Pasco County is eyeing new rental registry

The Pasco County Commission is considering a new regulation that would require a registry for all vacant and rental properties in unincorporated areas of the county.

The registry would be implemented and maintained by the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, and would require owners to designate a property manager to be responsible for receiving legal warnings, notices and citations for vacant and rental properties, according to a county agenda memo.

Pasco County Commissioner Mike Wells wants Pasco County to adopt a new regulation that would require a registry for all vacant and rental properties in unincorporated areas of the county. Having the registry, he said, is a life-safety issue. (File)

The proposed ordinance requires annual renewal of registrations and updates, when information changes.

It also gives owners the ability to ask for notification when a tenant or occupant is warned or cited by the county or the Sheriff’s Office for violating county codes, and gives the owner the opportunity to partner with the Sheriff’s Office to trespass any persons found on the property.

The registry does not include an inspection component or require owners to provide services, such as garbage, electric or water, the agenda memo says.

Also, there will be no fee to register, update or change information in the registry.

There will be a fine, however, if after a warning the owner does not comply with the registration requirements.

The County Attorney’s Office has recommended a fine of $125 for the first offense, which would double for each violation thereafter, up to a maximum of $500 per day.

The fine amount will be set by resolution, at the time of the ordinance’s final adoption, the agenda memo says.

The idea for the rental registry came up in April, when Commissioner Mike Wells said the county needed to have a way to find property owners quickly, when the need arises.

He characterized it as a “life-safety” issue.

At the time, Commissioner Kathryn Starkey threw her support behind the idea, noting she thinks a tool is needed to be able identify who is accountable for code violations and other issues at properties.

The county now appears ready to move forward with the ordinance and is planning a public hearing in January.

Published January 08, 2020

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