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Grandview Council eyes new rental inspection program

GRANDVIEW - City of Grandview officials are considering a program that would closely monitor rental units.

Mitch Nickolds, inspection service manager for the city of Pasco, was on hand at last night's Grandview City Council meeting to discuss Pasco's rental inspection program, something the council is interested in.

The rental inspection program in Pasco allows the city to inspect all rental units to ensure they are livable and up to city code.

Nickolds said in Pasco all property owners who wish to rent out housing must complete a rental dwelling license application once a year. The license costs $30 for the first unit and $3 for each additional unit. For example, if a person had a duplex they wanted to rent, it would cost $33 for the license.

This fee also includes the costs for inspections the city does on each unit once every two years.

Nickolds said when Pasco first implemented this program in 1997, there was some resistance at first. However, once the program was put in place he said the city saw a large turnover in rental ownership because of the improvements and upgrades some rental units needed.

Because all rental units had to meet the same requirements, this resulted in landlords charging similar rental fees, Nickolds said. This, he believes, increased the number of quality renters.

In Pasco, inspectors have found homes with no heat, tenants raising chickens in portions of the house, inoperable plumbing, piles of uncollected garbage inside the homes, as well as dangerous, illegal electrical hook-ups.

Some of the rentals were in such bad shape most families would not consider renting or purchasing such homes. Nickolds said these homes are a danger to the tenants who live in them and reduce the ability of neighboring property owners to sell or rent their homes at fair prices.

The program compels all landlords to properly maintain their properties at the minimum housing quality standards.

The program can also protect the property owner. Nickolds said some owners don't visit the rental units for years and have no idea of what kind of damage has been done. If the tenant is not keeping up the property, it will make it easier to get them out, he said.

The council thanked Nickolds for his time and is planning to take a closer look at this. Grandview Public Works Director Cus Arteaga will prepare a report detailing the number of rentals in Grandview. The council also indicated it wants to work with the landlords in Grandview and have them involved with this program from the start.

A public hearing will be held before any decision is made.

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