Cedar Rapids will fine owners of "nuisance properties" - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Rapids will fine owners of "nuisance properties"

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

Robin Tucker is a realtor and property manager in Cedar Rapids.  As someone in charge of many homes in the city, he's not happy the city council adopted a new code Tuesday that will define a home with multiple small offenses as a nuisance property.

"A lot of it is due to the behavior of people," said Tucker.  "But to stigmatize the property specifically...that is kind of new territory."

Under the code a building can be defined a nuisance property if a major crime happens inside.  It also prohibits trash in yards or repeated complaints of loud parties.  After three strikes the property owner, whether it be a landlord, homeowner, or businessman, will have to pay to cover city services, like a staffer removing trash or a police officer asking to turn down the music.

"Everyone in our community deserves quiet enjoyment of their property so it protects peoples' property rights," said Monica Vernon, Cedar Rapids City Council.   "It does so by asking everyone to take care of their property."

The city council says they've been drafting this ordinance for about a year and that they worked with landlords to create it.

"In every neighborhood in our community we have situations like this," said Vernon. "This ordinance helps us clean up our community."

For Tucker, the new code leaves a lot of unanswered questions.

"There's a lot of uncertainty to it," said Tucker.

The city council says property owners will have warnings before any fees are charged.

Now the Cedar Rapids City Council is looking to improve rental housing.  They're holding a public forum Wednesday night to talk about new possible changes to another city code, including mandatory background checks and landlord training.

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