ST. CLOUD -- A voluntary program to increase the safety of rental properties in the St. Cloud State University neighborhood could become mandatory under a proposal before the city council Monday.

There is a public hearing scheduled during the regular City Council meeting to consider making the Eyes on the South Side rental housing validation program mandatory for landlords in the St. Cloud State University neighborhood.

Community Development Director Matt Glaesman says a detailed discussion is needed because there would be significant costs in both staff time and materials.

The Eyes on the South Side program is currently voluntary and allows for police officers to inspect rental properties for things landscaping, lighting, and locks.

Glaesman says they also talk about best practices like locking doors, keeping a strict inventory of keys, etc.

If the council makes the program mandatory, it would impact an estimated 445 rental properties in that zone. So far, about 20 landlords have tried the program or are currently enrolled in it.

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