801 W. Jefferson St.

• Approved addendum to an offer for real estate at 505 N. Elm St., to extend closing to on or before Nov. 20.

• Approved an amendment to the Neighborhood Stabilization program.

• Approved an entertainment agreement for the Creston Park and Recreation Board for next summer's concert in the park.

• Approved partial street closures on Adams, Lincoln and Prairie streets 8 to 9:30 a.m. Saturday during the Creston Firefighter's 5K walk/run.

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