The city of Hartford is working on revamping its housing rules after several notorious cases of people living in troubled apartment complexes.
Some argue redoing these housing codes should not be rushed, while others believe there is some urgency since this has already dragged on for a while, and renters are looking for better protections with many old and rundown properties in the city.
“We have quite a few absentee landlords, individuals who have purchased property in Hartford, don’t live here, don’t keep up the property,” resident Vicki Gallon-Clark said.
The concerns are more than blight. NBC Connecticut has been following the issues at Barbour Garden Apartments, which the city had cited with pages and pages of violations.
Residents of the Barbour Garden apartments complained of decrepit and unsanitary conditions for months, with issues ranging from mold to rodents to broken doors and windows, to even holes in the floors.
“I would say that for the most part looking at this housing code is very much a result of some of the problems we’ve had with Hartford landlords,” City Councilman John Gale (D) said.
For the first time in decades, the city is looking to update its housing rules to enhance safety and cleanliness.
“Ideally what you’d like to do is just raise the whole standard of living for everyone. But one of the other problems we’ve had is being able to connect with the landlords. So then we have someone we can hold accountable when the housing doesn’t meet those standards,” Gale said.
Thursday the Planning, Economic Development and Housing Committee dived into parts of the changes, including a requirement that buildings with three or more apartments be licensed and inspected. The city hopes that will make it easier to catch problem properties and bring violators to justice.
As landlords and property managers face the potential of extra requirements and costs, there are worries.
“They’re going to rush into it before they get the proper input from all segments of the community,” said Michael Cohen, who works as a property manager in the city.
City councilors already have raised questions about the rules as proposed. This is just the beginning of the process and it could be months before anything is finalized.