Dependable Erection

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Raleigh requires landlords to register

We're going to be talking about this tonight on Shooting The Bull. But if you've been reading the N&O the past week or two, you've probably seen some stories on the PROP (Probationary Rental Cccupancy Permit) Ordinance.

In essence, if you own residential rental property in Raleigh, come January 1, you'll have to register that property with the city. The cost is going to be $30/year for the first unit in a bulding, $10/year for each additional unit. So a duplex will cost 40 bucks a year, or $20/unit, which comes out to a buck sixty seven a month, or just over a nickel a day. A quadplex will be 60 bucks a year, or $15/unit. Which comes out to a dollar and a quarter a month, or a little over 4 cents a day.

I'm still a little unclear how an apartment complex is calculated. Does each building in the complex have one unit at $30/year, or is there just one $30 unit for the whole complex? We should be able find out the answer to that and other questions tonight.

Unsurprisingly, the ordinance is generating grumbling among landlords in the City of Oaks. Here's my favorite quote:
Gary Rooth said the property management company he uses has already informed him it would charge higher management fees to comply with such a registration requirement.

"I'll send a letter to tenants explaining that they will pay this fee," said Rooth, who owns 45 rental properties across the city. "I don't do this as a charity."

I of course take Mr. Rooth at his word. He's not doing this for charity. He's doing this to make a profit. In other words, it's a business, just like a restaurant or a law firm.

Now, if the results of the business practices of certain landlords and property managers results in increased costs to the city and county for things like additional police activity, additional trash pickup, additional housing inspectors, additional animal control officers and patrols, isn't it reasonable to expect the taxpayers of the city to seek solutions that place the burden of the additional costs on those who are creating the demand for the additional services? Isn't it reasonable for the taxpayers of the city to require that classes of business meet certain requirements in order to do business in that city?

In Durham, people who solicit funds by going door-to-door are required to purchase a peddler's permit. Want to hang a shingle offering your consultant services? Need to buy a business license. Want to run a restaurant? All kinds of licenses required to do that.

Why should landlords be a protected class of business owners? Especially when the ones that do it poorly generate a burden for the rest of the taxpayers of the city. If your restaurant consistently requires police presence because people are fighting or dealing drugs on your site, guess what? You won't be in business very long. Because landlords deal in housing, may not be practical to shut down a landlord's business so easily, because innocent people may be harmed by losing their residence. But this new ordinance seems to me to navigate the potential hazards quite well. In fact, i predict that landlords who clean up their act in order to avoid facing the penalties they can incur by violating the ordinance will do better in the long run than those whose only response to the ordinance will be to bitch about it.

Got a question you want to hear discussed on this topic tonight on Shooting The Bull? Send an email to ShootingTheBull AT gmail DOT com.



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