Fourth Ward Alderman Steven Mays plans to introduce for first reading a pair of ordinances at Monday’s Pine Bluff City Council meeting that together are intended to make the community more livable, according to Mays.
Mays will tackle the issue of landlords who refuse to make repairs to their properties with an “Ordinance Prescribing Penalties for Landlords who Rent or Lease Substandard Dwelling Units.”
“This is about landlords taking people’s money and not reinvesting their rent money back into the properties,” Mays said. “I want to make sure that there is a penalty for landlords who, for instance, promise a prospective tenant they will fix something that is broken in the property just to get them to move in and then not fix it.”
Mays said he has been called out to properties by constituents who show him the conditions of the the units they live in.
“People call me out to different apartment complexes and I see things like little children playing on carpets that are just nasty,” Mays said. “Why haven’t these landlords shampooed those carpets? We must raise our standards here in Pine Bluff. We have to make the living conditions better for the little kids and the older folks.”
Mays said it will be unlawful under the terms of this ordinance for a landlord to rent or lease a substandard dwelling unit that does not meet minimum standards or has not been certified as meeting minimum standards by the City Inspection Department.
Mays said that any landlord who violates this ordinance would be committing a Class B misdemeanor and could be prohibited by the District Court from renting or leasing the dwelling unit until he or she complies with minimum standards as certified by the City Inspection Department.
Mays said that while his plan is separate from Mayor Debe Hollingsworth’s plan to require residential landlords to purchase a business permit, there is an avenue toward cooperation.
“This is something different that I already had in motion,” Mays said. “I have been putting this together for a while. But it is true that this could fit in with the plan that she is talking about.”