Evansville City Council passes tenants rights resolution

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EVANSVILLE (WEHT) – The Evansville City Council held its first meeting of the new year Monday. In addition to electing a new president, councilmembers also passed a resolution surrounding landlord and tenant issues. Council members said their goal is to make sure tenants are aware of what the actual laws and rules are when renting from a property owner while also understanding their own responsibilities as a tenant.

The pandemic heightened tensions between landlords and tenants. City council members said Monday’s meeting was the first step towards relieving those mounting issues.

“With a number of people out of work and being behind on rent, the tension is a little higher with this group. There’s more people at risk of losing their place to live. So what we wanted to do is provide the information to explain what they can and can’t do. And what’s legal and what’s not legal,” Councilmember Ron Beane said.

“Last year, the mayor hosted a town hall out there and it was great to hear directly from the tenant. We know that there are some issues with crime, we know that housing is an issue, we know that the property owners have been negligent. My goal for this year is to hold property owners responsible and hold their feet to the fire,” said Councilmember Alex Burton.

The council’s goal moving forward is to educate tenants on their rights and responsibilities.

“Tenants will have a bad situation doesn’t realize their rights and on the flipside not understand the responsibilities they have. So the resolution tonight was the first step on the council to help educate tenants,” said City Attorney Josh Claybourne.

One complex, specifically, has the attention of some council members. Burton said Woodland Park Apartments on Sunburst Boulevard has major issues including trash piling up in the complex.

“We’re gonna hold those property owners accountable, specifically those at Woodlawn apartments. The fact that the apartments have mold and that they have creatures, it’s a problem. And I don’t believe any residents of Evansville should be living in conditions that,” Burton said.

Council members have yet to roll out an exact plan but said they are ready to roll up their sleeves to tackle the issues.

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(This story was originally published on January 11, 2021)

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