OMAHA - Lawyers for the Metropolitan Omaha Property Owner's Association wants a judge to order a temporary injunction against the city's new landlord registry ordinance. It takes effect Jan. 1.

"This is kind of a more drastic step, an unusual step in a litigation process," said MOPOA's lawyer, Jason Bruno.

Bruno said it's a needed step to keep what MOPOA's lawyers call an unconstitutional ordinance from going into effect during the lawsuit.

"I see a concerted effort and escalating attempts simply just to harass landlords, and frankly not to care about the constitutional protections or even previous agreements," Bruno said. "They just don't care."

The new ordinance requires landlords to register with the city and face periodic inspections. During earlier discussion, council members said they wanted to avoid what happened at Yale Park Apartments in 2018, when inspectors said they found hundreds of code violations and forced 500 refugees to find new homes.

The city charged Yale Park landlord Kay Anderson with 100 code violations. But a judge recently threw out the city's evidence, saying the search warrant was invalid. Bruno said that ruling proves their point.

"The city is saying, 'We are going to force you to give us consent to searches and in exchange we will allow you to rent your private properties,'" Bruno said.

Councilman Ben Gray, who voted for the ordinance, said tenants need to be protected.

"I am not going to sit here as a city councilman and allow people who I know are living in dangerous conditions. People who I know are in unsanitary conditions," Gray said.

Gray said no matter what a judge rules, he plans to keep pushing a landlord registry.

"If they are successful with this, please understand, I am going to come with another ordinance," he said.

Other council members said they would wait to see what the city legal team says about the request for an emergency hearing.

"There is significant difference and basis for city action that does not implicate the previous settlement agreement," Paul Kratz said.