Omaha State Senator Justin Wayne plans to introduce a housing inspection bill in January that would require cities to follow their own inspection enforcement codes regarding rental property. He wants to make those inspections a requirement.
Senator Wayne’s bill would require that all rental properties be inspected once every three years and it would create a landlord registry.
This follows the closing of the Yale Park Apartments last month in north Omaha. Inspectors found over 2,000 code violations ranging from bugs and rodents to faulty wiring and gas leaks.
Senator Wayne says, “We have to figure out a way that we can’t say that now this rental property owner has 2,000 violations. Those didn’t occur overnight. Let’s be honest about it. We’ve been asleep at the wheel and haven’t done our job.”
Omaha city inspection policy now is complaint driven. Senator Wayne says the problem with complaint-based systems is you have to prioritize your complaints. If you don’t have enough funding or people to do the jobs minor problems become major ones down the road.
The bill would only impact the city of Omaha. City officials are also looking at revamping their inspection codes.