Commission looking at rental ordinance

The city of Austin’s planning commission is set to review a proposed registration ordinance for rental property owners and managers at its upcoming meeting Tuesday.

The Austin City Council voted 5-2 to explore a registration ordinance and other recommendations at its April 7 meeting.

The council would create an ordinance to require all Austin rental property owners and managers to register with the city. In addition, city departments would come together to create a mandatory educational program for owners and managers that covers owner and tenant rights. Once landlords and managers take the class, they are certified with the city. City officials say the registration process and class would be free.

Under the recommendations, city inspections would continue as they have, on a complaint-only basis. However, owners and managers that repeatedly violate the city’s housing policies would be cited more often, and continued housing complaints could result in licensing and/or a scheduled inspection housing program, among other things.

The plan is a draft thus far, created after Council Members Judy Enright and Jeff Austin met with Community Development Director Craig Hoium and Austin Housing and Redevelopment Authority Executive Director Jon Erichson.

This approach is similar to the 2011 registration ordinance the council previously pursued, according to Hoium. Among its biggest aims is to create more communication between the city and rental property owners.

“It would allow us to create a database for who owns, whether it’s the planning department, police department or fire,” Hoium said last week. “If we need to contact property owners or managers, then we would have the information to do that.”

The planning commission meets at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday inside City Council Chambers.

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