Irmo landlord ordinances facing support and criticism

Pat Donlon has lived in Irmo for the past two years.

He said he has noticed some homes that are not being taken care of due to irresponsible landlords. But he fears that ordinances passed Tuesday at the town council meeting will be even more costly to residents.

"If there is a good reason to do it then okay, maybe it is necessary. But they could not give me any reason to say that it is."

The new rules require landlords to pay a $50 fee to the town. They also specify lawn requirements to 12 inches in height or less, quick repair of broken windows and sagging gutters. Tree stumps must be removed 30 days after trees are cut.

City leaders say it is all about making the city look good; and preventing blight from plants. Some neighborhoods are already starting to see some blight being formed in some neighborhoods.

Mayor Hardy King said only about 500-700 Irmo homes are rented and will be affected; most of which are in good hands.

"There are a few places in Irmo where someone bought the house in foreclosure. They are going to rent it in Section 8. They are doing the least they can to it because they know they are going to get the lease money out of it. With this ordinance, they are required to give us their name, number, all that information."

While Donlon applauds town leaders for working to make the area nicer, he said some of the new rules will hurt the renters instead of landlords.

"If I'm renting a house, I pass my expenses to the tenant. So this fee is not going to the person renting the house, it is going to be the person living in the house. The young, single mother living there will have to put an extra $50 on rent instead of buying clothing for her kids."

Mayor King said that will not be the case; and that Code Enforcement Officers will be on the lookout for violations. Landlords will have 30 days to fix repairs.

"Who wants to pay a $1,000 fine for something they can fix for $50-$100? They can also just take the gutters or shutters off."

Mayor King said they will make a few adjustments after a trial run. There is no work on if the ordinances will expand to affect all homeowners.