WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Under a new house bill this session, landlords may no longer have to pay cities to inspect their properties.
In the city of West Lafayette much of the housing is made up of rental properties offered to Purdue students.
Currently the city has a rental inspection program that regulates the safety of homes and apartment units leased out to tenants.
"Students are able to rent homes that are (at) a certain level of life," Director of Development in West Lafayette Chandler Poole said. "Safety issues are being addressed and inspected and maintained."
Poole said depending on whether a property is a single-family home or an apartment complex, landlords pay different inspection fees every few years.
"A single family home is inspected in the first year when they receive their certificate," Poole explained. "Then after the end of that first year they are eligible for a two-year certificate so we can get in and inspect it every two years."
Poole said apartment complexes in the city are inspected every four years.
"The fees are about $150 per building and then $2 per unit," Poole said.
However, those fees can soon be eliminated. Under House Bill 1313, if passed, cities would no longer regulate and inspect properties that are leased out to tenants.
"The bill in essence prohibits the ability for a city to have a rental inspection program," Poole said.
"Having regulations and a regulatory entity when it comes to rental properties, I think it's critically important for safety issues and the quality of life within a city," Mayor of West Lafayette John Dennis said.
"Anyone who goes to a restaurant, they expect those restaurants to have certain levels of inspections, certain levels of cleanliness and certain levels of protection for the patrons," Poole said. "The rental inspection program provides that ability here in West Lafayette."
Republican Representative Mike Speedy, who represents a portion of Marion County, authored HB1313.
He said it would put a stop to some cities who are collecting revenue from these fees.
If passed, he said West Lafayette could be exempt because it's a college town and its ordinance is unique, in order to ensure the safety of students.
Last week, Poole testified at the Statehouse against the bill.
Republican Representative Randy Truitt said he opposes the bill and doesn't believe it would be appropriate for college towns like West Lafayette.
"I was happy to have representatives from the City of West Lafayette attend the hearings in Committee on HB 1313," Truitt said. "In its current state, I am not in support of the legislation. There were a number of concerns voiced by many municipalities and my colleagues that need to be addressed. I am pleased that Rep. Speedy is working on an amendment to the bill and I will await to read the final language."
The bill has not yet passed out of committee. Lawmakers are expected to vote sometime next week.
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