New Orleans City Councilwoman Seeks City-Wide ‘Rental Registry’

New Orleans City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell (D) has proposed a plan to create a city-wide “rental registry” which would subject all landlords to register their rental properties with the city of New Orleans and submit to an inspection of the property every three years.

Cantrell’s proposed ordinance would create a publicly-accessible rental database that would list rental houses in the city based on their landlord’s name, the rental property’s address and recent complaints about the property, according to The Lens.

Also, Cantrell is proposing that rental properties adhere to an inspection every three years. Currently, almost 53 percent of occupied units in the city are rental properties.

Not everyone is on board with Cantrell’s plan, though, with property owners saying that the proposal will do nothing to combat substandard housing in the city, according to WGNO.

“Do you think a slum landlord is going to register his blighted properties? I find that very unlikely,” says landlord Pat O’Brien.

“It seems like a huge waste of resources and time and finance to approach the ones that are doing a good job, the ones you don’t have the complaints on, and at the same time, you have an office full of complaints, lets go after the complaints,” says landlord Bob Chopin.

And, not to mention, property owners have an issue with the city coming in and inspecting rental properties every three years and then passing costs for the plan down to renters, increasing the price of living in the city.

“We don’t need to be burdened with this. This proposal y’all are making, it’s very upsetting to me and it’s un-American,” says landlord Joan Cooper.

Cantrell told The Lens that she still does not know what the cost would be to the city for the proposal.

Another issue with the plan is that some New Orleans City Council members have stake in the proposal, as they own rental properties themselves, according to NOLA.com.

When asked by NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune to disclose any financial interests in such properties, Councilwoman Nadine Ramsey said she owned three rentals.

Council President Stacy Head did not respond to the question, but records show that there are at least six residential properties in the city that are owned by limited-liability companies associated with her or her husband, Jeremy Head.

Councilwoman Susan Guidry said she owns a single rental unit, which is on the property of her personal residence and would therefore be exempt from the requirements, according to a recent draft of the ordinance.

It is still unclear about the standards in which rental properties will be evaluated from, though the plan will be administered by the city’s Code Enforcement Department. However, because the department is already overworked, Cantrell has said that the plan would take three years to phase in.

What is clear is that the standards for evaluating rental properties will be guided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Housing Quality Standards.

Readers may remember Cantrell from her efforts in sponsoring and passing a recent ordinance that will ban smoking in all public places, including bars and businesses, in a couple of months.

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