Roeland Park begins moving toward mandatory rental housing inspections

Boulevard Apartments
Boulevard Apartments account for all of the multi-family rentals in Roeland Park.

Roeland Park is moving ahead with a program to begin mandatory interior inspections of rental properties in the city.

Although a new ordinance has not yet come before the council, members began to reach some consensus this week on the principles that will be part of a new program. The suggestion is to inspect single-family homes and duplexes on the same four-year cycle as multi-family units. Currently, only an annual exterior inspection is done on rental properties.

The city’s entire stock of multi-family housing is in the Boulevard Apartments. The city has 400 multi-family units and 280 single-family houses. The original proposal brought to the council was to continue the exterior inspection each year and an interior inspection every other year for single-family houses and interior inspection of 80 units per year at Boulevard. That would have put the apartments on a five-year rotation.

Mayor Joel Marquardt suggested changing the interior inspection cycle to every four years for both types of rentals. Landlords or tenants also can request an inspection under the proposal. A voluntary request for inspection would reset the clock on the next mandatory inspection for single-family residence. The city collects a rental licensing fee of $75 for single family and $33.75 for apartments that supports the salaries of the two members of the neighborhood services team.

Councilor Sheri McNeil questioned parts of the program during the discussion. “I see this as kind of intrusive. I just don’t like the idea of mandatory.” The question had been raised about rental tenants who refused to allow entrance for the inspection. The council was told by the city attorney that it could obtain administrative search warrants to enter the property and such warrants had been issued previously.

The rental inspection had been the topic at a community forum this fall.