There was an unusually large crowd at the Tuesday's city council meeting in Hagerstown. Landlords and property owners came to voice their disapproval of the proposed crime-free program. It's an ordinance the city is introducing for landlords to kick out tenants who commit crimes and code administration violations on the landlord property. Landlords say they should not be policing their tenants.
"What they are trying to do is move the intent of the excessive use of police services, which was originally title chapter 95 and incorporate city services," said Joe Kraft, a Hagerstown Landlord. "They are bringing another department which is bringing other code violations outside a normal crime."
"What we have now is working fine, is working effectively. What we need to do is look at our neighborhood, try to make them safer," said Nancy Allen of Pen-Mar Association of Realtors. "If we need to have on the streets, which I agree we do we need boots on the ground."
Landlords are also upset about part of the proposal that would require them to go to a seminar held by the police.
"Very small amount of properties that are having issues, so you are going to enact a new regulation, you are going to add more rules and regulations that property owners must now adhere to because you have a couple of bad landlords," said Allen
Chief Mark Holtzman of Hagerstown Police who established the ordinance was at the meeting. After hearing the landlords, he says he's open to amending the proposal.
"We need more clarity in the law, with some examples. Clarification certainly with the idea, what is a reasonable action for a landlord," said Chief Holtzman of Hagerstown City Police. "I think we will get some good feedback from our landlord association on that to give us some ideas what they believe are some reasonable steps to take."
City council members say the program is expected to be voted on at the end of next month.
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