Muncie City Council withdrew a landlord-registration ordinance requiring landlords to make personal contact information publicly available during its meeting Jan.9. Dozens of landlords attended the public hearing in December to oppose the ordinance. Max Lewis // DN
Muncie City Council withdraws landlord-registration ordinance
The Muncie City Council withdrew a contentious landlord-registration ordinance that would require landlords to make personal contact information publicly available during its meeting on Jan. 9.
The ordinance, labeled 48-16, was opposed by dozens of landlords at a public hearing held in December. City council member Julius Anderson said the opportunity to meet with the public and hear their concerns proved beneficial during recent council committee meetings.
"For nearly three hours, the public voiced their opinion for and against this ordinance," Anderson said. "[There was] an overwhelming 'no' on this ordinance ... people came out and spoke with what was on their hearts ... it was a good meeting."
Fellow city council member Nora Powell said that she had also spoken with numerous individuals about the ordinance, including landlords, realtors and Muncie Mayor Dennis Tyler.
"Ordinance 48-16 was originally proposed to be used as one tool in our toolbox to combat blight and to help identify landlords and property owners that the city would feel the need to contact if there were an issue," Powell said.
She added that one realtor told her "something needs to be done, but this is not it."
When the council prepared to vote, Powell withdrew the ordinance, receiving applause from the audience present at the meeting.
Had the ordinance passed, however, landlords would be required to provide forms to the city building commissioner that include their name, telephone number, email address and business address. Other cities in Indiana, including Indianapolis and South Bend, currently require landlord registration.
Although many landlords opposed having their personal information accessible to the public, junior elementary education major Beth Reynolds — who rents a house off campus — said she could have benefited from the ordinance had it been passed.
"I've had less than satisfactory landlord experiences in the past, and I think this could have been helpful to a lot of students who live off campus," Reynolds said. "But I understand [landlord] privacy concerns — I think I would feel the same — but it still draws attention to issues that can exist when you're renting around the university."
Reynolds said that landlord accountability was her biggest concern, and in the future, she hopes the city council may be able to come up with "a different type of solution."