- Associated Press - Friday, November 6, 2015

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) - A group of rental owners in Oregon is concerned about a proposal that would require Eugene landlords to designate a local agent if they don’t live in the area.

The regulation is meant to make things easier for city officials and police if there is a problem at a local rental property, reported the Register-Guard (https://bit.ly/1OrushN ).

By requiring landlords who live more than 60 miles outside of Eugene to appoint a local representative, they hope emergencies, code violations and other issues will get a faster response.

City officials said they often have trouble getting in touch with property owners after neighborhood complaints about unruly parties, excessive noise, garbage accumulation and improper parking.

Kelly Putnam is the Eugene Police Department’s public safety program manager and talks with out-of-state landlords about problems with their Eugene rentals. The landlords contact their tenants and the tenants say the problem will be resolved, but Putnam says that’s often not the case.

“The value of having a local representative would be the person could go to the rental house and make sure those things have been taken care of,” said Kelly Putnam, Eugene Police Department’s public safety program manager.

She said most landlords are reasonable and want the tenants to be respectful and take care of the property. “But if there is no one to monitor the property, that is when things can get out of hand,” said Putnam.

Several landlords, however, question the need for the rule, according to Lane County Rental Owners Association President Tia Politi.

“Why aren’t the rules on the books already good enough to deal with problems?” she said. She also complained that the proposal has vague wording and needs clarification.

“What level of authority does this (agent) need to have?” asked Politi. “Does this person need to be a licensed property manager?”

Eugene’s code compliance supervisor says no: The agent could be whoever the landlord chooses, including “a next-door neighbor, or someone else that is able to quickly respond to a problem and solve it,” said Rachelle Nicholas.

Still, Politi argues that such a person won’t be any more helpful than the property owner.

“Are there bad actors in the landlord community? You bet there are,” she said.

“This rule is not going to change their unwillingness to be of assistance. What I see this rule doing is burdening responsible rental owners with unnecessary regulations.”

City officials are taking public comment on the proposal until Monday.

City Manager Jon Ruiz has the authority to enact the regulation.

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Information from: The Register-Guard, https://www.registerguard.com

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