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Tougher Penalties for Slumlords Being Proposed

COLUMBUS (Ben Garbarek) -- Slumlords could soon be facing stiffer penalties for not taking care of their properties.

City Council is considering raising the maximum fine from $500 to $1000 and jail time from two months to six.  City leaders said some properties don't get fixed up because code enforcers don't have enough leverage to get slumlords to act.

"These (increased penalties) are for folks who refuse to work with the code officers," said Councilman Zach Klein.  "It gets so bad that the city's attorney's office has to file a civil or criminal complaint in the environmental court in order for you to pay attention to your property and take care of it."

Klein hosted a public meeting to talk about the proposed changes.

"I definitely want to see something done," said Dave Fitzpatrick, one of the people at the meeting.  "(I want to see something done) with the habitual code violators that end up in court and subsequently don't do anything about it."

Council will vote on the proposed changes during its meeting Monday night.

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