City Reaches Out to Owners of Unregistered Rentals

August 10, 2018 12:32 PM

(ABC 6 News)-- There are about three thousand rental housing units in Austin.

Most of them provide a safe, healthy home for renters, some don't.


The city of Austin is about to step-up inspections of rental housing.

But first, it needs an accurate list of those properties.

"Right now we're just out and about, making sure trying to get people to register their properties," Brent Johnson said.

They're showing up at locations around the community. It's the latest push in a campaign to standardize Austin rental property.

"Brent is our zoning inspector and he is administering our rental registration program," Austin Planning and Zoning Administrator Holly Wallace explained.

It requires property owners to register any rental property they own. Any rental property not registered by the first of the year is subject to a $500 fine.

"We sent the first letter, we sent an additional letter and now we are also putting it on the door," Brent Johnson told us while affixing a bright orange sign to the front door of a house in northwest Austin. “We have a list of 130 that haven't been registered yet."

"Coming in January we will be requiring a fee for the license and then also some inspection requirements" Planning and Zoning Administrator Holly Wallace said.

"There is quite a bit of property here in town that may post health and safety issues in the home for families,” Brent Johnson added.

“So we'll have a checklist with some minimum requirements for the condition of the rental unit and we want to make sure all the rental units in Austin meet those minimum requirements,” Holly Wallace said.

In the worst case, if the property is determined to be unsafe and the owners refuse to bring it into compliance, tenants could be required to move.

"We want to be sure that everybody has a decent, safe place to live and this is just one part of making sure we can do that for them," zoning inspector Brent Johnson said.

The city of Austin expects to hold public informational meetings before the end of the year to provide details on its rental property inspection program. No dates have yet been set.


Dan Conradt

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