by: Tenikka Smith Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is working with nearly 40 rental property owners to clean up crime and other issues at their properties.
Problems range from gun violence to noisy neighbors
Officers told Eyewitness News the expanded rental property ordinance has helped them quickly move in and work to turn things around.
Property owner Christopher Dennis owns a company that buys and restores run down or crime-ridden homes.
He said these problem rental properties are a drain on neighbors and police.
“We see the headache they have going to same house over and over and over and in my opinion that’s our tax dollars being wasted,” Dennis said.
In January 2013, the city expanded its rental property ordinance to require their owners to register with the city.
The ordinance helps police track the number of violent crimes and calls for service at rental properties.
Depending on the size of the property, police are flagged after a certain amount of calls and they immediately get in touch with the owner.
“It allows us to work with them to create plans to mitigate those problems,” said Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Capt. Dominick Pellicone.
An apartment complex off Conway Avenue had seven violent crimes since January last year including five armed robberies.
Staff said they have a strong relationship with police and have improved lighting and regular meetings with tenants.
Police said most property owners aren't aware of the problems, but quickly work with officers and the city to find solutions.
“Most want to be responsible and have good properties and take care of their investments,” Pellicone said.
Dennis supports the effort, but is still seeing a problem with properties that have issues, but not enough to get flagged by police.
He'd like to see the city work more closely with neighborhood leaders to prevent those landlords from slipping through the cracks.
“If there’s a problem, it’s not just about calling the cops. It’s about having the generic conversation how do we fix this as neighbors,” Dennis said.
CMPD also sends out weekly emails to registered property owners about crimes and problems reported at their properties.
Property owners that don't register can be charged for failing to comply with a city ordinance, which is a misdemeanor.