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Rental inspection program in KCMO would go after bad landlords

Posted at 10:04 PM, Jul 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-30 23:12:45-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Next Tuesday, Kansas City voters will find a measure on their ballot for a proposed rental inspection program.

The goal is to go after landlords of properties with a lot of issues, some of which could be making children sick. 

Mold is one of the problems that Veronica Johnson has dealt with for more than decade at her Northland apartment.

"And so for what we can do we will try to spray bleach on everything but it comes back even stronger and stronger," Johnson said.

The situation isn't better at her sister's apartment in the neighboring building.

"Everything in here smelled like mold. I had to throw clothes away I had to throw my furniture away because of water leaks and mold everywhere," Tonisha Green, Johnson's sister said.

Green said the mold has caused issues for her six-year-old son.

"This is a steroid medicine," Green explained. "I have to give four puffs of this every day."

"We've got kids that are on higher level of dosages for asthma or steroid medicine than what I would ever want to take as an adult for asthma," Dr. Rex Archer, Director of the Kansas City, Missouri Health Department said.

But a proposed ordinance under the health department looks to change that.

It would charge landlords $20 annually for every unit they rent.

That money, in turn, would go to hire inspectors to check out complaints from tenants.



"There's no cost of the good landlords because if we get a complaint and they go out and there's not a problem or we get a random number call up where we going inspect that property and there's no problem there's no charge for that first inspection," Archer said.

But some landlords say it's just another layer of unnecessary bureaucracy.

"So instead of blanketing the whole city and the good landlords with this ordinance why add the extra red tape?" Stacey Johnson-Cosby, a real estate agent and landlord said. "They can actually go after them and enforce the codes that exist on the books today to get those bad landlords out of business."

If the measure passes, the program would report to an oversight committee made up of landlords and tenants.

"A lot of these issues that are the biggest concerns aren't cosmetic, it's real health issues," Dr. Archer said.