LEETONIA- Zoning Inspector John Rydarowicz has reintroduced a landlord-tenant agreement that should help enforce the zoning code.
Rydarowicz Wednesday night brought before Village Council a revised ordinance that would require landlords to disclose their tenants to the village. Council agreed to discuss the issue at a Zoning Committee meeting at 6:30 p.m. March 7 in Village Hall.
After much backlash from local landlords, council in January 2011 unanimously voted against the third and final reading of the initial ordinance, which the landlords claimed was unfairly restrictive against rental property owners.
The revised ordinance still requires the owners to pay a registration fee, open the property to inspections and purchase hazard and general insurance for the home, but eliminates the requirement for proof of the occupant's legal citizenship or residency. It also eliminates the requirement that each additional members living in a unit register as an occupant.
Exemptions to the agreement include hotels, motels and dormitories; senior living rental units owned by Public Authorities and Dwelling Units; and senior living multi-dwelling units operated under the Internal Revenue Service.
According to Rydarowicz, the need for the ordinance remains the same as when he first introduced it over a year ago.
"We're not getting responses from landlords (for zoning violations)," he said. "If we know who is living [in a rental unit] we can cite them instead of trying to track down the owner."
Under the ordinance the occupant will be cited into mayor's court, eliminating the hassle of finding property owners, most of whom live outside the village, Rydarowicz noted.
Rydarowicz said currently he must cite into mayor's court the landlord for violations, but if the landlord lives outside of Leetonia, a police officer must deliver the citation or it must be delivered by certified mail. Since it is not feasible to hand deliver the citations long distances, he sends them by mail. The citations are then not accepted by the landlord and returned to his office unopened, he said.
There are over 30 outstanding citations at his office, he noted.
Council President Dan Summers, who noted that the police department has also expressed a need for the ordinance, asked that council sit down with Rydarowicz to address the issue in more depth.
Kevin Howell can be reached at email@example.com