Florissant approves ordinance targeting landlords

FLORISSANT, MO (KPLR) – A Florissant City Council meeting that started Monday night ended Tuesday morning with a unanimous vote in favor of an ordinance tasking landlords with more responsibilities.

Several residents complained the city had not done enough to address problem properties.  Council members said those complaints helped inspire the board to take actions.

The ordinance would suspend or even strip landlords of their licenses if they fail to uphold certain provisions of the new ordinance.  One section of the ordinance would suspend or revoke a landlord's license if within a 12 month period the landlord has been notified of 3 or more acts of unreasonable conduct by the tenants or other persons on the property.

Several landlords spoke out against the proposed ordinance, saying it puts too much of a responsibility on them.

Several landlords also expressed concern over a $50 a year fee for every unit.  The owner of one apartment complex says the cost would be more than $10,000 annually for him.

Advocates for fair housing also expressed concern, saying the ordinance would unfairly affect poor and minority tenants.

A representative of the ACLU spoke against the measure.  He cited concerns over domestic violence situations where a renter may be hesitant to call police, fearing the incident will be treated as a nuisance, and would lead a landlord to initiate eviction proceedings.

The St. Louis Association of Realtors also has concerns about the ordinance. The agency questions some language related to what would happen if a renter failed to pay utilities.

The agency fears landlords would be on the hook to rectify the situation, but city officials said that's not the intention of the ordinance.

Agencies opposed to the measure said they hope to continue to work with the council to change the ordinance if necessary.

The Florissant council president said council members have been working on this ordinance for nearly 2 years. She said she believes it is a very good bill that will help address problem properties.