Property owners slam door on new Pearl rental ordinance - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Property owners slam door on new Pearl rental ordinance

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
PEARL, MS (Mississippi News Now) - The city of Pearl is implementing a new renter's ordinance, that has ruffled the feathers of several property owners. This new ordinance will go into effect the first of the year.

City officials say it was drafted back in 2013, using ordinances already being used by other cities in the metro, and around the state, but some rental property owners say it will cost them millions to upgrade their properties to comply with it.

The new rental property ordinance requires apartment owners to install sprinklers in every unit, and build a storm shelter big enough to house every tenant.  

"Those two items are enough to put us out of business," said apartment complex owner Albert Moore.

Moore owns the Colonial Terrace apartments and says he feels the ordinance was made to drive multi-family housing out of the city. There's also fees tied to registration requirements, and inspections he says he can't afford. 

"To have to retrofit an apartment complex with sprinklers would cost somewhere between 8-10 thousand dollars, plus the fact you would have too mutilate the property to get plumbing installed," says Moore.

Mayor Brad Rogers says the ordinance was designed to clean up properties unfit for rental.

"A lot of these rental properties are in good shape, but a lot of them are in terrible shape, no heat, no hot water, no air conditioning, bug infestations," said Rogers.

As for the fire and storm protection provisions in the ordinance, Rogers says,  "I'd much rather you asking why were doing this than you sticking a mike in my face saying hey 10-12 -14 kids died in that apartment complex.  Why haven't you done something to try to make it safer, it's all about safety."

City leaders are asking rental property owners to register their properties and outline the problems they need fixed by the first of the year. 

The ordinance, will be implemented over time, but not without a fight.

A group of 10 rental property owners in Pearl have now filed a lawsuit against the city, claiming the new ordinance is unconstitutional.

This issue could be battled out in court.

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