Tighten rental home regulations


Front porch sitting; the image conjures a Norman Rockwell painting when neighbors knew each other and respected the sanctity of the neighborhood. Unfortunately for many Warren residents, the scenario lamented by Mr. Frederick H. Taddei in his July 16 letter is all too common.

Municipalities have broad powers to ensure the safety, welfare and morals of the citizenry. Warren’s codified ordinance 1367.10(f) allows the board of health to revoke the permit of those rental properties that violate housing, building or zoning codes. However, this ordinance should be amended to include the violation of Ohio Revised Code 5321.05(8), which requires the tenants of rental properties and other persons on the premises to conduct themselves in a manner that will not disturb neighbors’ peaceful enjoyment of the premises.

Adding this provision would make the ordinance more inclusive to stop the nuisances and rid the neighborhood of the problematic tenant. This would encompass more of the chronic and persistent problems that deteriorate the quality of life.

Warren has about a 50-50 ratio of rental properties to owner-occupied dwellings. Unless you live in a well-established neighborhood, you have a very good chance of living near a rental property. There are approximately 6,000 registered rental properties in the city, although there are many not registered. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated there are approximately 8,700 non-owner occupied dwellings in the city.

I have talked to many citizens, and as a direct result of their frustrations, they have even proffered the idea of a moratorium on new rental properties. They are tired of the “anything goes” attitude and want the quality-of-life problem to be dealt with by our city leaders.

Warren’s diaspora continues. In the last six years, about 23 people a month have left the city. The population base has now dipped below 40,000 residents. All the good-intentioned programs and ideas will only continue to attempt to placate the citizenry, without any real stability being afforded to the neighborhoods. A cursory review of police reports indicate that most of the individuals arrested or complaints filed involve non-owner-occupied properties. There is a nexus between a community with an overabundance of rental properties and greatly diminished quality of life.

There are many conversations taking place about how to improve Warren. However, I cannot think of a more important way to improve the quality of life than by stabilizing the neighborhoods — providing the owner-occupants, as well as the law-abiding and considerate renters in this city, the ability to once again sit on their front porches.