UPDATE: South Bend Common Council passes Chronic Problem Propert - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: South Bend Common Council passes Chronic Problem Property Ordinance


South Bend is cracking down on nuisance properties.

The South Bend Common Council passed an ordinance Monday that will fine property owners if the police are called to their properties repeatedly for non-emergencies, like loitering and loud parties.

It aims to put more responsibility on landlords.     

Property owners would get fined $250 and put on a chronic nuisance list if they have 50 properties or less and have more than five calls in 60 days.

Or 51 properties or more, and 12 calls to service or code violations in 90 days.

Those in favor say responding to repeat 9-1-1 nuisance calls at the same properties is taking resources away from more pressing emergencies.

"When you look at the dollar amount for those calls, if you would add it up based on the project from April to June, it's almost $11 million dollars. Forty percent of the police budget, just going to calls that would deal with chronic nuisance," says Councilman Tim Scott.

South Bend resident Stephanie Langley says, "You can't always go after the tenants. THe landlords have a responsibility and I think it's time that we hold them accountable for who they rent out to."

Not everyone was on board.

Those who spoke against it at the meeting say, imposing fines isn't the right way to go about the problem.

They fear it may discourage domestic violence victims from calling 9-1-1.

"We're gonna start fining people $250. That's not the answer because what's gonna happen. People are gonna take it in their own hands because they're not gonna wanna call." says Reverend Greg Brown of South Bend.

South Bend Resident Jessie Davis says  "You can find ways to resolve the problem. But trying to fine people who are calling you, isn't going to do it. A 6- year-old girl died last week. Guess what? They were called to that residence four times. One more time it would have been a nuisance."

The sponsors of the bill say people are confused. Victims of crimes, for instance in domestic violence situations, don't fit the nuisance criteria because those are emergency situations.

Also, those who make the call about a loud party, or loitering, won't be held accountable.. it will be the property creating that nuisance.

The council passed the bill by an 8 to 1 vote. Councilman Henry Davis was the only one to vote against it.

The Indiana Apartment Association has concerns with the ordinance, Mark Conover with the Indiana Apartment Association said in a news release,  "We have members with 400 to 600 units in the apartment community, which unfairly raises the odds that an entire property could be deemed a chronic problem, even if it is the actions of only a few residents."

The bill goes into effect October 15th to give the police department some time to get people in place who will be overseeing nuisance properties and time to inform the community and work with property owners to get them up to speed before it'll be enforced.

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