EVART — Landlords need protections. Tenants need protections.

Evart City Council members have begun considering the needs of both — landlords and tenants.

At the last session of Evart’s City Council, members of the municipal board began the process of creating what may become a tenant-landlord ordinance.

The idea is both to bring rental properties in Evart up to a well-considered municipal code, while at the same time protecting landlords from some specific liabilities.

“Basically, we need to create an ordinance and begin dealing with rental housing issues in a reasonable and responsible manner,” reported City Manager Zack Szackas following the meeting.

“We want to make sure people in our city are living in safe and livable conditions.

“This ordinance would also protect landlords.

“It is an ordinance that is needed and will benefit all involved — either directly or indirectly.”

The issue was first raised when inquiries were made by the Department of Human Services as to whether the city actually had a tenant-landlord ordinance on the books.

“The DHS wanted to make sure clients were protected and secure when and if they were placed in this area,” noted Szackas.

“We basically were told we needed to get on board with a municipal ordinance that protected potential tenants that might be placed by DHS in our city.”

During the city council session, Mayor Eric Schmidt raised the issue and assigned a task to city attorney Jim White, requesting that he bring a sample ordinance to the council for future consideration. The suggested ordinance will be discussed, fine-tuned, and discussed some more.

If an acceptable ordinance is generated, the council may call for a public hearing on the topic, soliciting comment and allowing for more fine-tuning in order to create a document that best fits the city of Evart’s needs.

“We simply hope to come up with an ordinance that both protects tenants and is comfortable and acceptable to landlords as well,” reiterated Sczakas.

“I would hope to see this dealt with in a timely fashion. I expect something would be on the table yet this spring.