Real Estate Articles

2016.09.07 Rental Ready Passed at the City Council Meeting Last Night | By: Independence Rent Ready

At the September 6th, 2016 Independence City Council Meeting the proposed Rental Ready ordinace requiring Landlords to hire a qualified inspector to inspect all of their rental houses or 10% of their multi-family units every two years in order for them to obtain and keep a Landlord Business Licensing in the city of Independence passed with only one dissenting vote.

The council did suspend rules to allow all who were residents of Independence to speak on the matter, but did not allow expert testimony from anyone not residing in Independence.

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Some of the key points brought by those presenting included:

1.  Finding a qualified inspector who will do minimal inspections for $50.
2.  The cost of paying the inspector for the intial and potentail reinspection.
3.  The cost of the landlord or landlord representative going to the inspections.
4.  The time and cost to the tenant to take off work to be present.
5.  The fact that many of the items on the inspection list being tenant cleaning issues, not a landlord responsibility.
6.  Why single out the landlord and not hold other owner occupied property owners to the same standards.
7.  The biggest factor that the city would be using the landlord as a way to skirt around the tenant's 4th Amendment Rights provided by the Constitution.

During the Q & A portion when council members asked questions, some key items came up:

Question:  So there are other ordinances and rules that are available to tenants and neighbors to file complaint about run down or trashy houses, with out this new ordinance.  Answer - YES.

Question:  If the tenant will not allow the landlord to enter the property for an inspection what is the landlord supposed to do.  Answer - that is a landlord problem and the landlord has the right to enter their property anytime they would like.  The landlord would have to deal with it.  Thoughts - We are unsure by what they meant by the landlord would have to deal with it - is the landlord supposed to physically force their way in or maybe evict the tenant for not letting them in for inspection?

Some comments that came from the city officials that were interesting to say the least.  Here are some of the comments in my words.

The law is intended to go after the "low end" "bad" landlord, but they can't write an ordinance specifically targeting bad landlords so they are writing the ordinance to go after all landlords.

The citizen satisfaction survey showed that 30% of the citizens surveyed were unhappy with the rental properties in their city.  I would ask, how do they know they are rental properties . . . if they drove down the street would the rental properties be the ones that are run down?

So what is next?  Well the ordinace will go into active duty June of 2017, so the city can assemble this list of "qualified inspectors" who will work for $50.  Maybe they will not find enough and give up, but I am sure there are quite a few really bad inspectors that are not busy making good money doing real inspections, that will agree to work for the $50.

Next as much of the problems they will be inspecting for will be tenant issues, I would suggest that all landlords put together a campaign to their tenants explaining what is happening and ask them to clean up their properties, to make sure they don't have any bugs or overloaded extension cords running everywhere, that they don't stack stuff around the furnace and hot water heater, etc.  

Explain to them that the 4th Amendment gives the rights to not be inspected without their consent, but that the city is using you to get around the 4th Amendment.  That they will need to take time off work to be home duing business hours so that you and the inspector can walk through their entire home and inspect and that if it does not pass the checklist, they, the tenant will have to take care of the problems or make their home available to you so you can fix the problems.  And that they would then need to take another day off work for another inspection.

In the mean time there is a core group of Landlords who are not going to go down without a fight, because if they do, other cities in the meto and the state will follow suit.

There is talk of forming a state coalition of all Landlord and Investor and Apartment and Realtor groups.  To raise enough funds to hire a lobbiest to introduce legislation to the effect that cities in MO cannot mandate inspections of tenants homes with out the consent of the tenant.  This is a law that was passed in Kansas last year and the lobbiest for The Associated Landlords of Kansas is more than willing to consult with a MO Lobbiest.

Some groups that we would like see take part include:

  • Landlords of Eastern Jackson County
  • Landlords Inc (KCMO)
  • Landlords Inc of Kansas City Kansas
  • Cass County Landlords
  • Missouri Apartment Owners Association
  • Heartland Apartment Owners Association
  • Landlord Legal Fund (took on KCMO Water Dept)
  • Mid-America Association of Real Estate Investors
  • RE Investor Group (Springfield Branson)
  • Holly Hills Landlord Association (St Louis)
  • Oran Rental Housing
  • Southside Landlord Association of St Louis
  • Soutwest Missouri Rental Association
  • Springfield Apartment & Housing Association
  • St Louis Apartment Association
  • St Louis Real Estate Investor Association
  • St Louis Area Housing Providers Association
  • Missouri Association of Realtors
  • Mid-Mo PREIMA
  • St Louis Investment Property Association
  • The SouthSide Investment Club
  • Sedalia Landlord's Association
  • Other - do you know of a landlord or investor group in MO who we should contact?
We have had many people express an interest in helping DO SOMETHING - not sure what that is going to be as of yet, but if you would like to volunteer to do something we are collecting names and contact information. Please Click Here.

Submitting your name and contact to the list is a committment to do something and will get you notified of what things need to be done and when there are meetings and events to attend and keep you updated of what is going on.

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