Code Compliance Proposal Would Require Rent House Owners to Register with the City

On Wednesday, the Dallas City Council will consider a proposal from the Code Compliance Department that would force owners of single-family rental properties to register with the city. Far as the city sees it, there are myriad benefits to such a stipulation -- chief among them the guesstimated $2 million it would generate for the city annually in inspection fees, re-inspection fees (necessary if a property's been in violation of code for more than 45 days) and other citations and penalties. According to Code Compliance, Richardson, Mesquite, Farmers Branch and Fort Worth all require registration at no owner expense; Garland and Carrollton do as well, charging around $50 per property. Dallas's fee would run $25, as proposed.

One further benefit amongst many cited in the briefing: The new program would "provide residents the same level of protection that is provided to multi-tenant occupants."Says Wednesday's presentation, 56 percent of all Dallas residents live in some kind of rental property -- from apartments to boarding houses to extended-stay hotels. And all of those are regulated. Rent houses aren't, however, despite the fact that 26 percent "of all Single Family Residences are designated as Single Family Rentals (commercial), which approximates 58,500 households." (And the number seems to be rising steadily.) So Code Compliance wants rent-house owners to sign up and pay up -- and attend an annual "safe complex symposium," or pay $600 if they skip the meeting.