Absentee property owners will have to publicly file their home addresses, should a bill pass the Senate.
Cities will be able to require nonresident owners of rental properties to publicly file their home addresses, under a bill that passed the state House late last month. The legislation currently sits on the Senate’s calendar. That chamber has three days to take it up. Otherwise, it will die as session expires. The bill is but one example of dozens of meaningful ideas that still await action in the last days of session.Currently, some landlords disguise their ownership of rental properties through corporate devices like LLC’s, or they hide their home addresses by using post office boxes for their property tax bills. Those maneuvers make it difficult for cities to serve legal process for housing court matters.When slumlords must answer for building code violations, then, they often claim they never received notice from the court, and escape punishment. So the address bill would require landlords to file their home addresses with the municipality. If they don’t, then their tax bill address counts as a residential address. But the tax bill doesn’t count if it lists a post office box. If a real street address isn’t listed anywhere, then the city can impose a fine- $250 for the first violation, but up to $1,000 for each additional instance.Most important, when the city serves an order to the address on file, under this bill that action would be considered “sufficient proof of service” for any legal proceeding, according to an analysis by the legislature’s Office of Legislative Research. “Hopefully it will speed up the process,” says state Rep. Kenneth Green (D-Hartford), co-chairman of the Housing Committee. Making a landlord’s residential address public may also result in neighborhood groups protesting at a particular slumlord’s house. Green says that’s not the intent.“I’m not doing this for people to show up at their houses and protest,” Green says.