Florissant approves controversial ordinance targeting landlords, rental properties

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FLORISSANT, MO (KTVI) - A controversial ordinance aimed at reducing problem properties in Florissant passes after a meeting that lasted several hours. The city council started meeting started at 7:30pm last night at Florissant City Hall and didn`t end until nearly 1 a.m. Tuesday.

The council eventually voted unanimously in favor of legislation which makes landlords more responsible and accountable for what happens at their properties.
The new ordnance says the goal is to create a crime-free housing program and increase the quality of life of residents by decreasing the incidents of public safety, nuisance and code violations along with criminal activity in rental properties. The ordinance would suspend or strip landlords of their licenses if they fail to uphold certain provisions.

For example, a landlord`s license would be suspended or revoked if within a 12 month period the landlord has been notified of three or more acts of unreasonable conduct by the tenants or other persons at a property.

The ordinance also imposes a $50 a year fee for every unit that a landlord owns.

Landlords say the ordinance puts too much of a burden on them. Fair Housing advocates worry the ordinance will unfairly target poor and minority tenants.
ACLU officials also oppose the ordinance. They say renters may be hesitant to call police is cases like domestic violence situations..fearing that the incident might prompt a landlord to evict them.

However, Florissant city leaders say residents complained about problem properties and they are worried about property values.

The city council President, Jackie Pagano, saying after the meeting that everyone is welcome in Florissant and they just want a "good community."

It is still unclear when exactly the new ordinance will take effect.