Proposed changes to Columbia rental regulations up for public comment

Monday, July 9, 2012 | 3:57 p.m. CDT; updated 6:41 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 9, 2012

COLUMBIA — The Community Development Department is seeking input regarding rental fee changes and occupancy disclosure forms.

A public meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, July 17, in conference room 1A of the Daniel Boone Building. Two identical sessions will be held, one at 4 p.m. and another at 7 p.m., according to a city news release. 

The proposed changes to the fee structure are associated with the Rental Unit Conservation Law, which was put into place in 1978 as a series of inspections meant to protect health and safety in all housing that is leased or rented for residential purposes.

Changes include:

  • An eight-dollar increase in inspection fees, from $7 to $15 per unit.
  • A five-dollar increase in re-inspection fees, from $20 to $25 per unit.
  • A five-dollar increase in failure to meet inspector fees, from $15 to $20 per incident.

City staff will present the changes and invite public review during the meetings. Comments will be shared later with the Columbia City Council, according to the release.

In addition, staff members plan to open the floor on a potential occupancy disclosure system.

The move stems in part from a report the City Council received June 18 regarding over-occupancy. In the memo, community development staff highlighted two ways to better enforce rental regulations: neighborhood education and occupancy disclosure.

The latter suggestion would require all rental property owners to complete a form disclosing basic information about their tenants to be used in investigating over-occupancy cases or violation. Columbia's website cites examples from Colorado and Indiana as models.

According to the June 18 report, city staff wanted to gather input from stakeholders before implementing the form, "as it would create an additional administrative burden on rental property owners."

Supervising editor is Hannah Cushman.

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