O’Mara withdraws rental-license measure

A week after more than a dozen citizens came out in force to oppose 4th District Councilman Michael O’Mara’s proposal that landlords in the county apply for rental licenses, O’Mara withdrew the bill indefinitely.

O’Mara said the bill did not do what its opponents claimed it did, and he meant it only to deal with county problem rental properties, which the county spends $1 million a year to tear down.

“All we were trying to do on the rental side of it is state we would like you to register your rental property,” O’Mara said at the May 6 County Council meeting. “So when we go to a neighborhood and we have 1,800 homes and 60 percent of them (are) rental (properties), because we are understaffed it would take away the time consuming (duties) of an inspector coming back to headquarters and spending eight hours a week trying to investigate who owns this particular property.”

Although O’Mara said his intention in proposing the bill was not to evict any tenants or cause the entire county to apply for a license to live in their home — consequences that opponents had read into what they called vague language in the bill — O’Mara said he would meet with any interested groups and opponents in the future to craft a better bill.

That would be several months down the line, however, he added.