- Associated Press - Sunday, August 10, 2014

VINCENNES, Ind. (AP) - A new Indiana law that takes effect in 2015 could hamper communities’ efforts to inspect rental properties, some officials say.

The law limits the amount communities can charge landlords for an inspection to $5 per property, regardless of the number of units it has. That’s far less than many cities have charged.

“What are we supposed to do with just $5?” Vincennes City Council President Duane Chattin said. “And the landlord gets to choose his own inspector? Well, this is a sweetheart of a deal.

“Thank you, Legislature.”

Vincennes first passed a rental inspection ordinance in 1992 after a Vincennes University student died in a fire at an off-campus house, the Vincennes Sun-Commercial reported (https://bit.ly/1zRrau2 ).

In 2003, the city sued several landlords for failure to pay the inspection fees. A judge found the fees unconstitutional, but the state Supreme Court in 2006 overturned the ruling and said the ordinance and its fees were good public policy.

The city last updated its ordinance in 2008. That law charges apartment complex owners $20 per unit each year. Single-family rental houses or those rented to four or fewer unrelated people are charged $20 a year.

Properties are inspected every three years unless they are single-family homes that have been converted into multiple living spaces. Those sites are inspected every two years.

Mayor Joe Yochum said the city has enough money in the rental budget to get through most of 2015. But if it wants to continue the program in 2016, it will need to tap the general fund.

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Information from: Vincennes Sun-Commercial, https://www.vincennes.com


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