CLINTON -- The Clinton City Council voted to levy additional fees on landlords who fail to maintain their rentals.
The vote at a recent city council meeting amended the ordinance approved in November, which requires owners of rental property to register for a business license.
The ordinance was revisited because enforcement of the new ordinance was considered too "onerous" or taxing on city time and money.
Two of the council members were in favor of downgrading to a rental registration program instead of requiring a business license.
"I feel we're really over-legislating here," said Councilman David Pearson. "We're just trying to tell people exactly what they should do, and I'm not for that."
The rest of the council, however, was in favor of keeping the business license requirement to ensure that the ordinance has the appropriate "teeth" to incentivize landlords to keep up their properties.
After much discussion, the council voted 3-2 in favor of keeping the existing ordinance with amendments that slap additional fees on landlords who do not correct maintenance issues within the city-approved timelines -- which is between one and four days, depending on the severity of the problem.
According to the amended ordinance, landlords will be charged for a city inspection if a resident's complaint about maintenance has merit. Landlords will then have a period of time to fix the problem before they are assessed additional fees for their lack of response.
Councilman Blair Bateman, who voted in favor of the amendments, stressed that the intention of the revised ordinance is to protect the health and welfare of Clinton's low-income residents.