Correction: Dru Siley, the city’s director of building and housing, suggested that that the city not trend toward a license fee from the 12-month date of purchase.
Lakewood City Council is once again fielding complaints from some landlords about the city’s $180 annual housing license fee.
The issue comes before council about twice a year — once in January and once in July.
That’s because those are the times of the year the licenses are renewed.
Council’s housing committee discussed some changes to the payment cycle on Monday night.
Per city ordinance, rental property owners must pay a licensing fee for each property they own in Lakewood. Sometimes, when a property changes hands mid-year, the owners have to pay twice in a year.
“We’re trying to modify it, so it’s more accurate and more fair and doesn’t add an administrative burden to city hall,” said David Anderson, the Ward 1 councilman and chairman of the housing committee, who proposed modifying the ordinance on Monday.
“Is one possible remedy to have the housing license transfer to a new owner?” Anderson asked.
Kevin Butler, the city’s law director, answered.
“The ordinance makes explicit that licenses are not transferable,” Butler said, adding that licenses are also for fixed periods of time.
“To ‘remedy’ would suggest a problem,” Butler added. “It’s certainly within council’s purview to suggest whether there’s a problem.”
There are about 3,100 licenses issued in Lakewood each year to about 1,900 property owners in the city. The housing licenses helps to offset the cost of the city’s inspections for rental properties.
Dru Siley, the city’s director of building and housing, suggested that that the city not trend toward a license fee from the 12-month date of purchase.
“I appreciate being able to discuss making this more streamlined and fair,” he said. “I don’t want to just re-engineer a process for casually addressing a handful of landlords out of 3,100 that may have an issue with this. I’d be interested in looking at this process ultimately to improve efficiency.”
“If this is part of that discussion, I am all-ears.”
The housing committee is expected to discuss the issue again at its next meeting.