Osawatomie City Manager Mike Scanlon tells the audience at a public meeting in September 2020 that cleaning up the community, including rental properties, is at the top of the city’s list of improvement projects. City staff and a Committee of Landlords worked together to establish the Healthy Rental Homes program as a result.

OSAWATOMIE — The Osawatomie community now has a licensing and regulation program to cover residential rental dwellings within the city.

The City Council on Thursday, Dec. 9, approved an ordinance establishing the Healthy Rental Homes program. A Committee of Landlords and city staff collaborated on the initiative that has been more than a year in the making.

City officials and landlord committee members agreed a licensing and external inspection program was a way the city can safeguard its interests in protecting the “life, safety, general welfare and health,” as well as help landlords protect residential properties and their appraised values.

The Healthy Rental Homes inspection program establishes minimum health and safety standards for residential rental property units which cover such items as basic utilities and facilities, ventilation and heating, fire safety and sanitary maintenance of all rental properties.

The program provides for the registration and permitting for certain rental properties and provides for administration and enforcement, according to the ordinance.

The ordinance also states it’s not the intention of the city to intrude upon contractual relationships between tenants and landlords. The city also will not intervene as an advocate of either party nor act as an arbiter. The ordinance also indicates the city will not hear complaints by landlord or tenant that do not “clearly relate to the provisions of this article or other city ordinances.”

City Manager Mike Scanlon first introduced the idea for a landlord licensing and rental property inspections plan during a public meeting in September 2020. Scanlon said cleaning up the community is at the top of the city’s list of goals.

Based on landlord feedback separately and during the public meeting, Scanlon agreed a Committee of Landlords should be established in which landlords themselves pick who would serve on the committee and come up with an inspection check list.

Ed Beaudry, the city’s community development director, presented the proposed ordinance representing the culmination of that work to the City Council at Thursday’s meeting. Ron Dowd, chairman of the Committee of Landlords, was at the meeting to answer questions. A few other landlords also were in the audience.

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