TUPELO — Tupelo landlords have been sent letters informing them of a new ordinance that will raise their business costs starting Jan. 1 and what fines they face if they don’t comply.
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reports 750 rental property owners received the letter, a registration form and new fee schedule.
The new ordinance requires rental property owners to pay an annual $25-per-unit registration fee and submit to housing inspections every two years. Landlords who keep utilities in their own name will get inspected every six months.
Each of the first two inspections is free, but owners who repeatedly fail them must pay $100 to $400 for subsequent visits. After the fifth consecutive failure, landlords will be brought to court.
Inspections also will be required anytime a unit changes tenants.
Landlords who fail to register will be fined $350 per unit. Those who register late also face a $10-per-unit penalty for each month they’re past due.
Tupelo has about 5,100 rental units, according to the most recent census.
Officials say the program aims to clean up blighted rental property and improve the general health of all neighborhoods.
Proponents also hope it will decrease the overall percentage of rental units and encourage more home ownership.
It’s the second version of the original program launched in January 2007. That version charged landlords $10 a year if they owned one to three units, $30 annually for four to 10 units, and $100 annually if they owned more than 10.
Landlords who already have paid those fees for the current fiscal year will be exempt from the new fee schedule until Oct. 1.