Proper Enforcement Of The Existing Law May Provide Remedy

Jamestown officials are trying to work collaboratively with its landlords to bring more houses into compliance with the city’s housing codes.

We hope the effort unveiled during Monday’s City Council meeting is successful. Mayor Sam Teresi and Vince DeJoy, city development director, told City Council members that all landlords will receive information about the new rental registration protocol in the next couple of weeks. Those who don’t comply will receive an automatic exterior inspection of their property and appearance tickets to Jamestown City Court will be issued. The form can be filled out electronically on the city’s website, printed from the website and mailed to city officials or filled out in person at the City Clerk’s office.

Given that nothing in the city’s housing code has changed, we wonder why the city hasn’t taken this stance earlier. In 2016, The Post-Journal reported compliance with the city’s rental registration policy was roughly 26 percent — and it’s doubtful the situation has improved much since then. There has been nothing stopping the city from taking this stance since 2010 other than the will to do so, particularly when the city is asking for so little to be in compliance.

Proper enforcement of the existing rental registration law may provide a remedy for some of the city’s housing issues. It doesn’t solve the issue of property managers waiting weeks to receive approval from out-of-area landlords to approve necessary repairs to their rental properties, nor does it solve the issue of renters who live in a home that was perfectly liveable when they moved in and a disgusting mess when they leave. Increased enforcement of the current law may well have a short-term impact, but we wonder if more will need to be done in the future.