CHANGE: City Extends Landlord Registration ENFORCEMENT to 2/1/16; Deadline Remains 1/1/16

Art Howe, Administrator of the New Housing Safety Office This Morning.

Art Howe, Administrator of the New Housing Safety Office This Morning.

Mike Llbby, Property Manager, of Clearview Properties, at City Hall Today.

Mike Llbby, Property Manager, of Clearview Properties, at City Hall Today.

Carol McCracken  (Post # 2,495)

The City of Portland  just announced that it will not enforce the deadline for landlords to register with the City until February 1, 2016.  This enforcement was changed from January 1, 2016 to the February date to “gain more compliance.”  The deadline, however, still remains January 1, 2016 for landlords to register their units with the city.Landlords are required to pay $35. per unit with the registration. This grace period has been established because of the newness of the program and in an effort to be sure that all parties involved are aware of the charge. The penalty for failure to comply is a fine of $100.00 per day.

The City had considered a mass mailing to landlords to inform them of the new policy that requires them to register with the city at a charge of $35. per apartment unit. Because of the expense involved, it decided to rely on social media, newspaper, television and the Southern Maine Landlord Association, (SMLA),  to get the word out about the new policy.  SMLA is doing a postcard mailing to inform landlords of this change. However, the notices have not yet been mailed.  Unfortunately, not every landlord affected by the new policy is a member of  SMLA.  There has been no out-reach effort to Portland landlords who live out-of-state or overseas.  “We have been sharing news of this since the Council passed it in June,” emailed Grondin to this blogger following a request as to how landlords have been notified.  However, not everyone plays close attention to the actions of the Portland City Council.

Meanwhile, Art Howe, the administrator of the new Housing Safety office was swamped with phone calls and emails today.  “We expected that this would happen,” said Howe as he worked the telephone this morning.  “The phone has been ringing every five seconds,” he added, from his office in the basement of city hall.

Property manager Mark Libby, of Clearwater Properties, arrived at city hall this morning to find out more about how to register on-line.  He said he has talked to numerous  managers from other development companies as well and they knew nothing about this new policy nor how to register for it.  “The people I’ve spoken to don’t mind paying the $35., but they are upset because they don’t know how to register and because they received inadequate notice,” Libby said.  Libby said that eventually tenants will end up paying the $35. fee in their rents. Discounts on the fees charged to landlords as previously listed herein, will benefit only the largest developers in the city because they are the only ones who can afford to install sprinkler systems throughout their buildings said Libby.  The fee for a unit cannot be reduced to more than $15. per unit through these incentives listed in the post previous to this one.

Then it was Libby’s turn to learn from the Housing Coordinator how to register on-line.  Libby said he was now able to explain to the many folks who look to him for such information, how to register on-line.  Other landlords showed up at city hall today to learn more about the process from the Housing Safety Office.

When informed of the chaos that ensued because of the lack of sufficient notice to landlords, city spokeswoman Jessica Grondin, said:  “Chaos is good.  It means that people are finding out.”

However the city’s website has not been changed to reflect this grace period for landlords just established by the city.

Please see previous post herein for more details of the city’s registration program.