Landlords stormed out of the Salt Lake City Council meeting Tuesday with threats that tenants, including low-income ones, will suffer under a new housing ord-in-ance.
The City Council unanimously approved the controversial apartment license ordinance, an increase in parking fees and the city's 1996-97 budget Tuesday.More than 20 landlords told the City Council and Salt Lake City Mayor DeeDee Corradini that the city should butt out and not try and make money off them. Avenues for renters with problems already exist, and the ordinance is simply punishing all landlords for the few troublesome ones, they contended.
"There are bad landlords. There are greedy landlords. I am not one of them," said John Anderson, who owns 35 apartments in East Central City. "This is really going to hurt people. There is nothing I can do but raise rents."
No one should have to live in despicable housing conditions, said Councilman Keith Christensen. He then said "many of our tenants are at the mercy of unscrupulous land-lords."
It was then that about one-fourth of the standing-room-only crowd got up shouting they had been insulted enough. Cries of "wait until the election" and "you're calling us slumlords" were heard before the crowd was ushered out of council chambers by a police officer and a city official.
Councilwoman Deeda Seed said she had reservations about the ordinance because the city was doing a poor job at inspecting the larger complexes - five rental units or above - already required by city code.
The apartment licensing program will require a $70 flat fee for doing business. With only one apartment, the landlord would pay $30 for the building plus a $3 per unit fee for a total of $103 annually. The cost increases along with the number of buildings and the number of units.
Salt Lake City expects to make about $800,000 from the new required licenses. The money would be used to regulate those units, insure landlords have the proper licenses and see that the units meet city code and health requirements.
In approving the new ordinance, the City Council also approved an amendment made by Councilman Bryce Jolley. The legislative intent directive requires city administrators to answer 10 concerns before the rental license program goes into effect Oct. 1 for three- and four-unit buildings and Jan. 2, 1997 for one- and two-unit build-ings.
"Our goal is to have safe units out there," Jolley said.
With much less fanfare, the City Council approved the more than $387 million budget. About $114 million was allocated to the general fund.
Parking fines will go up next year as will the salaries of Corradini and the City Council.
The $7 fine for expired meters will go to $10. Most of the fines and the late fees assessed to them jumped about 40 percent.
The mayor's salary will increase 16 percent to $79,529. Coun-cil-members' salaries will increase by 12 percent to $15,906 based on a market study conducted by the city.