Thursday, May 2, 2013

Council Discusses Adopting “Good Landlord” Program



The Council is considering the adoption of a “Good Landlord” program, modeled on successful versions of similar programs used by cities up and down the Wasatch Front.

 For several years the Council has considered a “Good Landlord” program to help educate and inform landlords operating in the city about policies and issues common to the business.

 The Council’s interest in the program is focused on how landlord programs can lead to a drop in crime. However, one of the Council’s longstanding concerns with adopting such a program is how to encourage landlords to participate.

 Discussion of the specifics of a “Good Landlord” program occurred at last week’s Council work session meeting, with a follow-up discussion to be held during this Tuesday’s meeting.

 Council members heard a proposal to adopt a “Good Landlord” program from former Ogden Mayor Matt Godfrey, President and CEO of “Better City”, a consulting group which helps cities implement “Good Landlord” programs.

 As an introduction, Godfrey briefly described his own experience with helping implement a good landlord program for Ogden city.

“We had a need for this in our community, as we had more rentals than was healthy, and it was causing stress,” Godfrey said.

 Godfrey described three common drivers which he said lead to the eventual implementation of a landlord program: 1) an increase in crime as a result of questionable renters; 2) devaluation in home values surrounding rental properties; and 3) a general increase in community concern for the situation.

 Council members discussed with Godfrey how rental properties use more in city services such as fire and police than do owner occupied, single family residences. Godfrey said studies show that single family residences in effect subsidize rental properties, as everyone’s tax dollars must pay for the increased use of city resources.

 “This is where good landlord programs can help make a difference,” Godfrey said.

 During further discussion Godfrey said “Good Landlord” programs should educate landlords to adopt set principles which will help them administer their property and screen tenants who will then use less city resources, overall helping everyone. The Council then discussed related costs of the program, and how it will be implemented.

 Several members expressed the desire to further study the presentation and data discussed during this meeting, and to obtain feedback from landlords and renters in their districts before making a decision about adopting a “Good Landlord” program. If you have feedback for the Council, leave a comment here, or contact your Council Member directly here.