Salt Lake Mayor Palmer DePaulis says a proposed landlord/tenant ordinance brought to the city by a citizens group would be better addressed by the state Legislature.

The ordinance, a version of a fair-housing bill introduced and defeated in the Legislature several times, was drafted by the Salt Lake Citizens Congress to balance the rights of landlords and tenants in the city.But DePaulis said passing an ordinance at the local level would create an island of restrictive housing laws that would upset an already unsteady housing market.

Instead, DePaulis backs efforts to introduce a similar bill that would address landlord and tenant rights statewide.

"We would be willing to support something we could feel good about," he said.

City Attorney Roger Cutler called the Citizens Congress ordinance "pregnant with problems," in part because it places severe restrictions on landlords' ability to regulate their property.

Such restrictions would hamper their ability to fill vacancies, especially in Salt Lake City, Cutler said.

"Why should Salt Lake single itself out when we already have high vacancy rates?" he asked.

But Michael Ortega, of the Citizens Congress, said fair-housing bills have been repeatedly defeated in the "pro-landlord Legislature, making it necessary to approach the city with the draft ordinance."

Dismal housing projects owned by slumlords are pervasive in the city, Ortega said. The ordinance is needed to give tenants additional rights to adequate housing without the threat of eviction, Ortega said.

On Utah's Capitol Hill, Sen. Kay Cornaby, R-Salt Lake, said he intends to reintroduce a fair-housing bill again during the coming legislative session. Cornaby is optimistic the bill will pass because a recent federal bill incorporating similar provisions passed the U.S. Congress.