Sound Off

Sound Off: Is there an agency that acts as an advocate for renters who have moved into dwellings that have safety and code issues that property owners aren’t cooperative in fixing?

The city of Lawrence does not provide mediation for landlord/tenant issues, but it does refer questions to Housing and Credit Counseling Inc., a nonprofit company in Topeka, Lawrence and Manhattan. Their website is and can be reached by telephone at (785) 749-4224.


Cant_have_it_both_ways 1 year, 7 months ago

Let me see if I understand. You, the renter choose a place to live based on cost per month, move in, THEN, demand your landlord upgrades their house to your specifications. If the landlord doesn't then you whine to the city, or anyone else that will listen because of your choice to live there. Gawd, I am so glad I sold all of mine.


JackMcKee 1 year, 7 months ago

It's called a lawyer. Call Boog. He's got some sliding scale thing. If he loses he only charges you half.


Kat Christian 1 year, 7 months ago

I advise anyone complaining to your Landlord of ANY issue to do so in "writing" and keep a copy (create a paper file), especially on issues of repair and safety hazards, but not inclusive of them. Even if you only need a key for your door - do so in writing - Always. When you need to take a issue further to contact authorities do so again in writing and include copies of the letter(s) written to your Landlord for verification. Also require your Landlord to answer in kind, if they don't whatever verbal comment they reply will not be upheld in court Only written response and/or their action (or lack thereof) will serve as proof. When you have a repair or safety issue needing attention and the 1st letter did not stir a response wait one week then request action again, but add your intention to take further action. Usually that stirs action, if not then take the further action as stated above. And keep climbing the ladder of authority until you get the response you expect. Never give up. But at the same time you need to be a respectful caretaker of the property you are renting.


cornflakegirl 1 year, 7 months ago

HCCI provides advocacy, like the questions asks.

Codes Enforcement provides just that... enforcement.

HCCI has a wealth of knowledge and will refer the renter to Codes if other means of solving the problem fall though.

Both HCCI and Codes Enforcement are great agencies with amazing staff!


Richard Heckler 1 year, 7 months ago

Or consider submitting the address for a Demolition by Neglect investigation.

Old heating systems may be candidates for the Red Tag from the natural gas company.

Perhaps a neighborhood association can help with code violations.


LFKFTW 1 year, 7 months ago

If the code issues are bad enough and the landlord is being uncooperative, you can always invite the FIre Department over. They can either force your landlord to address the issues or simply have the place condemned, allowing you to get out of your lease. I know people that have done this in the past because of bad landlords. This doesn't sound like a place where you should continue living.


Benjamin Roberts 1 year, 7 months ago

Perhaps the question was written by a new student that is used to having his/her parents advocate for them. So, the answer by Sound Off may be correct. They provided contact information where the student can connect with an adult to handle the problem.

Yet, it still seems that the question would have been better answered thus:

The City of Lawrence has a building code ( and is responsible for its enforcement. Violations of the code should be reported to Code Enforcement Department at (785) 832-7700 or to Treni Westcott, Code Enforcement Officer via email,

Violations may also be reported using this online form: .


grammaddy 1 year, 7 months ago

Some issues can be taken up with the Health Dept.


woodscolt 1 year, 7 months ago

The city of Lawrence does not provide mediation for landlord/tenant issues,

This is simply a cop out by the city. The city is responsible for code enforcement and code violation. The Landlord Tenant Act is legal and binding and requires enforcement. To classify this as a "landlord tenant issue" is laughable but thats our civic leaders at work for you and your tax dollars. Thats why there are so many slumlords in this town. They will take advantage of college students that aren't really in a position to essentially pick a fight with them over the landlords criminal behavior.


irvan moore 1 year, 7 months ago

the city inspection program doesn't cover multifamily dwellings, just single family dwellings so leaves out the biggest part of the problem.


somebodynew 1 year, 7 months ago

Yeah, maybe I am reading this question wrong, but I am taking it as safety and code violations not just some disagreements. I thought that is what brought about the Inspection Program in the first place ??

I notice they didn't credit anyone (Meghan) with the answer but don't think they got the correct one. Anything related to safety and codes, I think, should be directed to Codes Enforcement in the City. But, as Squid says, that is just my 2 cents worth.


Seth Amott 1 year, 7 months ago

If there were actual Safety Code violations, i.e. Illegal, would that not be something that the city should be made aware of? It's not really a Tenant/Landlord issue, as much as a Landlord negligence issue. While the HCCI could probably help with it, it seems to me that it is an unnecessary step. Just my 2 cents.


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