New Britain Landlord Group Said There is No Compromise

Thursday, Dec 13, 2012  |  Updated 2:18 PM EDT
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New Britain Landlord Group Said There is No Compromise

Landlords in New Britain are protesting an ordinance and a street closure is planned tonight.

The lawsuit landlords filed against New Britain's city government over proposed fees of $150 per unit helped city officials draft a new ordinance with lower fees they call "bulletproof," but an organization that represents landlords said they plan to continue to fight.

“We’ve listened to hundred of landlords and we’ve negotiated with attorneys,” the mayor said in a prepared statement, according to the New Britain Herald. “I believe we have struck a fair compromise.”

Instead of $150 per unit, landlords who live out of town would pay $50 per unit for the first three units they own, $40 for the next 10 and $35 for additional units, up to a cap of $12,000 per year.

On Thursday afternoon, Connecticut Property Owners Alliance released a statement saying angry landlords have been calling and sending e-mails feeling that the alliance "sold out" to city government, but that was not true.

“We are committed to support New Britain's landlords and tenants alike and believe the court will see this our way and void this ill-conceived ordinance. This is a total misrepresentation of the facts, I am sure that this press release was intended to make this situation go away. We are not going away. We will continue moving forward with the lawsuit and plan on letting Mayor O’Brien know that the battle is far from over, as there will once again be a huge show of support at New Britain City Hall next Tuesday night at 7:00 PM for the next scheduled public hearing on this matter.” Bob DeCosmo, President of the Connecticut Property Owners Alliance, said in a statement.

Mayor Tim O'Brien said the fees would go toward hiring an inspector to cite landlords who don't maintain their properties and add to the city's problems with blight. 

He said there will be a public hearing on the proposed ordinance before it passes the city council by the end of the year.  It is to take effect on April 1.

"It's still a kick in the ass," said Hunter Mantera, a landlord who lives in New Britain, "but it's lighter. For $50 a unit, it's not worth fighting tooth and nail," he said.

“We, the plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the city, are not a part of this compromise. In fact, the Mayor only made a deal with one landlord, Pebblebrook Apartments. I know this because their attorney, former Democratic Party chairman Ed Marcus, sat in our offices last week and said he was re-drafting the ordinance to suit his client. The press release issued from the city was false and premature,” Eric Polinsky, a plaintiff in the lawsuit against the city and an executive for the Carabetta Companies, said.

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