Memphis considers fee for property rentals

(WMC-TV) - The Memphis City Council is considering a fee that could cost landlords and real estate agents big bucks.

A city council committee meeting was held Tuesday morning. One councilman proposed an ordinance that would change the way it does business with landlords. It could also cost property owners more money in the process.

Councilman Edmund Ford Junior said his proposal to create a $10 rental property registration fee for property owners in Memphis is not a budget-time money grab. But those who would be affected are skeptical.

Representatives from the Memphis real estate community turned out for the meeting and voiced their concerns.

Rosemarie Fair with the Memphis Area Association of Realtors says those who are already keeping their properties at code would be the only ones to register and pay the fee.

"This in place is not supposed to be a deterrent to those individuals who are the good guys," responded Councilman Ford. "But everyone will say they are the good guy until they get caught."

Ford says a registration process and an annual fee would be a way to reduce blight and hold absentee landlords accountable. The proposal is still in its early phases.

For now, board attorneys will continue to do some research.

Councilman Ford based his proposal on an ordinance that is already in effect in Nashville.

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