New Orleans City Councilmembers LaToya Cantrell and Jason Williams at a press conference outside City Hall before debate over a proposed rental registry.
The New Orleans City Council will delay a vote on a rental registry and inspection program
to next month. At-Large Councilmember Jason Williams and District B Councilmember LaToya Cantrell sponsored a measure that would require landlords of most private rentals to register their properties with the city and subject them to inspections that must meet a checklist of health and safety requirements before they can be rented out. The City Council deferred voting on the measure last month, and it will defer the measure again to March 9 at its meeting on Feb. 23.
Cantrell and Williams will "continue to work on the legislation with their fellow Councilmembers and with New Orleans citizens to ensure the best ordinance going forward," according to the City Council's agenda announcement.
More than half of New Orleans residents rent their homes. But 40 percent of renters spend more than half their income on rent and utilities, leaving little extra to pay the costs of repairs in substandard homes, or moving costs to get out of them. Dubbed a "Healthy Homes" ordinance, the measure aims to prevent substandard conditions by requiring landlords to submit their rentals to inspections. Currently, renters with property issues can report them to Code Enforcement via 3-1-1 — a system housing advocates say does not respond to renters. The measure wants to end reliance on a complaint-driven system that advocacy groups say puts renters at risk from losing their housing.
Under the current draft of the ordinance, registration opens Jan. 1, 2018. Property owners will have to pay a $60 registration fee, then $40 for annual renewals. Landlords also will have to pay the costs of inspection.
Read more about the program in Gambit.