Columbia officials have registered the contact information for owners of 1,808 rental properties, or about 70 percent of those required to register, as part of a program designed to hold out-of-town landlords accountable for deteriorating properties.
Those who don’t register are supposed to pay a $25 fine. But there’s a problem collecting it.
But the only way the city can enforce the $25 fine for the 600 property owners who have not registered is if they send a city employee to the landlord’s address and hand deliver a ticket to satisfy the state Supreme Court’s requirement that municipal summons be issued in person.
City Council passed the law in July 2009 in the hopes it would help city officials track down property owners who have not taken care of their properties as required by city law. The ordinance is not perfect but it’s helping, city leaders say.
The city law, in effect since January, applies to all owners of improved residential property rented for profit who do not have an office in Richland or Lexington counties. That’s 2,967 of the city’s roughly 7,200 single-family rental properties.