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Slumlords, beware: Your name could end up on this page

The city is looking at a new program to tackle slumlords in an effort to clean up neighborhood eyesores that drag down property values and attract crime.

One of the proposed changes in the way the city deals with problem landlords is publishing their names in local newspapers, said Councilwoman Karin Uhlich.

Uhlich has proposed the Landlord Accountability Initiative, which would make it easier for city officials to identify and clean up properties that have multiple police responses or code violations.

Uhlich said one of the “key barriers” city officials face when dealing with problem landlords is locating them to serve notices of violation or citations.

“It can bog everything down if the city attorney can’t find a way to get the people served,” Uhlich said. “It’s our feeling that if the landlord is being this irresponsible . . . then it’s perfectly appropriate for us to take that alternative course of action.

“If there’s an added element of any kind of embarrassment from that, I would say that they’ve earned it.”

The council will discuss possible changes to the Neighborhood Preservation Ordinance on Tuesday during the study session at its weekly meeting. The council will not adopt any changes at this meeting.

According to city documents, the changes would be in keeping with recent amendments to state law.

Uhlich’s proposal would require that owners of problem properties participate in the city’s Crime Free Multi-Housing Program or contract with a city-approved property management company, said City Attorney Mike Rankin.

Rankin said a civil attorney in his office will be assigned to handle code violations and nuisance properties, the first time the city has done such a thing in recent memory.

The council also will discuss other strategies for cleaning up slum properties that incorporate the Development Services Department and the Department of Neighborhood Re-sources as well as Tucson police.

Strategies could include placing liens on properties to force the landlords to sell, according to city documents.

“It’s much more aggressive and we’re really addressing the key things that’s bogged down the city’s past efforts to hold egregious landlords accountable,” Uhlich said.

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IF YOU GO

• What: Tucson City Council Meeting

• Where: Council chambers in City Hall, 255 W. Alameda St.

• When: Study session begins at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday and regular session begins at 5:30

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