IREM KC would like to make our members aware of a proposed ordinance that will be on the Special Election Ballot on August 7. Referred to as Question 1, this ordinance will enact a rental licensing program to be overseen by the Kansas City Health Department.
- KCMO already has a substantial affordable housing problem. The costs of this program (the extent of which are currently unknown) will be passed along to the tenants, increasing monthly rents and making housing even less affordable for many.
- The passage of Question 1, left unchecked, will allow government officials to enter and inspect rental property without a warrant — this is a violation of the 4th Amendment and denies “due process” and “equal protection” under the 14th Amendment. Under the Constitution, renters possess the same rights to privacy as homeowners, and with respect to taxpayer supported health and safety minimum standards, in this instance homeowners are held to a lower standard than rental property owners.
- Renters currently have the ability to request inspections of rental properties by the KCMO health department and codes department inspectors — additional expense and unenforceable regulation changes nothing, and only serves to discourage re-investment in KC’s aging housing stock.
- KCMO already has substantial health, safety and property maintenance codes on the books to address the concerns that this ordinance claims to resolve. Kansas City officials simply choose not to enforce existing laws against non-compliant landlords, because accountable enforcement could ultimately cause the City to assume responsibility for numerous derelict properties, as well as for identifying alternative housing for a significant number of displaced residents.
A synopsis of this ordinance is as follows:
- A fee of $20 per rental unit is due at the time of submission for a permit.
- A unit may not be offered if the fee is not paid.
- It is a complaint based system. If someone calls to complain, the city can come and inspect.
- If they find a violation, a $150 per unit re-inspection fee will be assessed.
- The fees can increase at the will of the Health Department in line with CPI indexing.
- If a permit lapses, there is a $300 reinstatement fee per unit.
- The health department is given full authority to formulate the rules and regulations regarding implementation of the ordinance.
- If a complaint is made, inspection must be granted. A complaint can be made by anyone on anyone, and the affected unit would receive a five day notice of said inspection.
- The Director of Health will also establish rules for random inspections of the permitted units, and will also establish rules for random inspection of properties where there are offenses.
- We all must comply with the inspections if scheduled.
*If you have questions about Question 1 or want to learn more, please contact Sam Alpert with Heartland Apartment Association at 816-561-9958.