When the Raleigh City Council approved a controversial new registration fee for landlords in June, it was supposed to go into effect in early January 2009. But Robert Spruill, the city's housing inspections administrator, said this week that the city would not begin registering landlords until March at the earliest.
The new fee is related to the city's PROP, or Probationary Rental Occupancy Permit, ordinance. It will require landlords to pay $30 annually for their first registered unit and $10 for each additional unit registered in the same dwelling. The money will be used to create a database of rental properties and to hire a four-person team to deal with landlords who run afoul of the PROP.
The city estimates that about half of Raleigh's 154,000 residential units are rental properties, which means the new fees will generate more than $775,000 annually. The City Council voted 5-3 to adopt the fee in June. Opponents said the fee is excessive and will just be passed on to tenants.
The landlord database is supposed to make it easier for the city to identify problem landlords. A landlord enters the PROP program if he or she accumulates a certain number of housing code violations at a property.
Each landlord in the program is required to get a permit, pay $500 a year for two years and attend rental management classes. Since the ordinance was adopted in 2005, 20 properties have received enough violations to qualify.
Spruill said the city's Public Affairs Department will lead a campaign to let landlords know when the registration period begins. He said landlords will likely have about two months to register their rental properties with the city.