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Commission to set groundwork for rental inspection program

A new committee will soon be in place to address the quality of rental property in St.Joseph.

Posted: Sep 4, 2018 6:26 PM

(St.Joseph,MO)A new committee will soon be in place to address the quality of rental property in St.Joseph.

Tuesday afternoon the Administrative Review Board met to discuss the formation of the Citizen’s Review Committee, a new ad-hoc committee tasked with creating a voluntary rental inspection program.

The 14 member committee will be comprised of all current members of the Administrative Violation Review Board as well as one member nominated by the mayor and each city council member.

Under the voluntary program, the committee will evaluate landlords on the quality and safety of their properties. Rental properties that pass inspection will be awarded a seal signifying they meet city standards.

Michael Grimm, Chair of the Administrative Violation Review Board, said the commission will keep the age of the buildings in mind when evaluating the structures.

“We have to try to put a program that will work in St.Joe that will work with old homes, as well as new ones,” Grimm said. “I think it's one that we have to try to model after someone else that has been successful with it.”

Grimm said the board will be welcoming the Chief Building Inspector from Lawrence,Kansas later this month to help brainstorm ideas for the new inspection program.

“It’s a difficult program to put together, because there are so many parts to it. We’re not just dealing with property maintenance issues,as we do with this board, but we are dealing with the structure itself, the yard, the electrical, the plumbing, the heating, the cooling.It’s a large area that we are going to try to work with,” Grimm said.

In addition to helping create the Citizen’s Review Committee,the Administrative Review Board will also be establishing a mandatory registry for all rental properties in St.Joseph. The registry will require all rental property owners to maintain a business licence and provide detailed information on where the rental property is, who owns the property and contact information for that landlord.

“We are one of the few cities that you can buy a property at 8 o’clock in the morning and by ten after 8 have a renter in it,” Grimm said. “There is no licensing, there is no registration, there is no business license [requirement], there is no inspection; you simply just move no matter how good or how bad the property is. You don’t have to do anything and you don’t have to tell anybody [you’re renting out the property], and I think that needs to change, we need some accountability.”

The city council will make their recommendations for the Citizen’s Review Committee on September 24.

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