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Landlords and Tenants of Rental Property,
As part of the “Not in Our City” program, in August 2013 the Oak Ridge City Council adopted an Ordinance expanding the Rental Inspection Program for our rental housing stock to include those constructed during the years 1942-1945. An overlay zone district has been created for this geographic area titled the Manhattan District Overlay (MDO). Many of the homes and multiple family dwellings located in this district have fallen into disrepair for a variety of reasons. However, it is particularly true for those which have become rental property. The structural integrity of these homes may be questionable, and environmental violations are common. In addition, the safety of some residents may be at risk due to continued failure of landlords and/or tenants to comply with the health and safety standards for these dwellings, especially electrical standards. Concentrations of homes with these characteristics have resulted in blighted neighborhoods with high crime rates and low property values. This has become a significant problem for those home owners who maintain and take pride in their property and want to raise a family or retire peacefully as the value of their homes continues to fall and crime is further enabled in their neighborhoods.
In the coming months, City staff will begin the implementation of and continue the Rental Registration Program. Property owners who have rental property within the Manhattan District will be required to register their property with the City of Oak Ridge. A registration form provided by the city or available for download must be completely and legibly filled out and returned to the Community Development Department, P.O. Box 1 Oak Ridge, TN 37831 within sixty-five (65) calendar days of receiving the registration notice. Following registration, the City of Oak Ridge staff may proceed with an initial assessment of dwelling units that are either deteriorated or in the process of deteriorating to determine if the dwelling unit(s) is in compliance with applicable environmental, housing, building, plumbing, electrical, fire, health or related codes. In the event code violations are identified, the City of Oak Ridge will pursue mandatory compliance with these environmental, health and safety codes. Upon determining compliance with code standards, a “Certificate of Exemption” will be issued, which will be in effect for a period of four (4) years unless another violation is noted prior to expiration of the four (4) year exemption time frame.
No fee will be charged for initial registration or inspections. However, if a rental property is not registered or there is a failure to comply with applicable environmental, housing, building, plumbing, electrical, fire, health or related codes, a penalty of fifty dollars ($50.00) per day for each violation may be charged. In addition, in the event code violations are identified and the property owner fails to address the violations, there are several options available to the city:
Meter blocks may be used to prevent utilities from being transferred from the account of one individual to another occupant. In the event safety issues have been identified, utility sign-ups may be refused. The property owner may be cited to City Court, Administrative Hearing and or Building Board of Housing and Code Appeals depending on the nature of violation.
Please take a moment to review the links on this webpage to learn more about the Rental Registration Program.
A color coded map of the MDO area can be found
In addition, the rental registration form(s) may be accessed on the Oak Ridge City website and submitted at the following e-mail address:
. If you own rental property and know there are areas of non-compliance we urge you to voluntarily address them during the sixty (65) day registration period.
If you have additional questions please feel free to call 865-425-3532.
Kathryn G. Baldwin
Community Development Director
City of Oak Ridge, TN
Landlord Initial Letter
Rental Registration Form
Rental Registration Fillable Form
Initial Assessment Sample Worksheet
MDO Signed Ordinance
Title 13 Chapter 5 Ordinance
Tennessee Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act
Reasonable Accommodations Fair Housing Act Joint Statement 2014