September 20, 2012
PDT Staff Writer
Douglas Myers, a landlord in the city of Portsmouth says he is selling all of his rental property in response to the rental dwelling code about to go into effect in the city.
“I think the health department is focusing on the wrong end of things. My logic is that, as a landlord I have enough expenses. I now have to register with the city of Portsmouth and I file a tax return. I have not claimed a profit, since I’ve been filling with the city,” Myers said. “I have not made any money, even though I’ve had one regular tenant that does not take care of expenses. I have a very limited amount of financing on this property. If I had a regular loan on it I’d be foreclosed on by the bank.”
According to a letter to all landlords within the city from Andrew Gedeon, Director of Environmental Health for the Portsmouth City Health Department, the rental dwelling code will take effect at the first of the year.
The letter states that as a result of the rental dwelling code taking effect, all owners of rental units must complete an application with the Portsmouth City Health Department on or before Dec. 31, 2012.
“There is a penalty if you do not register and we find out. The penalty is 20 percent of your registration fee. That’s per-month that that you fail to register. If it’s March you are looking at 20 percent of your registration fee times three,” Gedeon said.
He said this is a good thing for the city because it puts everyone on an even playing field.
“It puts everyone on the same page, we have some landlords that are good landlords, they keep their property maintained. We have some property owners that have homes that are not fit to live in,” Gedeon said “This puts everyone on the same playing field, they all have to follow the same regulations or they will not be issued a permit and will not be allowed to rent the home.”
According to the letter the fee for a rental dwelling permit is fifty dollars for each unit. With discounts available for multi-unit buildings.
Gedeon said, applications can be picked up at the health department or by calling 740-353-5153.
Myers disagrees with the rental dwelling code and what it entails.
“I don’t agree with this new policy. As a result I am selling my rental properties in the city. I don’t like the city telling me I’ve got to fix sidewalks. I don’t like the idea of them telling me I have to hang my gutters. I will get to that, I take care of my properties. That’s not a problem,” Myers said. “What I have a problem with is having to register with the city when I am already filling a separate tax return. That takes my time and money to file a return, now they want to take cash out of my pocket. This is going to cause rents to go up higher throughout the city. I call this extortion, it may be little now but it’s not going to get any smaller.”
For more information about the rental dwelling code call 740-353-5153. To view the code in its entirety visit http://www.portsmouthhealthdept.org/environmental-health/rental-licensing-program.
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 208, or firstname.lastname@example.org.