Multifamily rental properties, along with hotels and motels, would be required to obtain a similar permit which would be valid for three years or until a change in ownership. His proposal would give owners 180 days to apply for the permit and 60 days, with a possible 30-day extension, to make any required repairs.
Following Councilman Rick Bennett's recommendation of creating a self-governing board of property owners to oversee any possible code enforcement, several local residents shared their opinions.
Darlene Kanady suggested enforcing the code on both rental and owner-occupied properties with a possible exemption for low-income residents. She also voiced concerns about the extra cost associated with hiring city staff to enforce the code.
James Adams asked about individuals who purchase a substandard home with the intention of bringing it up to code, but would be unable to do so within the 30-day time frame.
Howerton addressed the concern, explaining the city will work with property owners in that situation as long as the property's exterior is in presentable condition.
Other comments focused on the intrusion of government into business agreements between property owners and renters.
"I have a problem with government dictating what I can and can't do with my own property," said Mike Eubank.
Bennett made a motion to table the issue in order to better understand the code's implications and to allow council members to discuss the proposal with their constituents. He also lamented the perceived need for government to intervene.
"I believe in self-governing," he said. "I'm sick of government taking over everything we do."
Bennett proposed asking renters whether they would rather their landlord or authorities govern the condition of their property, suggesting the vast majority would prefer the personal interaction with a local property owner.