Carol McCracken (Post # 2,494)
Starting on January 1, 2016, landlords in Portland will be required to register their rental properties and pay a fee of $35. fee per unit by that date. The form can be found at wwwportlandmaine.gov/housingsafety and the fee can be paid online. The city announced the new policy in a press release issued this morning by city spokeswoman Jessica Grondin.
“The rental housing registration will allow us to gather much-needed date on our rental housing stock in Portland,” said Jon Jennings, City Manager. “This data will be used to help build a database for our inspectors and be available as a resource for the public. We urge landlords to submit their registration forms as quickly as possible so we can begin building the database and performing inspections in the new year.”
Landlords can reduce the registration fee through the use of the following approved discounts:
$10 for a fully-sprinkled building (verification: testing/maintenance report and/or maintenance contract)
$7.50 for a centrally-monitored fire alarm (verification: Fire Department logs and/or alarm contract)
$5 for a HUD HQS inspection (verification: inspection report within last year)
$10 for a HUD UPCS inspection (verification: inspection report within last year)
$2.50 for a smoke-free policy (verification: copy of lease and spot checks)
The fee cannot drop below $15. per unit.
The City Council approved the creation of the Housing Safety Office on June 25, 2015 following recommendations presented to them by the Fire/Code Inspections Task Force. In addition to the new Administrator and Inspectors who will be cross-trained in code enforcement and fire safety, the Housing Safety Office is charged with implementing a risk-based prioritization process for inspections; and overseeing and enforcing the revised landlord registration ordinance. There are 17,000 rental units in Portland. There is a late fee of $100. per day for not registering on time, although the City may have some flexibility on this.
No information is available as to how or if the City has notified landlords of this new policy before announcing it in a press release. Of particular interest is whether and how out of town landlords have been notified of this new ordinance.
This ordinance is the result of a fire on Noyes Street just over a year ago in which multiple lives were lost. The fire was on November 1. The building owner Greg Nisbett has been charged with manslaughter.