Landlords, city officials demand new standard for rental units - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Landlords, city officials demand new standard for rental units in Waterloo


When it boils down to it, city officials and landlords have the same goal: to have good rental properties with good tenants.

What they can't seem to figure out is how to get there.

City officials estimate Waterloo has more than 8,000 rental units, but when it comes to code enforcement, things get tricky.

"You have to be responsible to some extent for your property, but truly you should not be able to fine me for the neglect of somebody else," said Mark Pregler, who manages more than 50 properties. "It's not fair."

Waterloo Code Enforcement admits it has no choice but to issue fines, at times, to property owners because it doesn't have tenant information available.

"We have no idea who lives in what building, and obviously, I mean, you have tenants that stay for awhile and tenants who move every 30 days," said code enforcement officer Maria Tiller.

Building official Craig Clark has drafted an ordinance that includes a licensing requirement for landlords as well as a $25 registration fee for all rental property units each year.

According to Clark, the $25 registration fee would help cover costs of a computer software program that would assist code enforcement in understanding who tenants are when it comes to issuing code violations.

Additionally, he said the annual fee would help cover inspections that are required once every three years.

Clark also proposed inspection procedure changes to include smoke alarms in every bedroom and on every story of the dwelling, as well as carbon monoxide detectors in every rental unit.

Pregler said the proposed ordinance needs approval from city council members before it would be implemented.

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