Cedar Rapids looking for input on rental housing code changes

New sections will cover background checks, training class requirements

Rick Smith
Published: January 4 2013 | 10:01 am - Updated: 28 March 2014 | 9:33 am in

Landlords and tenants both should find a City Hall-sponsored forum next Wednesday evening useful, as the city prepares to amend its existing rental housing code.

Landlords, not tenants, usually turn out to make comments to city officials.

The code amendments specifically under review will require landlords to conduct background checks on tenants. In that regard, city officials have proposed offering a service for a fee to help landlords make criminal background checks.

In addition, the city is looking to require landlords to attend periodic training classes. The city also wants input on the frequency of city inspections of rental properties and the size of inspection fees.

The public-comment session will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the council chambers at City Hall, 101 First St. SE.

The city’s rental housing code, Chapter 29 of the city’s Municipal Code, is being amended in tandem with a new Chapter 22A of the code to address nuisance properties.

The City Council voted unanimously last month to adopt Chapter 22A over the objections of some landlords. The council must vote two more times on Chapter 22A. The chapter establishes a mechanism for tracking calls for city services at specific properties — services from police calls to zoning and housing code violations. At some point, a property can be labeled a nuisance, which will confront the owner with city fees and the need to develop a plan to remedy the nuisance.

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