Concerns of landlords, tenants heard by rental property committee

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Mayor Mike Troup talks to committee members while Jerry Gille of the Quincy Housing Authority listens.

By STEVE EIGHINGER

QUINCY — The city’s Residential Rental Property Registration Committee continued to move forward Wednesday in addressing the needs of both landlords and tenants.

The committee is exploring avenues for establishing a residential rental property registration process and offering a number of enforcement measures.

The meeting was the second of at least four that are scheduled before the committee presents a proposal to City Council in September.

“There is no intention of putting any landlord out of business,” said Mayor Mike Troup, who emphasized the committee’s principal goal is to have properties maintained and meet minimum housing standards. 

Requirements and rights of both landlords and tenants were stressed as integral elements tied to the eventual presentation that City Council will hear later this year.

Jerry Gille, executive director of the Quincy Housing Authority since 2009, was one of several to address committee members at City Hall.

“More public housing is needed, and (so is) finding landlords willing to work with us,” Gille said.

Cindy Brink, who serves as Quincy Township supervisor (and oversees a general assistance program), underlined the importance of helping those “who do not have a voice.” Brink said low-income rental tenants are especially vulnerable to fall through the cracks of bureaucracy and find themselves winding up in substandard housing or with no place to live.

“We must minimize the homeless population as much as possible,” Brink said. 

Jeremy Wingerter, executive director of the United Way of Adams County, said one of the ongoing concerns of his organization is helping those in need find assistance with housing and utilities. Wingerter said the United Way also aids veterans in need of housing and other assistance.

“The city needs a mechanism to enforce minimum housing standards,” Troup said. “(It’s like) having a speed limit and no police force to enforce it.”

Alderman Parker Freiburg, R-3, said the development of and eventual enforcing of such legislation could be a slippery slope. Freiburg cited a potential rise in rental costs by landlords forced to upgrade facilities. He also said tenant protection for filing a complaint would be important.

Megan Duesterhaus-AuBuchon, executive director of Quanada, addressed the committee on “preserving and increasing” affordable rental housing. The average Quincy area rental is $700 per month, according to information supplied by Freiburg.

The Rev. Patty Johansen of Vermont Street United Methodist Church told the committee her downtown church regularly has visitors seeking assistance, especially with housing. Johansen said helping those in need is a far-reaching task.

“Neighbors are not only those who live on our streets but (in all areas of) our town,” Johansen said.

The Residential Rental Property Registration Committee’s next meeting is at 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 4 at City Hall. Among the scheduled topics will be the impact of mental health on rental opportunities, the eviction process and how other communities address rental housing.

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