LEWISTON — Police have a new label for rowdy addresses: “disorderly properties.”

On Tuesday, the Lewiston City Council approved a measure to begin contacting the owners of rental properties that have drawn repeated visits by police.

“I think we’re trying a low-key approach with the landlords to see how it works,” Lewiston police Sgt. Robert Ullrich said Wednesday.

The just-passed resolve levies no punishment against unresponsive landlords. Rather, it creates a new standard operating procedure for the department to include landlords. A property will be considered disorderly if it has been visited by police five times in the past month or 15 times in the past year, according to the resolve.

Issues could include such relatively small issues and loud music and barking dogs to more severe problems like prostitution, drug dealing and assault.

Once a property is identified, owners will be asked to meet with the police chief or a designated officer within a week to discuss who lives at the property, what agreements bind the tenants and how the problems may be remedied.

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Such measures have been talked about in Lewiston for more than a decade, Deputy City Administrator Phil Nadeau said Wednesday.

Other Maine cities, including Portland, have ordinances that impose penalties against landlords with problem properties. In some cases, they’re attached to severe fines, Nadeau said.

Mayor Robert Macdonald re-ignited the Lewiston discussion earlier this year.

Since then, meetings were held between police officers, landlords and city officials.

Police officer Charles Weaver and Sgt. Ullrich represented their department’s community resource team.

“Ultimately, what we really want to do from our end is to help landlords if they have problem tenants or, if we have a building that we’re responding to a lot, ask landlords what can we do to remedy this,” Ullrich said.

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So far, the meetings have been cordial, he said.

Later, the city may consider ordinance changes and penalties, Nadeau said.

Over the next year, the city plans to gather data, target these properties and watch for patterns that arise.

The city may identify problem property owners or particularly rowdy neighborhoods.

“The data will help to reveal a lot about what we should do,” Nadeau said

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