CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Charleston leaders are delaying a proposal that makes it easier to hold landlords accountable for crimes that happen on their property.
The ordinance comes after high-profile crimes such as a mass shooting that happened on South Street earlier this summer. Since then, city leaders are debating what goes into the ordinance to hold landlords accountable. Leaders say a majority of rentals on the Peninsula are owned by Limited Liability Companies (LLC) that are harder to contact.
“They have to be a human, with a first name, the last name, and a pulse that we can contact. If your college tenants are throwing a party at 3 in the morning, that’s what this is about,” says Ross Appel, a Charleston City Councilmember.
The city is looking to start a Rental Registration Program on the Peninsula and even requires property owners to designate a landlord. Leaders from neighborhood associations in Downtown Charleston say they are in favor of the ordinance as it will help alleviate issues they have witnessed.
“The city has not had a tool to effectively deal with these property owners. We deal with the tenants through livability court, but that’s a band-aid,” says Tim Muller, chair of the Peninsula Neighborhood Consortium.
“There’s been house parties with large crowds and noise. Properties are overly and poorly maintained and substandard housing,” says Marion Hawkins, President of Cannonborough and Elliotborough Neighborhood Association.
Neighborhood associations say this would bring a better sense of safety to the city.
“I can assure you we have an issue in our city with absentee landlords. Particularly in the Peninsula neighborhoods, and the nuisances these properties create,” says Muller.
City council is redrafting the ordinance and they will discuss it again at their next meeting on September 13.