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September 5, 2013

Bombay rental-property law proposed

BOMBAY — Peter Ghostlaw says landlords and tenants would all benefit from a local law that would require rental properties in Bombay to be registered and inspected.

At a recent Town Council session, the town’s code-enforcement officer submitted language for a draft local law that requires landlords to register their available rental space with the town and allow safety inspections every 18 months.

Ghostlaw says neighboring towns, including Malone, are looking at similar regulations, so Bombay is not breaking new ground.

“There isn’t an appropriate law for registering an apartment in the Town of Bombay or to do inspections,” he said. “It’s a great idea because it protects the tenant and landlord and makes sure everybody is safe.”

PROPOSES FEE

Right now, there is no way for the town to know what buildings may have been converted from single-family homes to apartment houses and that the rooms are safe for tenants to occupy.

But a local law would require the owners to register the property within a certain time period or face a fine, Ghostlaw said.

He proposed the town charge a $20 annual fee per rental unit, an idea he expects will be met with opposition.

The code officer said he understands that people might be upset and declare that the fee is just another way for the government to get money out its residents.

“I understand that, but the fee seems reasonable for what it does,” he said. “It levels the playing field between the tenant and landlord.

“I’m trying to do this to make people safe,” Ghostlaw said. “That’s my job.” 

The Town Council tabled the discussion and agreed to give the draft local-law language to the town attorney for review.

Also at the session:

SETBACKS: Councilors heard another proposal from Ghostlaw to create a local law concerning property setback limits since there are no such laws on the books now.

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