Rockville residents last week generally supported a proposed landlord-tenant ordinance, but some voiced concern at a City Council hearing over who would pay for the law's enforcement.
The proposal would establish a Commission on Landlord-Tenant Affairs, made up of landlords, tenants and members at large. The commission would have the power to impose fines, order repairs by a landlord or tenant and investigate complaints.
Arlene Simons, executive director of the nonprofit Community Housing Resources Board Inc., urged the council members to adopt the ordinance but asked that the commission be partly financed by the city rather than completely relying upon rental licensing fees.
"If it were to be self-supporting, it (the costs) would pass directly to the tenant, and it's not fair to landlords to tell them not to pass on the costs," she said.
Sima Osdoby, a member of the City Housing Policy Task Force who represented three of the panel's members, testified that the ordinance is "pretty well thought out," but it contains a few problems.
If the commission is to be self-supporting through the fees, "licensing fees would have to be raised dramatically," she said.
In other business, the city approved an agreement between the city police and the Montgomery County Mobile Crisis Team.
The agreement will allow the city police to call the crisis and social intervention team in difficult cases involving adults who suffer from some form of mental disorder and are at risk of psychiatric hospitalization.
The team is made up of social workers and nurses working in pairs, who will reduce the need for police intervention by conducting on-the-scene assessments and providing immediate and follow-up service.