Archive for Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Public invited to give input on rental licensing and inspection program

August 14, 2013


The public is invited to give input on the city's expansion of the rental licensing and inspection program.

The Planning and Development Services department will review the proposed ordinance and program details from 5 to 6 p.m. Aug. 21 in the City Commission room at City Hall.

For more information, contact code enforcement manager Brian Jimenez by email at or by phone at 785-832-7700.


Richard Heckler 4 years, 10 months ago

There are approximately 20,720 rental units and growing everyday. Which in the near future will be more than 60% of residential I speculate.

Lenexa,Overland Park,Leavenworth,Roeland Park, Prairie Village, Westwood, Merriam,Leawood and Kansas City have rental programs. Iowa City has had a program since 1970.

Performance Audit: Rental Housing Licensing Program – February 2012 can be procured through City Hall. A ton of information.

20,720 rental units is 58% of residential in Lawrence,Kansas for the moment. Not collecting fees annually simply will not support the endeavor.

All rental units should be subject to rules set forth through rental registration. A neighborhood residential unit is not necessarily up to code. No one knows what has transpired over the years except the owner and/or property manager. Is a red tagged furnace still in use?(could be)

City Hall suggested 6000 units a year can be inspected with I believe 5 inspectors. 20,720 units at 6000 per year = a unit inspected once every 3.5 years. This is not threatening nor unacceptable.

Some protesting property owners do not want this ordinance I say. It certainly cannot be the cost of the program at less than $2.00 per month. It is the cost of bringing housing up to code to provide a respectable environment for tenants.

Restricting the number of unrelated tenants in reality is a protection for neighborhoods and a great tool to have on the books.

Shouldn’t “neighborhood single family dwellings” turned rental property provide enough off street parking to meet demand? Absolutely we know rental units can create monster parking problems.

As I was listening to the City Commission it seemed to me they were looking for ways to not support Rental Registration much at all. I say there are enough slum lords and safety issues to keep this program alive as is done in neighboring communities.

Again Lenexa,Overland Park,Leavenworth,Roeland Park, Prairie Village, Westwood, Merriam,Leawood and Kansas City have rental programs. Iowa City has had a program since 1970.

Performance Audit: Rental Housing Licensing Program – February 2012 can be procured through City Hall. A city publication with a ton of worthwhile information

Richard Heckler 4 years, 10 months ago

If tenants or neighbors suspect a Code Violation.

Call the Code Enforcement Divison at (785) 832-7700 and request to be transferred to the rental inspector. Report the alleged Code Violation or E-mail a potential code violation.

For each of the above you will need the address of the property and an explanation as to why you believe the property to be a rental property.

What will happen after I report the property?

The rental inspector will investigate the complaint.

If the complaint is founded a letter will be sent to the property owner requesting they register their property within 30 days.

If the complaint is unfounded, the case will be closed.

If the complainant leaves a name and phone number, the rental inspector will make contact and report on the complaint’s progress.

Bursting 4 years, 10 months ago

Thank you! This is much better than the thousands of inspections that will be completed on perfectly fine properties. If there is a problem then the tenants and landlords should deal with it, not the city. We don't need the extra governing, thanks but no thanks, Lawrence.

melott 4 years, 10 months ago

For whatever reason, they are unable to enforce occupancy limits on single family homes.

workinghard 4 years, 10 months ago

Maybe the city should be more reasonable and allow 4 unrelated people like they do in small two bedroom apartments in multi-family units. This way two couples can rent a large house together.

Catalano 4 years, 10 months ago

Probably nothing, as we don't have RS1 or RS 2 zoning. But carry on anyway.

sturgen 4 years, 10 months ago

Hope this comes about. I lived with some real slumlords in Lawrence. I assume the only folks who don't want this are the landlords that know the 30 yrs of maintenance that they will have to do to make their units ready. Typically rentals in lawrence haven't been painted in decades, have HVAC systems as old as the house itself and held together by years of duct tape, but you lose your deposit for not mowing the lawn the day before you leave or didn't want to pay the inflated carpet cleaning prices the guy suggested by your lease says you have to call. Bring the change, take these folks to task and make lawrence a nicer place overall. Hey, if you actually fix your places a bit landlords you may be able to justify your rent costs.

imastinker 4 years, 10 months ago

That's not true. I rented from a guy who had a 4br house and couldn't get the rent he wanted from it. We had an office in there - would rather have had another roomate. Poor guy had bought it when he was in school and had to lower the rent way down to get it rented.

july241983 4 years, 10 months ago

Similar code enforcement laws have been subject to lawsuits. If the renters don't want the inspections, should they have a lower expectation of privacy in their home than those who own their homes?

jafs 4 years, 10 months ago

The SC declined to hear the case, which generally means they don't think there's a real constitutional issue involved.

If tenants don't want to allow inspections, I personally think that's ok (but a little nuts), but only if they're willing to sign waivers holding their landlords and the city, county, etc. harmless if they're hurt or killed because of safety issues that didn't get detected and fixed.

july241983 4 years, 10 months ago

The fact that the SCOTUS declined to hear the case does not mean that there is a lack of a real constitutional issue. They like to let issues percolate in the lower courts and will usually only accept an issue for review once there is a split of authority.

jafs 4 years, 10 months ago

Sometimes that's true, but not always.

In this case, the NY SC upheld the constitutionality of these ordinances. There's really nowhere else for the plaintiffs to go other than the US SC - it's not like there's an appeals court above the NY SC, is there?

So it seems to me that they don't think there's a real constitutional issue here.

Not sure that I do either - it's the landlord's property, and renting property to others is an activity covered under various city, county and state regulations. If those entities want to require inspections as part of that, that seems completely fine to me.

Especially when there are health and safety issues involved.

Amy Heeter 4 years, 10 months ago

This wouldn't be a issue if landlords maintained the properties. Thyself crying the loudest are the property owners who will be forced to spend thousands. If they had invested a few hundred each year they wouldn't be in this .position.

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