Nearly Proposed Legislation Affects Renters and Landlords

The debate over a piece of soon to be proposed legislation dealing with regulations for residential landlords rages in New Orleans. The proposal, drafted by Councilmembers Latoya Cantrell and Jason Williams, would require landlords to register their properties with the city and submit the properties to periodic inspections.

John Pourciau, Legislative Director for Councilwoman Latoya Cantrell, says that the councilmembers are still looking at all options to improve housing quality within the ordinance, which has yet to be officially proposed. Currently, renters have the ability to file a complaint but Pourciau speculates that tenants are afraid to complain for fear they will be evicted from their homes. The new system, according to Pourciau, will be more proactive with inspections taking place before a tenant moves in to a property.

The ordinance has been the subject of much debate. Bart Gillis, a real estate agent for Keller Williams, started a petition in an attempt to make the legislation go away entirely and has specific reasons for why he started the petition. “I just feel like, with cell phones and with our government looking over our shoulders and video cameras everywhere, like that the home is really your last faction of total privacy and security” said Williams.

Williams is not alone in his trepidations about the legislation. Landlord Susan McLachlan disapproves of the legislation because of the inspections. “I don’t like it. It would be the extra cost more than anything” said McLachlan.

There are however, supporters of the legislation.

Michael Pollard, a Loyola University Sociology Senior and renter, says about the ordinance “I think it’s a good idea because the house we’re living in now has issues that would have been resolved by an inspection”. Pollard goes on to say that having the ability to complain is not enough and that is “there was an inspection first the number of complaints would go down”.

Renter and Senior Sociology student at Tulane University David Wehrwein, thinks the legislation is a step in the right direction but still needs work.

“I’m not totally convinced [by this piece of legislation] because it is unfeasible for the regulators to maintain and get the initial registry list up and running” said Wehrwein. Though he has his doubts, Wehrwein says that the regulations could possibly be helpful. “This year I think I could benefit from the legislation; I sometimes feel like if I step in the wrong corner of my house that my foot is going to go through the floor. I think if these regulations were in place and were enforced then we would be living in a nicer place” said Wehrwein.

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