Over the past two years, a number of cities across the country have passed ordinances requiring rental property owners to live within city limits of their rentals, unless they designate a property manager or tenant agent to deal with city officials.
The assumption fueling such measures is that neglected properties are owned primarily by “absentee” landlords — those who live too far from their properties to adequately manage repairs and emergencies.
Last week, Common Council members in Middletown, New York, took a step back from their restrictive “absentee” landlord requirement by widening the radius for landlord residency to ten miles.
Council members in Middletown say the purpose of the original measure was to make sure all rental property owners not only have a managing agent designated, but that the managing agent has to live within corporate limits of the city. This requirement, members say, serves the issues of public health, safety and welfare.
Both police and fire departments have complained about the difficulty in gaining immediate access to some rental buildings. For that reason, the Middletown council considered a stricter measure that would have required landlords with multifamily properties to also leave a key with an on-site manager or tenant.
Landlords are angry, and have protested the law for a number of reasons, including the increased costs of hiring a management company, and the liability that could result from leaving a master key in the hands of an individual other than the landlord or a management company.
The council responded by amending the ordinance.
Still, the owner must live within a ten mile radius of the city, or designate an agent who lives within that radius or one who lives on-site.
That person will be responsible for maintaining the property, accepting service of process for legal matters, and granting immediate access in case of emergency.
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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.