New bill could make landlords inspect rental properties more often


    Landlords in Omaha could be facing a new inspection program; a bill passed out of committee this week in Lincoln that would require property owners to register with the city and have their rentals inspected once every three years.

    If this bill passes, it'd be a universal system for every landlord in Omaha. One of the reasons this idea sparked is because of the Yale Park Apartments, where more than 2,000 violations were found.

    "Why are we forcing people to have inspections that don't want them?" asked John Chatelain.

    John Chatelain, President of the Metropolitan Omaha Property Owners Association didn't think treating every landlord in the city the same will work.

    A bill in the unicameral would make landlords inspect residences once every three year and would also be required to register.

    "There is an argument to be made about tenants, aren't very clean, but that's not the problem," said Mark Vondrasek.

    Mark Vondrasek heads up the Omaha Tenants United, a group advocating for renters’ rights. Vondrasek said landlords need to be held accountable before things get as bad as they did at Yale Park.

    "We had one bad situation at the Yale Park Aprtments where the city, quite frankly, didn't follow their own rules."

    Chatelain said this idea to regulate was already in the works before Yale Park Apartments shut down. He said the bill would require everyone in the city to be inspected and could include registration frees; which would likely get passed onto renters.

    "There's a cost for you to take time off to be there for the inspections and when it's not even necessary," said Chatelain.

    But for mark, he believed this is the start to a better outcome.

    "It's mandatory regular inspections, it's less likely that apartments will become dilapidated over time. even if someone is living in it and not taking care of it very well."

    Chatelain said this system has also been used in Council Bluffs and La Vista. If you do wish to have your apartment inspected, the city code inspector can come inspect your property.

    The bill will be discussed further this week.

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