Bloomington is going after bad landlords.
The Bloomington City Council on Monday night is expected to give the city's administrative court more power in fining chronic housing code violators.
City Manager Tim Gleason said under the proposal, repeat offenders would be put on a stricter inspection schedule and unresolved issues would be handled by the court.
“(The city is) very sympathetic to occupants in a rental property that have to live in these types of conditions, and then also the neighbors that are adjacent to the property that’s a problem,” Gleason said.
The city council called for tougher regulations after a fire at an apartment building on Gettysburg Drive. Its landlord faced hundreds of building code violations.
“Administrative court has been a topic of great interest to the council since its inception, but certainly the Gettysburg situation compelled them to want to act to review the ordinance sooner rather than later,” city Communications Manager Nora Dukowitz said.
Nearly 3,500 cases have been filed in the city’s administrative court since its inception in 2015. That includes more than 900 property code cases, according to a staff report to the city council.
“The primary focus on the property code cases has been to get properties cleaned up and into compliance,” the report said. “While a reasonable approach, some property owners have taken advantage of the system and there is a need to ensure those that violate the city’s laws pay at least court costs and the minimum fines.”
The proposal calls for the property owner to pay $110 in court costs even if a violation is abated before the court date. Owners who failed to resolve the problem before the first court date are subject to court costs and fines.
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