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LETTERS: Proposed Fayetteville rental law would lead to mandatory home inspections

To the editor: Dear property owners of the village of Fayetteville:

Your village government is seriously considering creating what the mayor is calling a "rental registry." Tied to that registry is proposed legislation that leads to mandatory home inspections, punitive fees, and (if you as homeowner refuse to comply), eventual seizure of your property. The version of the law that the mayor currently seems to favor draws no distinctions between people who own many properties (including entire apartment complexes) and those people who live in their own homes and who might, someday, decide to rent a room out in order to make ends meet.

If you are a widow and own your own house and decide that you want to have an old friend move in to help share expenses, your house becomes subject to village inspections. You are treated as a commercial “landlord” and if your house isn't “up to code,” you will have to either make repairs in order to keep the village satisfied or you will be forced to kick your friend out of your house and lose your “permit” to live with whomever you choose. Not married, but living with a “partner?” You, too, are subject to this new law that would open your home up for mandatory inspections if the village decides that your “affidavit” claiming that everything is up to code is not accepted by the village property compliance czar.

Other municipalities have created rental registry laws in order to keep more careful track of landlords and their residential properties, but in many cases meaningful distinctions are drawn so that owner-occupants are exempted from the scope of the law. Even more municipalities have decided that existing zoning laws and existing landlord-tenant laws already provide ample protections for people without empowering village bureaucrats to regulate and monitor yet another aspect of private conduct, which almost inevitably leads to fees at the very least and absolute control of how you live and with whom at the worst.

Please come to the Fayetteville Village Board meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 19, to listen to the conversation. Now is the time to prevent bad legislation from ever being adopted. It's often too late after the votes have been taken.

David Vickers is a resident of Fayetteville.

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