Independence Rental Ready Program requires property inspections

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. - A new ordinance is in effect in the City of Independence requiring landlords to have their properties inspected before being able to rent them out.

Independence, Missouri is following the lead of other cities by creating the Rental Ready Program, making sure residential properties are up to par.

"It is a part of the overall council's strategy to improve the quality of life, while maintaining safe and desirable neighborhoods," Tom Scannell, Community Development Director for the City of Independence, said.

The ordinance was adopted in September 2016 and went into effect on June 1, 2017. 

The city said at first, property owners were concerned about the new requirements.

"As we talked to them and explained to them the program, they saw the benefit of the program and really liked that all landlords would be held to the same standards," Scannell said. 

The City of Independence said that before the Rental Ready Program was put in place, the city was receiving about 60 complaints per year when it comes to residential housing.

"The city has a regular citizens survey and the last survey that was done in 2016 pointed out that the quality of rental property in Independence needed to improve," Scannell said.

With the new required inspections, properties will have to be licensed and pass a basic health and safety inspection every two years.

Scannell said, "We wanted to cover items that were a health and safety concern to residents."

There are five inspection items that have to be passed.

"All handrails are secure, the property is hooked up to a sanitary sewer system as well as having the address posted out front," Scannell said. 

Smoke detectors also have to be functioning and all electrical wiring must be covered properly.

One Independence renter said although he’s never had an issue at a property, he feels looking for his next will be easy.  

"Knowing that there is this inspection list that has to be checked, it makes me feel a lot better about moving into my next apartment know that it's going to be safe to live in," Independence renter Bob Gowen said.

The City of Overland Park will be the next city to put a rental program in place. It will take effect on July 1, 2017.

The City of Independence said it will continue to evaluate the Rental Ready Program and make adjustments where they see fit. 

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