Could you lose your property because one of your tenants called the police one too many times? It was a scenario that was brought before the Panama City Commission, and now they are addressing the issue.
Ever since the ordinance went into effect a few months ago many have had their concerns, including residential property owners. Resident Steve Robinson owns many properties around town that he rents out to others. He says addressing the city's nuisance concerns is a good thing. However, he has his reservations.
"My issue was with the infringement on property rights," Robinson said. "Somebody could be committing a crime that my property could be in jeopardy as a result of."
He and other property owners in the city took their concerns to the city commission when the chronic nuisance ordinance began to take shape. The ordinance, passed back in April, states that a property may be labeled a nuisance if it received more than five calls of service. The owner may be required to enter an abatement program, leading many property owners to fear the worst.
"That the City of Panama City would, in their mind, take their property away knowing that they had five complaints in a 30 day period," Commissioner Mike Nichols said.
So the ordinance underwent some tweaking by the city attorney and the Panama City Police department. With the clarification, it now states that a nuisance by a third-party tenant will not count against them, provided the property owner is free from any participation in the event.
"We want you to contact us, we're not going to use those calls from you as one of those numbers that we're having a problem with," Nichols said.
Nichols hopes this revision won't make residents hesitate to call law enforcement, unlike before.
"That was the concern of ours, when you read the first ordinance," Nichols said.
Robinson applauds the change.
"A step in the right direction," Robinson said. "I think it clarifies that I can't be held liable, or you as a property owner cannot be held liable for an action someone else is doing."
The ordinance has been drawn up, and Nichols says it's set to go before the commission likely at their next meeting.