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Sunnyside police stepping up efforts to contact landlords

Not all landlords in the city of Sunnyside have yet complied with the crime-free rental housing ordinance, according to Sunnyside Deputy Police Chief Phil Schenck.

That's why his department will be stepping up its efforts to contact landlords not yet registered with the crime-free rental housing program.

Schenck said, "There are 130 individual properties registered with the program...we think that is just a portion of the rentals in Sunnyside and we need to register them all."

Those required by law to register include property owners renting anything from an apartment to a mobile home. Those renting a room in their residence to other individuals are also included in the ordinance.

One of the requirements of the program is that landlords must attend a crime-free rental housing class.

Schenck said there are many "good landlords" in the city. It's unfortunate, he indicated, that responsible landlords have the inconvenience of complying with the ordinance, but feels it is necessary if the community is to feel safe again.

"We need to take back our city," he said.

"Basically, we're to the point where all landlords that are going to voluntarily sign up are registered," Schenck continued.

He said the program is not a voluntary program and landlords who are not in compliance risk revocation of future rental licensing.

In the interest of helping landlords keep that licensing, the Sunnyside Police Department in the next week will begin going door-to-door, seeking landlords for the purpose of ensuring requirements of the crime-free rental housing ordinance are met.

Registered, licensed landlords benefit from the program in that reports of criminal activity associated with their properties are received. If there isn't any criminal activity on the property, said Schenck, the landlord won't receive a report.

"Some property owners receive monthly reports because there is a lot of activity on their property...there are some instances that require immediate action on the part of the landlord," he said.

Examples of activity requiring immediate action include criminal gang activity and drugs.

"We appreciate that most landlords are responsible and do a good job," said Schenck.

He urges any landlord in the city of Sunnyside who is not yet registered with the crime-free rental housing program to call the police department at 837-2120.

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