Interior Rental Inspctions on the August 7th Ballot in Kansas Cit

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This is important, sorry for the links but can't see any other way to get the message across.  Any person who invests in real estate in Kansas City needs to know this information.

There is a new ordinance for Kansas City Missouri regarding licensing and interior inspections of rental property in Kansas City Missouri that will be on the ballot August 7th.. Several Landlords Groups including Landlords Inc. and Landlords of Eastern Jackson County plus several concerned Landlords and Realtors as well as the Apartment Association have been working to get the details and mount a campaign against the ordinance.

To view the ordinance Click Here

To view our set of Talking Points and FAQ’s Click Here

We need your help:

Landlords Inc published an article in their newsletter as well as voter registration forms that you can access through this link here.

Landlords Inc will be accepting contributions to help pay for the campaign to defeat the rental inspection initiative.

If you live in KCMO: You must make sure that you are registered to vote by July 11th, 2018. Encourage anyone you know that lives in Kansas City, Missouri to register as well. And please like and share our posts on social media to spread the word.

Here are some high-level talking points about this ordinance that you can use to communicate with your tenants and fellow landlords.

Rents Will Go Up

This ordinance will hurt affordable housing in Kansas City. Landlords will need to raise rents at least $15-$20 per month per property to cover the $20 annual fee and $150 inspection fee. Additional increases will be required if extensive repairs are required by the Health Department. If landlords elect not to make the repairs the tenants will be forced out of their homes.

Duplication of Regulations

This ordinance is a duplication of existing laws. KCMO currently has a structure in place through the Codes Department to allow tenants to ask inspectors to view rental properties. The inspectors can cite landlords and force them to make repairs. Simply educating tenants and landlords on the current process would accomplish the same thing as the ordinance at little or no cost.

Invasion of Privacy

This ordinance is a discriminatory invasion of privacy. The health department will send government inspectors into tenants’ homes. If a tenant refuses, the city can obtain a warrant and force the tenant to allow them in. Only tenants are subject to this invasion – homeowners do not have to have their homes inspected for health issues.

Makes the Landlords Job Harder

This ordinance interferes in the relationship between landlords and tenants. There is language in the ordinance that prohibits a landlord from evicting, raising rent or declining to renew a lease once an inspection has been done. A tenant who wants to stay in a property indefinitely at the current rent could theoretically schedule an inspection and freeze their rent and lease. This would lead to fewer landlords and higher rents.

Please take the time to register to vote and to educate your tenants. There is expected to be low voter turn out for the August election, so only a few votes could make the difference.

Yes, and we need to be ready.  We should have a few people dealing with this issue at the Marriott meeting tonight.

#KansasCity

They make you register rentals in Overland Park pay a fee every  year and inspections  every so often .

So much for that 4th amendment...

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides that "[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Some points to consider...

1. Please re-read the articles for the ballot initiative.  The fees are $20 permit application, $20 for the inspection, and $150 for a RE-inspection if you fail the first one.  

2. Renters are already subject to inspection of the property by landlord according to their lease agreements, right?  Most times, you just have to give them 24 hrs notice.  You, or your PM, will schedule the inspections with the city inspectors and give the tenants their 24 hr notice.  For new leases, you write in the permission for the inspections as well.

3. This is clearly an anti-slumlord ordinance.  If you are a good landlord, higher a good PM and fill your properties with good tenants, you should have nothing to worry about.  

It's obvious this is something that will be an inconvenience and you'll write your leases in a way that protects you from having a tenant trash the place to make it look like you're not maintaining the property.  The fees get passed on to the tenant and it's all done.  

If this initiative gets on the ballot and is voted in, then it's chosen by the people as a method of ensuring they have better quality homes to rent.  I don't see how any 4th amendment argument would apply.

Nathan, what is proposed right now seems just like a nuisance.  

But some points:

Included in this is the director of the program who can determine raising fees, the time frame for random inspections and more.

How this would be a 4th amendment issue is if the random inspection or other inspection from someone's complaint - not the tenants.  So the city wants in to do an inspection, this is a government person, NOT YOU THE LANDLORD, the tenant refuses to let them in, their right under the 4th amendment.  No inspection, you lose your rental license because of lack of inspection, and now you either operate your rental illegally or evict the tenant for refusing to let a government official in their house.

And this was shot down by the Kansas City Missouri City council for many of these unknown questions and because tenants and landlords have been suing cities across the country for similar laws and winning.  But there is an organization that got this put on the ballot for August 7th through a petition drive.

Billy, there is a state law in Kansas that says the city cannot force a tenant to be inspected.  They can have interior inspections, but if the tenant refuses to let the government inspector into their home, the city cannot withhold your rental license or force their way into the unit.  We have been attempting to get a similar law passed in MO and got it past the House in 2017 and 2018, but not through the Senate and into law. So in Overland Park, if your tenant refuses the inspection, the city cannot do it without a warrant.

And by the way, in Kansas City Missouri - you already have to register every rental and vacant property with the city or face a fine for failure to do so.  And at this time should a tenant ever have an issue with the interior of their rental home due to the landlord not fixing things, they can invite a city codes inspector in to inspect, - so why do we need a new ordinance.

Originally posted by @Nathan Hayes :

Some points to consider...

1. Please re-read the articles for the ballot initiative.  The fees are $20 permit application, $20 for the inspection, and $150 for a RE-inspection if you fail the first one.  

2. Renters are already subject to inspection of the property by landlord according to their lease agreements, right?  Most times, you just have to give them 24 hrs notice.  You, or your PM, will schedule the inspections with the city inspectors and give the tenants their 24 hr notice.  For new leases, you write in the permission for the inspections as well.

3. This is clearly an anti-slumlord ordinance.  If you are a good landlord, higher a good PM and fill your properties with good tenants, you should have nothing to worry about.  

It's obvious this is something that will be an inconvenience and you'll write your leases in a way that protects you from having a tenant trash the place to make it look like you're not maintaining the property.  The fees get passed on to the tenant and it's all done.  

If this initiative gets on the ballot and is voted in, then it's chosen by the people as a method of ensuring they have better quality homes to rent.  I don't see how any 4th amendment argument would apply.

 I as a landlord am a private individual, not the government.... so an inspection of my property by me (the owner) is reasonable. Why does the government have to inspect my property for me, without me or tenants requesting it?

Because that's what the proposed ordinance says in Kansas City Missouri. . . 

In Independence Missouri you have no choice, all rentals must be inspected with or without your consent or that of the tenant - or according to Independence city council evict the tenant if they will not let the government mandated inspector in the home - although you also actually have to hire the mandated inspector and pay them too in Independence.

Originally posted by @Kim Tucker :

Because that's what the proposed ordinance says in Kansas City Missouri. . . 

In Independence Missouri you have no choice, all rentals must be inspected with or without your consent or that of the tenant - or according to Independence city council evict the tenant if they will not let the government mandated inspector in the home - although you also actually have to hire the mandated inspector and pay them too in Independence.

 I've skipped over Independence partly because of this...

It may be something most of us dislike, I among nearly all of you have heartburn over it. BUT the ordinance in independence is extremely easy to pass. There is an exemption to nearly everything and they’re truly only looking for slumlords.

One of the bigger issues with the Independence version is mandating who you use to inspect. Someone will challenge it and I believe win in court. As for the 4th amendment issues, there is case law in place that says they can’t force a tenant to let them in. The tenant has a reasonable expectation of privacy...I would love to see an affidavit for a search warrant related to a rental inspection.

Several landlords are having their tenants sign a document that says the inspector can't come in and turn that into the city in place of the inspection.  So far they were able to get their license/registration anyway.

Just another "tax" aimed to get money from the "rich real estate investor" when in reality it will simply hurt the renters.