Only a few landlords and one renter weighed in Tuesday evening on a series of recommendations to improve rental housing inspections in Portland being put forward by a city task force formed in the aftermath of the fatal Noyes Street fire.

Landlords urged the task force to resist suggesting initiatives that would contribute to the relatively high cost of housing or discourage landlords from working with the city.

Celeste Bard, who owns two rental units, said any additional burdens placed on landlords may encourage them to sell their apartment buildings so they can be converted into condominiums.

“It’s unfortunate that it was tragedy that brought us into this room,” Bard said, referring to the Nov. 1 fire on Noyes Street that killed six young adults. “If we have so many fees that drive prices up, there will be people on fixed incomes that will find it difficult to stay in Portland.”

While the task force recommended only five additional inspection staff members because of budget concerns, Carol Schiller, president of the University Neighborhood Organization, urged the group to recommend a staffing level for inspections that ensures all Portland rental units are inspected on a regular basis and that tenants be informed of any dangers.

Currently, there is little information readily available to people who may be living in an unsafe building and not know it.

“We can never ever afford to neglect the citizens the way we did,” Schiller said.

Fire officials ruled the cause of the blaze at 20-24 Noyes St. to be accidental, but concluded the building did not have functioning smoke detectors.

After the fire, it was revealed that city inspectors had been called to the property 16 times since 2003 to investigate a slate of complaints, including a possibly illegal third floor unit and excessive trash.

The task force, which has been meeting since December, has recommended creating a new housing safety office, whose top administrator would report to the city manager.

Three additional inspectors would be hired and an administrative position would be created to help coordinate and prioritize inspections and manage an online database that would allow tenants to view the inspections history of Portland’s rental properties.

It’s estimated the new office would cost $375,000, a portion of which would be offset by fees and fines.

The proposed database would help inspectors prioritize their inspections by assigning a risk factor for each rental unit based on age of the building, type of construction, number of units, location, delinquent taxes, complaints, violations and foreclosure, among other things.

Inspection results and complaint histories would be available to the public online.

The group also recommends that the fire department resume its school-based education program, and increase educational outreach to college-age students, immigrants and landlords.

Other recommendations include enforcing a city ordinance requiring landlords to register their rental units and pay a fee, which has not been determined.

Jim Harmon, a Portland landlord who has been following the task force process, said he likes the idea of prioritizing inspections based on risk, but worries about fees and fines.

The task force recommends issuing tickets and fines to landlords who ignore life safety violations, but Harmon was worried that could potentially punish landlords for damage caused by tenants, such as to smoke detectors.

Harmon urged the group to allow landlords to register their units for free and levy a large fine if they don’t.

He also complained that the city does not issue compliance certificates to landlords who do comply and make the needed upgrades.

“It looks like violations are still on the books,” he said. “I have had situations where I have done all the work but no one comes back to do an inspection.”

The fledgling Portland Tenant Coalition was expected to present its own set of demands to the task force, which does not include a renter, only an attorney who represents renters.

But organizer Tom MacMillan said members were helping a group of tenants being evicted from a property on Dartmouth Street and couldn’t attend.

The recommendations will be presented to city councilors next Tuesday.