Jacksonville Rental Property Owners May Face Fees For High Crime Properties

Jan 24, 2017

Credit Mark Moz / Flickr

Jacksonville City Council members want to crack down on crime at rental properties by holding landlords more accountable — and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is collaborating with them on a bill.

Councilman Jim Love is proposing a mandatory countywide rental registry. He said if a complex or single-family home has too many police calls, the owner or manager would have to pay a fee and meet with police to create a remedial action plan, and then follow up quarterly to see if it’s working.

“This allows us to first of all know who’s in charge, whether it be a management company or the owners, so we can contact them and say, ‘Hey, you have a problem,’ “ he said. “Once we determine what it is, then JSO will help them to make sure that maybe crime doesn’t continue to happen in that same location.”

The legislation is based off of an ordinance passed in Charlotte, North Carolina. Love started looking into the matter when Councilwoman Joyce Morgan said she had been getting complaints about high crime at a few Arlington apartment complexes in her district.

Love said depending on a complex’s needs, a remedial plan could include adding additional lighting, fencing or even security officers for bigger complexes.

“We want to work with management.” Love said. “We want to train them to help them make it safer.”

Complexes would be held to different standards based on size.

For example, a single house with three instances of “disorder activity” like fighting or vandalism would cost the owner a $335 penalty and require a remedial plan.

The owner of a 300-unit complex would have to accumulate 50 activity calls and pay $1,100. A homicide would always trigger a fee and plan.

Love said the fee pays for a property assessment, education for the landlord and a plan.

Registering a rental property would be free, but any cost associated with making a rental property safer would be on the landlord.

JSO is writing a manual on how the process will work before the bill is introduced.

Photo: "For Rent sign" used under Creative Commons

Reporter Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at lkilbride@wjct.org, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at @lindskilbride.