Milton hosting outreach to landlords, tenants on rent repair ordinance
IF YOU GO
What: Informational meetings for Milton tenants and landlords on the city’s new rental property repair ordinance. The meetings cover the ordinance, how the rental repair complaint process works and include rental tips for landlords and tenants.
When: 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29.
Where: Milton City Hall, 430 E. High St.
MILTON The city of Milton is reaching out to local landlords and tenants Thursday with two informational meetings meant to explain the city’s new ordinance on rental property repairs.
In July, the city council approved an ordinance that mirrors state statutes on rental ordinance repairs.
It allows tenants to make complaints about the condition of rental properties and the Milton Police Department to issue municipal ordinance tickets to landlords who neglect to make adequate, timely repairs. The goal: to provide tenants with a faster solution than filing complaints in circuit court.
Prior to Thursday’s meetings, Milton Police Chief Dan Layber and Milton Police Department Code Enforcement officer Laura Hauser answered questions from the Gazette on how the ordinance and the complaint process works for tenants and landlords.
Q: What kind of problems fall under this ordinance?
A: It applies to problems that affect tenants’ safety and well being, such as mold, and includes broken plumbing or appliances, such as furnaces.
Q: Whom do tenants contact with rental repair complaints, and how does the process work?
A: Before filing a complaint, tenants should first contact their landlords. If the landlord fails to respond, the tenant should contact the Milton Police Department. The department will contact the landlord and investigate the problem.
“We try to resolve it without anyone getting a ticket,” Layber said. “But if, obviously, they’re not in compliance, and she (Hauser) determines there is a violation of the ordinance, then she’ll write a ticket.”
Q: How long does a landlord have to address a problem before receiving a citation?
A: It depends. The point of the ordinance is to spur prompt action, but Hauser said the city understands a landlord could need time to schedule repairs.
Q: Has the city ticketed anyone under the ordinance?
A: The city recently cited a landlord for failing to bring a furnace up to city code compliance. The city made several attempts to prompt repairs before issuing the citation, officials said. Hauser said the landlord has since brought the furnace to compliance.
Q: What can residents do to protect themselves under the city’s ordinance?
A: Ask for a rental agreement or a lease in writing. Many leases include details about services the landlord agrees to provide, such as air conditioning. Without such an agreement, Layber said, it can be difficult for the city to enforce repairs under the ordinance.