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Rental Licensing/Inspections Program Passes After Five-Year Debate

Rental Licensing

Lawrence Journal World

The Lawrence City Commission in Lawrence, Kan. has barely passed a contentious licensing and inspections program that will subject every rental unit to inspection as well as require fees from property owners. The vote narrowly passed by a 3-2 margin, with implementation of the program delayed until July 2015.

Rental property owners attended commission meetings in large numbers to express displeasure with the proposal. Property owners contend that city commissioners were not adequately implementing the current inspection program which is limited to inspection of rentals in single-family zoned neighborhoods. Even  among the commissioners who voted to approve the program, there was hesitation, which resulted in the delayed implementation.

The program will:

  • Require essentially every landlord in the city to pay an annual license fee to the city, ranging from $14 to $17 per dwelling unit. 
  • Property owners will have 10 percent of their rental units subject to a city inspection every three years, at a fee of $50 per unit. If the units score highly enough, they will qualify for an incentive to be inspected every six years. 
  • Inspectors will be checking for a variety of violations related to the health and safety code.