Ordinance would establish policy regarding rental of real property

By Bill Short

The Oakland Board of Mayor and Aldermen has unanimously passed an ordinance on first reading that would establish a policy regarding the rental of real property.
Board members took the action during their Nov. 19 regular monthly meeting on a motion offered by Alderman John Troncone and seconded by Alderman Kelly Rector.
The proposed ordinance would amend Title 13 of the Municipal Code by adding Chapter 4, titled, “Real Property Rental Regulations.” It is scheduled for a final reading at the board’s Dec. 17 meeting.
The board believes maintaining a Rental Registry will help the town government notify property owners in case of emergencies, code violations or other instances.
All owners of real property in Oakland would have to register each rental unit owned or operated within the town. The owner would have to file a registration application with the town within 30 days after:
(1) assuming ownership or control of the property; or
(2) altering the number or size of rental units at a previously registered property.
All owners of rental property would have to file a registration application within 60 days after the effective date of the ordinance. The owner would be responsible for all sub-leasing of his rental property.
The ordinance would not apply to residential rental units owned and operated by any governmental agency or licensed and inspected by the state; nursing homes, assisted living or retirement facilities; hotels that do not rent to permanent residents; and apartment complexes with more than four units and on-site property managers that already keep the required registration information on file and accessible.
All records, files and documents pertaining to the rental registration would be maintained by the town and made available to the public as required by state law or town ordinance.
Under any of its fire, building, technical, safety and health codes, zoning ordinances or laws for violations, the town could seek injunctive relief or criminal prosecution of any property owner, designated property manager or occupant of any residential unit covered by this registration and inspection ordinance.
Any violation of the ordinance would be declared a nuisance. The town attorney could apply to a court of competent jurisdiction for an injunction to prohibit the continuation of any violation.
Under Tennessee Code Annotated Section 7-63-101, the Oakland building and codes inspectors would be authorized to issue summons for violations of the ordinance on private property.
The summons would be served on the owner or owners, or the person or persons apparently in lawful possession of the property and would give them notice to appear and answer charges.
If the offender refused to sign the agreement to appear, the inspectors could request the town judge to issue a summons or ask a police officer to witness the violation and issue a citation.
After the property owner has been given at least 10 days’ notice by certified mail or posting of the violation at the premises, and he has failed to make substantial progress toward correcting the violation, the inspectors could order the discontinuance of utility service to the property.
Any person violating the ordinance would be subject to a civil penalty of $50 plus court costs. And each day the violation continued would constitute a separate violation.