New city ordinance aimed at improving rental property - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Pearl ordinance to improve rental property

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An ordinance passed June 27 requires owners of rental property in Pearl to make improvements to address safety and health and property value issues. An ordinance passed June 27 requires owners of rental property in Pearl to make improvements to address safety and health and property value issues.
PEARL, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Pearl city leaders passed a new ordinance aimed at improving rental properties.

Property owners, however, fear the new requirements could force them to raise rent and lose tenants or, in worse case scenarios, shut down operations.

An ordinance passed June 27 requires owners of rental property in Pearl to make improvements to address safety and health and property value issues. The ordinance applies to all residential rental properties in the city, apartments, manufactured and single family homes.

Owners will now have to pay fees for registration and inspection of each rental property.

They believe the mandates to install sprinklers, storm warning sirens and storm shelters will run them out of business.

Ritchie Berry owns the Pemberton Apartments. The complex has 27 units with about 60 residents. Rent ranges from $600 - $650 per month.

"I don't think that we could actually go up enough on a monthly rent to recover and recoup the costs," said Berry.

The businessman has owned Pemberton Apartment for 15 years and says it would cost about $350,000 to retro fit his units with sprinklers and a storm shelter.

"Here we are in the middle of our life with properties we've owned for several years and all of a sudden we've got new costs, and we can't pass that along to our tenants," added Berry.

A group of those business owners met with city officials Wednesday afternoon about the new ordinance.

Pearl city officials said they are looking out for the safety of residents, particularly fire protection in multi-family dwellings.

"What we're trying to do here in Pearl is let landlords know that we do not want slummy rental property in this city. We expect rental property that is up to code. We expect rental property that you or I, either one, wouldn't mind living in," said Pearl Mayor Brad Rogers.

The group is being represented by attorney Marty Milstead. He is also with the Mississippi Home Builders Association and the Mississippi Multi-Family Council. The organizations specifically look at rental properties.

Milstead has reviewed the 20 page document which amends Pearl's Code of Ordinances.

He said many of the property owners rent to the elderly and those on fixed incomes who would find it difficult to handle rate increases or locate other affordable housing.

"Our folks that we represent want to have folks in quality housing, safe, sanitary, habitable. So if there could be an ordinance that does that, you know, we're all for it," said Milstead.

The city and property owners plan to schedule another meeting. They also hope to share negotiation points with Aldermen during the August 6 board meeting.

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