What they’re saying: Bell, Collins, Knable, Phipps, Roseberry and Staten on rental property registration.


As the weeks go past in route to May’s primary election, I’ll try to provide periodic unedited candidate statements of approximate substance, as lifted from social media and news reports, and as opposed to familiar gems (although they certainly have their place) like “I enjoyed talking with the bunco club last night” or “donate to my campaign first, and maybe I’ll have something of merit to say later.”

That’s because it is my aim to determine whether our declared candidates have anything to say at all, and I’ll quote all candidates, whether or not they’re in a contested race. Just promising change and new ideas without divulging them won’t cut the mustard, aspirants.

Earlier in the week, I went to the Fb campaign pages of several candidates and asked a short, quick question. Note that if I omitted you from the survey, please feel free to provide a reply, and it will be published; the readier your channels of communication for me to ask, the greater chance you will be asked. Now for the question.

“Rental property registration? Go.”

Opening with numbered districts, incumbent 3rd district councilman Greg Phipps had this to say.

That’s not part of the new property ordinance. Some of us suggested it , but its the census that we need to adopt the property ordinance first .

Dustin Collins, 5th district (D) candidate:

I’d really like an accurate cost/benefit analysis on it. An ordinance is only as good as the enforcement that can be provided.

Cliff Staten, 6th district (D) candidate:

Having an effective rental property registration program is important to any city but especially New Albany as it continues to develop. Every city is different, but holding landlords accountable for the standard of living they provide to renters is universal (and good business). If we want people to move to New Albany, if we want young people to rent in New Albany, we must ensure that they have places to live where they are safe, secure, and healthy. Of course as with any program, without proper enforcement by the city it cannot succeed.

1st district councilman Dan Coffey was asked, but did not answer, and so we turn to at-large council aspirants.

First is Brad Bell (D).

I can see both sides of the argument. My concern would be enforcement. We already have tons of ordinances that go unchecked and this would probably fall into that same category I’m sure. I would like to think that a legitimate land lord would be fine with filing and registering but I have a feeling there are more bad ones than good. Then you have the added problem of finding what is and what is not rental property.

I replied to Brad, “We can’t find what is and is not rental property because we have no registration procedure. That’s actually much of the point.” He added:

Like I said, the bad ones outnumber the good and the chances of them coming forward and voluntarily spending “their own money” on a registration process is slim.

Hannegan Roseberry (D):

Building community and attracting more families to our neighborhoods is a major part of my platform. While I have a number of clarifying questions for the folks at city hall, it is clear that what we are doing right now isn’t working. I can look out my windows and see rental properties that aren’t being properly maintained or appear to have been abandoned. Landlords, as business owners, need to be held accountable for their properties and the impact their neglect has on our neighborhoods and property values. For me, this issue is a symptom of the bigger issue for the current administration – transparency and mission. As a city council member, I want to see the city first put forward a clear mission/vision for development of community, commerce, and culture. Once this vision exists, it will make decisions concerning issues (rental property registration) easier because the city’s mission is clear, and citizens will understand that creating these policies is consistent with that mission and not a random act of government.

Finally, Al  Knable’s coda (R):

Unless someone can convince me otherwise, I am favor of registration. Sooner rather than later. More rather than less comprehensive. Why? What we have now is failing. Failing the tenants and the City at large. I used to own a few rental properties, never balked at registration. Got out of that business beachside REITs are a more efficient use of my time.

Thanks, everyone.

ON THE AVENUES: Die Hard the Hunter, or the political impossibility of rental property registration on New Albany.