Earlier this week, the select board approved a fee to go along with a new bylaw that affects the nearly 1,600 landlords in the town.
They will each have to register and pay an annual $100 fee beginning Jan. 1, which is a new rule that has some landlords concerned.
"In Amherst, more that 50 percent of our housing units are rentals," said Select Board Chair Stephanie O'Keeffe. She told CBS 3 with that many rental properties the town, regulations were needed.
Not only will landlords receive a permit, they will have to provide an approved parking plan for their property, as well as lay out the accountability between themselves and the tenant.
"We felt that it would be really helpful for the tenants, landlords and neighbors, to establish very clear expectations about how to be compliant with state and local regulations," said O'Keeffe.
"Generally, when you charge a fee, you expect a service for it," said Stephen Walczak, property manager for New Puffton Village, a complex that is home to nearly 900 University of Massachusetts students.
Walczak, who is also president of the Amherst Landlords Association, was part of the group that helped write the bylaw. But, that does not mean he agrees with it.
"We firmly believe that under the existing laws, which allow fines of up to $1,000 a day or condemnation of a building, that this wasn't really necessary to this degree," Walczak stated.
Walczak believes the biggest issues come from homes rented to students, which are next door to town residents.
"You have families living next to them, it's a different lifestyle and there are some problems," said Walczak. "There are some landlords, if you studied the statistics, maybe 2 percent, who have not been compliant or helpful."
The town plans to put each permit and the accompanying paperwork online, to make it a very transparent process.
"There's no punishment goal here," O'Keeffe stated. "It's all about education and what the expectations are with the laws that are already on the books."
The town said there are only self-inspections, which is why the fee is not higher than $100 per property.
The landlords association has sent the bylaw to legal council, to see make sure the fee is a fee and not a tax.
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