Letters to the Editor

Letter: Landlord concerns

January 28, 2014


To the editor:

As a Lawrence landlord, for 49 years, I am concerned about the proposed rental inspection program. Once the city inspects and controls the apartments, I will no longer be the top decision person of my rentals. Some concerns I have:

  1. What happened? Why does the city think 100 percent of rental property need to be inspected? Why have they labeled all landlords “slum lords”? Why should I be billed for an inspection, when I have had the same tenants rent for over a decade? Does that indicate my rentals need to be inspected? Why is the city overreacting to limited situations?

  2. By whom and when will my tenants be informed that they may contact the city with their concerns about their apartment?

  3. Will tenants be required to first contact the landlord regarding any concerns, prior to contacting the city?

  4. If the city expects tenants to first contact the landlord regarding concerns, how will that procedure be conveyed to the tenant?

  5. If the city chooses to inform all tenants by written word, will it be in an attractive format that will be posted, so as not to deface the woodwork or walls?

  6. Will the city’s notice to tenants be clear and understandable, especially the many foreign students who come to Lawrence each year?

  7. Why not scrap this proposal, and develop one where and when needed?

These are concerns many landlords have regarding their responsibilities, if required to complying with the City of Lawrence’s pending rental requirements. When will we know answers to these concerns?


Richard Heckler 4 years, 3 months ago

City Hall did not label some landlords slumlords. The neighborhoods do as a result of property negligence created by the property owner.

Otherwise most to the letter writers questions have been answered several times. To not inspect all rental properties would be an act of discrimination. It's fair to tenants and nearby live in homeowners.

Neighborhood home owners also are concerned about property values. Slumlords do not necessarily have the same concerns. Maintaining a junky looking exterior might be an effort to keep THEIR property values down thus paying fewer taxes.

Matthew Herbert 4 years, 3 months ago

unless you are renting exclusively to blind people, maintaining an ugly house as a means of lowering your property value is not a good business practice. I have found that my potential tenants tend to actually LOOK at the property before renting it. This will come as a great shock to you I'm sure, but I've further more found that nice looking properties bring in more rental revenue than trashy looking properties. In addition, I have found the city uses virtually no logic or practicality in determining property value price.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 3 months ago

All rental units should be subject to rules set forth through rental registration. Is a red tagged furnace still in use? Faulty plumbing? Faulty Wiring?

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.

Perhaps protesting property owners do not want to spend money bringing units up to code? It certainly cannot be the cost of the program at the rate of about $1.25 per month.

Shouldn’t “neighborhood single family dwellings” provide enough off street parking to meet demand as many business operations are required to do? We know rental units can create monster parking problems.

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

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. All fees in these communities are way more.

Performance Audit: Rental Housing Licensing Program – February 2012 can be procured through City Hall. A ton of information. http://www.lawrenceks.org/assets/agendas/cc/2012/02-28-12/auditor_performance_audit_rental_housign_program.pdf

Tenants check out Code Enforcement. http://www.lawrenceks.org/pds/code_enforcement

Richard Heckler 4 years, 3 months ago

Are rental properties singled out? I don't think so. I know of a person who was called in because of tall grass. Apparently upon inspection the city official noted that the house needed a paint job. Therefore the live in owner was required to paint the house which was accomplished. The yard is also mowed more frequently.

Matthew Herbert 4 years, 3 months ago

while they are at it, they should probably tell you which colors to paint YOUR house. And perhaps, which carpeting you should use. Perhaps they'd like to comment on the model of garage door motor I install. Any other property rights you'd like to see given away to big brother?

Beator 4 years, 3 months ago

Since people in government are in control of rentals, will they collect late rent from Tenants as well?

Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 3 months ago

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the new owners of Campus View apartments at 24th and Ridge Court for completely redoing the buildings. Now, they look really nice. Great job, guys!

Now, about the property to the South of there....

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