Swenson would like landlord licensing to move forward

There will be no action for at least 90 days on a proposed landlord licensing bill in Logan because the Municipal Council Tuesday decided four to one to delay any vote while forming a committee to study the controversial issue. The only dissenting vote was cast by Council Chair Laraine Swenson, who said the proposal came about after a great deal of research. She said she was not disappointed with the outcome. “Not really,” she said, “It has been discussed among staff and council to further study the issue and postpone dealing with it for a period of time.” The decision to delay discussion for 90 days means it will be taken up again after the November election. “I didn’t decide on that particular term of time, it could have been 30 or 60 days,” said Swenson. She said the council has taken a long look at a program advocated by a statewide group. “It’s the Utah Apartment Association, they are proponents of the Good Landlord Program which we have studied extensively over the past year. We have all, in the last week, met with the representative of that association, Paul Smith, who described the program to all of the city council. It is an excellent program. “The ordinance that we had in place did already have an education component which might possibly have already been the Good Landlord Program. There was discussion whether to do the training in-house or to use the Good Landlord Program. It doesn’t preclude licensing and inspections, it partners with them.” Swenson said under the Good Landlord Program landlords are educated about what they can do to be better landlords, to screen tenants, to run more efficient operations and to have better communication among themselves. “It’s just a model to understand their business better,” Swenson said. “There are some very positive aspects of the program and the training.” The council chair said anyone attending the council meeting Tuesday heard people talk about safety issues that have arisen that can’t be adequately addressed with what is in place now. Mayor Randy Watts recently shared an example of an apartment complex where changes and alterations were made in the electrical wiring and the metering that created gas leaks and unsafe electrical conditions. “I realize this is a two-way street, but licensing is not something that is unique to Logan,” said Swenson. “Most of the major cities in Utah either have licensing or are in the process of putting a licensing program in place. And our licensing program is very similar to what many other cities have. It’s not unusual or unique or onerous and I think most landlords will find it’s not difficult to work with, should we end up with a final product that’s similar to what we brought forward last night.” Who will comprise the new study committee? Swenson said it would be formed with some elected officials – Herm Olsen and Jay Monson – as well as city staff and landlords that will be representing various rental interests and possibly some citizens.

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