House Bill 34 would create landlord registry in Shelby County

Published: Jan. 6, 2023 at 10:38 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - One Shelby County state lawmaker is looking to hold landlords more accountable in a new bill filed Friday.

The Action News 5 newsroom is inundated with emails, calls, and messages from viewers in Shelby County who are living in less-than-desirable conditions and say they can’t get answers from their landlords.

Representative Dwayne Thompson hopes his bill will change that.

The current law only allows a registry if a county has a consolidated metropolitan government with more than 500,000 people — like Nashville in Davidson County.

Thompson wants to amend that law so it would apply to Shelby County as well.

“This is not a Democratic bill and it’s not a Republican bill. This is a consumer protection bill essentially,” he said.

House Bill 34 requires residential landlords or land agents in Shelby County to list all properties they own or manage, and include a physical address and their phone number so renters have direct access to them.

“There are many renters out there, whether it be an apartment or in their houses, [who] can’t get a hold of someone, either the landlord or the landlord’s agent, to get the service they need which they are obligated to get by the lease said they’ve signed,” said Thompson.

Thompson hopes his legislation will help renters have someone to reach out to directly when they need it the most.

“They have an obligation to take care of that property, and a lot of times, they don’t fulfill those obligations,” said Thompson.

He says he still needs a state lawmaker in the Senate to sponsor their version of the bill.

He also believes if passed, the state can get this done for free.

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