Pharos-Tribune

June 28, 2013

More diligence for rentals sought

Building commissioner says infractions call for more stringent schedule.

by Mitchell Kirk Pharos-Tribune
Pharos-Tribune

---- — The Logansport building Commissioner is calling for more diligence from rental property owners and managers as infractions discovered through inspections add up.

More than 10 rental property owners and managers have been requested to appear before the Logansport Board of Public Works and Safety, according to a list provided by Building Commissioner Bill Drinkwine at Wednesday’s board meeting. The board addressed Steve Schwering of Schwering Realty Inc., which manages more than 30 properties in Logansport, more than 25 of which Drinkwine said he discovered are in violation of the city’s property maintenance ordinance through ramped-up inspections he, the city’s code enforcement officer and Cass County Health Department started earlier this year.

The ordinance states property owners and managers have 30 days to remedy any infractions or respond to Drinkwine within five days outlining a schedule they plan to pursue in bringing their properties up to code. Drinkwine said he called Schwering before the board after reaching an “impasse” based on Schwering’s inconsistency to complete repairs.

“I’m asking for the board’s assistance to set up a defined schedule with financial burden and closure burden if improvements are not made on the properties,” Drinkwine said, adding that six of Schwering’s properties have met the ordinance’s criteria while others violate it with faulty electrical outlets, absence of smoke detectors, water leakage and holes in walls.

Schwering said the amount of necessary repairs along with the fact he is not the owner of the properties he manages have posed difficulties in bringing the properties up to code.

“I’ve conveyed [Drinkwine’s] concerns to the property owners,” Schwering said. “There’s a lot of stuff to do here.”

Schwering’s response had little effect on Drinkwine, who stressed the part of the ordinance that essentially states the city is willing to work with property owners and managers if they provide a schedule on how they plan on pursuing making repairs.

“[Schwering] is the only one not doing that,” Drinkwine told the board. “I want a date, plan and schedule.”

Mayor Ted Franklin, who chairs the board, asked if it would be possible for Schwering to establish this date, plan and schedule.

“I don’t know if I can commit to a schedule,” Schwering said, adding that it all depended on cooperation from the properties’ owners.

Drinkwine went on to suggest that should this be the case, then perhaps the owners themselves should appear before the board in the future.

Schwering and the board settled on July 9 being the date Schwering will provide a plan and schedule for implementing the changes and bringing properties back up to code.

Mitchell Kirk is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5130 or mitchell.kirk@pharostribune.com.