Landlord Registry Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Question: Why do we need a landlord registry? Answer: Landlords are currently unregulated. In many cases, identifying the landlord is very difficult and thus it is hard to hold negligent landlords accountable for properties that are negatively impacting their tenants and the surrounding neighborhood. The chronology of events before a property becomes abandoned and thus a financial and public health liability for Marion County has shown in many of those cases that the properties were poorly kept rentals. Property ownership comes with responsibility and when someone rents a property to the public, there are additional responsibilities. Many properties that are poorly kept have owners who are, and at times deliberately so, difficult to track down. The registry seeks to address this issue. Question: Where did the idea of a registry come from? Answer: Residents across the city have complained about having trouble with landlords that were bad actors, leaving their properties in poor condition. This year the state legislature responded by putting into place state law that defines the parameters around which a landlord registry can be instituted via local ordinance. A bi-partisan group of councilors then worked with the city to determine which elements of the state statute could be instituted locally. Question: When does a landlord have to be registered? Answer: Between July 1, 2014 and January 1, 2015, an owner or landlord of a rental unit must submit their registration with the department of code enforcement (DCE). Question: What information is required for the registry? Answer: The registration requires the following information: • • • • • • •
The name, telephone number, and address of the owner(s) If the owner is not an Indiana resident, the name, telephone number, and address of an Indiana resident who is responsible for the rental units An affirmation that the rental units, and any other property titled or registered under the same owner, are not in violation of any applicable Code requirements An affirmation that there are no delinquent taxes or fees owed on this property, or any other property titled or registered under the same owner A form rental agreement, if one exists An affirmation that a standard list of tenant rights provided by DCE which must be given to any tenants occupying the property A statement of the number of rental units on each separate parcel of real property covered by the registration
Question: Is there a fee for registration? Answer: There is a $5 fee for the following: â€˘ â€˘
The initial registration, required by January 1, 2015. Each change of ownership, which must be provided to DCE no later than 30 days after the change of ownership.
Question: Can I register more than one property at a time? Answer: Only one registration fee is required for all rental units in a rental unit community (such as an apartment complex). If a rental unit is not part of a rental unit community, a separate registration fee must be paid for each separate parcel of real property on which a rental unit is located, unless they are all registered at the same time. Question: Can I legally rent property if I have not registered? Answer: Upon submission of an acceptable registration form, DCE shall issue a permit to the rental unitâ€™s owner or landlord. Only one (1) permit is required for a rental unit community. A permit does not expire unless there is a change of ownership of the real property. Thus, it is illegal to rent a property without registering because no permit will be issued without registration being completed. Question: After I have registered, if nothing has changed on my registry, do I need to do anything? Answer: An owner or landlord must, on an annual basis, either verify that the initial information has not changed, or update the information as needed. There is no fee for this annual renewal. Question: What is the purpose of the Tenant Bill of Rights? Answer: This is being provided so that tenants know what is required of a landlord and how to contact the city if these requirements are not met. Examples include grass being mowed, the grounds being free of trash, the property being graffiti free, the property having working smoke detectors, water, heat, electricity, plumbing, etc. A note on the bill of rights will mention that some leases make items the requirement of the tenant and so a tenant should carefully review their lease. Question: What happens if a property is not compliant with the Tenant Bill of Rights or other code related issues? Will DCE check each year for compliance with code? Answer: No proactive inspection process will be put in place. However, if complaints are called in to the city, DCE can inspect a rental unit for compliance with city ordinance as per existing ordinance.
Question: Are there any penalties in place? Answer: The following fines can be incurred: • • • •
Failure to register a rental unit by January 1, 2015 results in a $500 fine. Failure to update the registry within 30 days of a change in ownership results in a $100 fine. Failure to allow inspection of a rental unit if complaints are submitted against a property results in a $100 fine. Standard fines may be incurred if any complaints against a property turn out to be violations of city code.