Changes to Sikeston inspections of rental houses are proposed

Friday, July 5, 2019

SIKESTON — Those who own rental property may soon see changes to the inspection of rental houses in Sikeston.

Code enforcement recently presented the changes at a study session with many landlords in attendance. The changes to the rental ordinance will be brought before city council for a first reading at the July 29 meeting.

The changes have been needed for a long time, said Lorenzo Ware, Sikeston code official and city planner.

“All government policy should be reviewed at least every five years,” Ware said. “The rental ordinance, for example, had not been reviewed since its inception in the mid-1990s.”

Ware said the original ordinance was virtually impossible to accomplish with staffing during the 1990s, and even with increased staffing in 2019 it could probably not be accomplished.

“Within the first three months of 2019, the staff of six code officers conducted over 700 rental inspections,” Ware said.

There were several modifications to the ordinance, one of which was eliminating the tenancy application and accompanying fee. If approved by the Sikeston City Council, the new fee structure would be a $50-annual fee for 1-25 units and a $100-annual fee for 26 or more units.

Also inspections would be quinquennial (5-year) instead of the current biennial (2-year) inspections.

Another change is the requirement to provide the Sikeston Board of Municipal Utilities with certificates of occupancy has been removed, and interior and exterior inspections will be performed simultaneously.

Ware said there has been very little negative feedback from landlords after the changes were explained in the study session.

“I believe the changes will have a lasting and positive impact on our rental community,” Ware said. “Also the changes will allow the Code Enforcement Department to protect Sikeston’s rental community from health and safety-related issues while working with the landlords to provide the best housing possible.”

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