Columbia City Council to vote on inspection certificates

Friday, April 15, 2011 | 7:01 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — The City Council will vote Monday on whether inspection certificates should be transferred to the new owner when rental properties are sold.

When a rental property is sold under the current ordinance, the Certificate of Compliance cannot be transferred to the new owner, and a new inspection is required, regardless of how long it had been since the last inspection, Leigh Britt, manager of Neighborhood Services, said.

The certificate is good for three years but can last up to six years if there are no complaints on the property, Britt said. 

The council passed the current ordinance in January when the city faced problems with over-occupancy in rental properties. 

Rhonda Carlson, a member of the Columbia Board of Realtors, said she is concerned about the possible problems with the current system.

"The day you sell (the property), it is no longer legal for the residents to live there," Carlson said.

The proposed ordinance would allow the Certificate of Compliance to be transferred to a new owner if the last inspection was within 90 days. An alternative proposal would change the time frame from 90 days to 18 months.

"We think 18 months is more reasonable," Carlson said.

Within the last year, there were 20 transactions in which rental properties were sold, Britt said.

"It's not an issue that we expect to affect a lot of people," Britt said.

The goal of the new ordinance is to provide more continuity in property transfers, which would give prospective buyers more security and eliminate some of the paper work that the city would have to fill out, Carlson said.

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