City charges 1.25% rental fee

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By John Foster

Rental property owners in City of Orchard Grass Hills will face a new expense come July 1 as the city council unanimously approved a business licensing fee at the April council meeting.

The ordinance will require all owners of rental property within the city to purchase a business license for $100 plus 1.25 percent of rental income. There will also be a 10 percent fee plus interest assessed for failing to pay the fee on time, according to the ordinance.

A $50 per day penalty will be assessed for renting without a license.

The ordinance requires property owners to file a form with the city every year to renew their license. The license will be good from July 1 to June 31.

Council member Jim White said the ordinance was created because of all the attention the council has had to pay to rental houses in the past. He said those homes typically require more attention from the city in dealing with complaints about their appearance or the length of the grass.

He said the tax is intended to offset the cost of mowing the lawns and following up on those complaints.

Former Mayor Jim Burke, who resigned effective May 1 (see related story at left) said the ordinance serves to discourage home owners from offering their property as a rental. He said rental properties are as a whole not as well-kept as homes owned by the family living there and the city council wanted to clean up the look of the city.

He said he personally was not in favor of the ordinance

“I think it’s an administrative headache,” he said. “I’m just glad I don’t have to deal with it.”

Jean Hall owns two homes in the city that she offers as rental property.

She said the cost of the new tax is hefty, especially when considering she already pays property tax on the homes. She plans to find a lawyer to fight the ordinance.

She said it is not fair to punish responsible landlords for the actions of the few — or in her opinion, one — landlords who do not take care of their properties.

She said she doesn’t like to raise her rent, especially when she doesn’t see any more profit from it.

“We’re going to have to pass on the cost to the renter,” she said.

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