Here is a Proposed Ordinance for Kansas City Missouri that will be a part of a Special Election on Tuesday, August 8th, 2017.
Article XVIII Healthy Rental Homes, establishing fees for residential rental housing inspections and permits to protect the public health and safety.
ORDINANCE NO. _____
Calling for submission to the voters of Kansas City, at a special election to be held Tuesday, August 8, 2017, a question authorizing the City to establish fees for residential rental housing inspections and permits; amending Chapter 34, Code of Ordinances, by enacting a new Article XVIII, Healthy Rental Homes, consisting of Sections 34-730 through 34-767, establishing a new system of residential rental property permitting, inspections and penalties for the primary purpose of protecting the public health and safety; and authorizing and directing the City Clerk to notify the responsible election authorities of this election.
BE IT ORDAINED BY THE COUNCIL OF KANSAS CITY:
Section 1. Special election called. That a special election is called and shall be held on Tuesday, August 8, 2017, for the purpose of submitting to the voters a question authorizing the City to establish fees for residential rental housing inspections and permits for the primary purpose of protecting the public health and safety.
Section 2. Delivery of Ordinance by City Clerk to Election Authorities. That the City Clerk shall deliver certified copies of this ordinance and notice of election to the Board of Election Commissioners of Kansas City, Missouri, Board of Election Commissioners of Clay County, Board of Election Commissioners of Platte County, and the County Clerk of Cass County, which shall be the authority of the respective election authorities of the City to submit these amendments to the electors of Kansas City as herein provided and to give public notice thereof as provided by law within one business day of the effective date of this ordinance.
Section 3. Election Notice. That the notice of election shall read as follows:
NOTICE OF ELECTION
CITY OF KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI
Notice is hereby given that the City of Kansas City has called an election to be held in said City on Tuesday, August 8, 2017, at which election all qualified voters residing within the City of Kansas City, Missouri will be given the opportunity to vote.
The official ballot will be in substantially the following form:
CITY OF KANSAS CITY
Shall the City of Kansas City be authorized to establish the following fees for permitting, inspecting and regulating residential rental property units for the primary purpose of protecting the public health and safety?
Application/Annual Review Fee. A fee of twenty ($20.00) dollars due at time of submission of the initial application for the permit and annually thereafter.
Permit Fees to operate (valid for three years) and re-inspection fees, based upon the number of rental units as follows:
Number of Rental Units Permit Fee Re-inspection fee Single Family Home $90 $75 2-3 Units $130 $75 for re-inspection visit
+ $50 for each unit that requires re-inspection
4-10 $170 11-20 $220 21-35 $270 36-70 $320 71-100 $370 101-300 $420 301-500 $470 501-1000 $550 1001-10000 $700
Reinstatement Fee of $300.00 for the reinstatement of any permits that have been suspended.
Late Fees of $15.00 per month for permit renewals not submitted within 30 days of due date.
Adjustment of Fees. Authority to adjust the above-listed fees annually to reflect the change in the consumer price index (CPI) for all items/all urban consumers/Kansas City, Missouri, published by the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. The City is also authorized to make cumulative adjustments for those years in which fees were not previously adjusted.
_____ YES _____ NO
[Instructions to voters will be supplied by the election authorities]
A full and complete copy of the ordinance submitting the above proposition to the electorate is on file in the office of the City Clerk of Kansas City, Missouri where it is open for inspection and copying.
The polling places for the election will be [insert list of polling places in last publication only].
I hereby certify that the foregoing is the legal notice to be published pursuant to Section 115.127, RSMo.
Given under my hand and the official seal of the City of Kansas City, Missouri, this _________ day of _______, 2017.
City Clerk, City of Kansas City, Missouri
Before me, a notary public, personally appeared Marilyn Sanders, to me known to be the City Clerk of the City of Kansas City, Missouri, and the person who acknowledged to me that she executed the same for the purposes therein stated.
My commission expires:___________________________
Section 4. Amendments to become part of the Code of Ordinances of Kansas City. If a majority of the voters favors the ballot question, the amendment to Chapter 34, Code of Ordinances of the City of Kansas City, Missouri, creating the new Article XVIII, contained herein shall become effective 90 days after passage by the voters, which amendment shall read as follows:
ARTICLE XVIII. HEALTHY RENTAL HOMES
DIVISION 1: PURPOSE AND INTENT OF ARTICLE; DEFINITIONS
Sec. 34-730. Purpose and intent of Article.
- The purpose of the Healthy Homes Inspection Program is to protect the public health, safety and welfare in residential rental property units through establishment of minimum health and safety standards. This Article: (1) Establishes minimum standards that may include: a) basic utilities and facilities; b) ventilation and heating; c) safety from fire; and d) safe and sanitary maintenance of all rental properties; and (2) Provides for the registration and permitting for certain rental properties; (3) Provides for administration and enforcement.
- It is not the intention of the City to intrude upon contractual relationships between tenant and landlords. The City does not intend to intervene as an advocate of either party, nor to act as an arbiter, nor to hear complaints by landlord or tenant that do not clearly relate to the provisions of this Article or other City ordinances.
Sec. 34-731. Definitions.
The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this Article, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
Direct family member means one’s child, grandchild, mother, father, sibling, mother-in-law, father-in-law, grandparent, or the step equivalent of each of those.
Director means the Director of Health or his or her designee.
Hazardous area means areas of structures or buildings posing a degree of hazard greater than normal to the general occupancy of a building or structure, such as areas used for the storage or use of combustibles or flammable, toxic, noxious or corrosive materials, or heat-producing appliances.
Imminent Health Hazard means a significant threat or danger to health that is considered to exist when there is evidence sufficient to show that a product, practice, circumstance, or event creates a situation that requires immediate correction or cessation of operation to prevent illness or injury based on: 1) the number of potential illnesses or injuries; 2) the nature, severity, and duration of the anticipated illness or injury; 3) the effect on the environment or the surrounding geographical area; or 4) the likelihood of illness or injury.
Owner means any person who, acting alone or jointly or severally with others: 1) has legal title to any building or structure with or without accompanying actual possession thereof; or 2) has charge, care or control of any building or structure or part thereof as agent or personal representative of the person having legal title to the building or structure of part thereof; or 3) has possession or right to possession under a contract for deed.
Permit means a permit issued by the Director for the renting of residential properties pursuant to this Article. The terms “permit” and “rental permit” are used interchangeably.
Permit holder means a person who is responsible for the operation of the residential rental property, such as the Owner or the Owner’s agent, and who possesses a valid permit to operate a residential rental property.
Person means an association, corporation, individual, firm, partnership, other legal entity, government, governmental subdivision or agency.
Re-inspection means an inspection conducted by the Director to ensure corrective action is taken by the permit holder subsequent to a previous inspection where non-compliance or violations of this Article were found.
Rental Property means residential dwellings which are occupied by one or more persons, none of whom are owners or direct family members of owners. Duplexes in which one of the units is owner-occupied and rental units within an owner-occupied, single-family dwelling that is in compliance with the City’s zoning codes shall not be considered rental units.
Tenant means a person, not the legal owner of record, occupying a building or portion thereof as a unit.
Variance means a written document issued by the Director that authorizes a modification or waiver of one or more requirements of this Article if, in the opinion of the Director, health hazards or nuisances will not result from the modification or waiver.
DIVISION 2: PERMITTING AND APPLICATION PROCESS
Sec. 34-732. Rental Permit Required.
(a) A person may not offer for rent a residential property without a valid rental permit issued by the Director. All persons, firms, partnerships, corporations and associations, either for profit or nonprofit, now or hereafter owning, operating or managing a residential rental property, shall obtain a rental permit for each property from the Director. The Director shall issue the permit only after the applicant has submitted the application, an inspection is conducted and after the Director has the inspection.
(b) Non-Transferrable. Rental Permits and associated fees are non-transferable with any changes in ownership.
(c) Initial inspection. The Director will inspect the rental property before issuing a rental permit to determine compliance with the provision of this Article and other specifications and regulations.
Sec. 34-733. Conditions on Rental Permits.
The Director is authorized and directed to endorse on the Rental Permit such conditions and requirements which in his or her best judgment and discretion are necessary for the protection of the health and safety of the persons utilizing such property and which carry out the scope, purpose and intent of this Article. Such conditions and requirements shall conform as closely as possible to the rules and regulations promulgated by the Director, but shall not be so strictly construed as to operate hardship upon any applicant.
Sec. 34-734. Duties of Permit Holder.
Upon receipt of a permit issued by the Director, in order to retain the permit, the permit holder shall:
- Comply with all provisions of this Article and the rules and regulations promulgated by the Director, as such provisions, rules and regulations may be amended from time to time, and also each and every condition and requirement endorsed upon such permit or any renewal thereof issued, as such conditions and requirements may be amended by the Director;
- Immediately notify the Director if an imminent health hazard may exist because of an emergency such as a fire, flood, extended interruption of electrical or water service, sewage backup, gross insanitary occurrence or condition, or other circumstance that may endanger health;
- Allow representatives of the Director access to the rental property for inspections and in emergencies when an imminent health hazard may exist;
- Comply with directives of the Director including time frames for corrective actions specified in inspection reports, notices, orders, warnings, and other directives issued by the Director in regard to the permit holder’s rental property, or in response to community emergencies;
- Accept notices issued and served by the Director according to law;
- Be subject to the regulatory, civil, injunctive, and criminal remedies authorized in law for failure to comply with this Article or a directive of the Director, including time frames for corrective actions specified in inspection reports, notices, orders, warnings, and other directives; and
- Submit annual permit review documentation with appropriate fee as required by Director.
Sec. 34-735. Qualifications and Responsibilities of Applicant.
To qualify for a permit, the applicant shall:
- be an owner of the rental property, or owner’s agent who is responsible for the operation of the rental property;
- comply with the requirements of this Article;
- agree to allow representatives of the Director access to the rental property for the purpose of inspection in emergencies and/or when an imminent health hazardous may exist;
- pay the applicable permit fees at the time the application is submitted.
Sec. 34-736. Denial of Application for Permit; Notice.
If an application for a permit to operate is denied, the Director shall provide the applicant with a notice that includes:
- The specific reasons and code citations, if any, for the permit denial;
- The actions, if any, that the applicant must take to qualify for a permit; and
- Advisement of the applicant’s right of appeal and the process and time frames for appeal.
Sec. 34-737. Fees.
- Healthy Rental Home Permit. All permits are valid for three years from the date of issuance.
- Initial permit application fee. A twenty-dollar ($20.00) fee is due at time of submitting the initial application for the permit.
- Annual Review Fee. A twenty-dollar ($20.00) fee is due annually upon submission of annual permit review.
- Permit holders shall pay fees based on the number of rental units in accordance with the fee schedule contained in this subsection (d), and any future adjustments. The appropriate fee shall be determined on the date of the application.
- Fee Table.
Number of Rental Units Permit Fee Re-inspection fee Single Family Home $90.00 $75.00 1-3 Units 130.00 $75.00 for re-inspection visit
+ $50.00 for each unit that requires re-inspection
4-10 170 11-20 220 21-35 270 36-70 320 71-100 370 101-300 420 301-500 470 501-1000 550 1001-10000 700
- The fees prescribed above shall be billed directly to the permit holder.
- Permit Fee. All applied fees must be paid when due.
- Re-inspection Fee. The Director shall assign a fee pursuant to this Article when a re-inspection is conducted.
- Late fees. Late Fees of $15.00 per month for permit renewals not submitted within 30 days of due date.
- Permit Renewals. Rental properties that have not paid the appropriate permit fee by 90 days after due date may be subject to permit suspension until all fees have been paid.
- Reinstatement Fees. For properties that have had a permit suspended following action taken by a provision of this Article, a $300 reinstatement fee will be assessed to reinstate the permit.
- CPI Adjustments. The Director shall have the authority to annually adjust all fees in subsection (d) to reflect an increase equal to an increase in the consumer price index (all items/all urban consumers/Kansas City, Missouri-Kansas) published by the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. The authorization for the Director to annually increase fees shall be cumulative and the failure of the Director to raise fees in any one year shall not waive the Director’s authority to cumulatively raise fees by the consumer price index for missed years. The adjustments, if made, shall be made by the Director of Health in conjunction with the adoption of the annual budget of the City.
- Renewals. The Director will renew an existing permit once permit fee has been received by the Director regardless of whether an inspection has occurred. Suspended permits shall not be renewed until all conditions that warranted the suspension are abated. Revoked permits cannot be renewed.
- Refunds. There shall be no refund of any fee paid pursuant to this section.
- Remaining Funds for Childhood Lead Prevention. One hundred percent (100%) of any funds remaining after administrative program expenses shall be allocated to the prevention of childhood lead poisoning.
Secs. 34-738—Sec. 34-745. Reserved.
DIVISION 3: INSPECTION AND ENFORCEMENT
Sec. 34-746. Inspections Required.
The Director shall cause inspections to be made of all rental properties regulated under this Article to ensure that the holder of the rental permit issued under this Article is complying with its provisions, the rules and regulations promulgated by the Director, as they may be amended from time to time, and the conditions and requirements set forth in the rental permit issued for the particular rental property for which the rental permit was issued or renewed.
Sec. 34-747. Authority to Prescribe Additional Rules and Regulations.
(a) Scope of authority. The Director shall formulate rules and regulations for implementing the provisions of this ordinance to include inspection process, method and guidelines. Such rules and regulations shall be filed with the city clerk, and, when so filed, shall be in effect as part of this ordinance. Such rules may be modified or superseded by other rules and regulations filed by the Director from time to time.
(b) Scope of regulations: The Director shall have power and authority to make provisions in such rules and regulations for health, sanitation and adequate rental housing standards as such rules and regulations may appertain to each and every holder of a permit under this ordinance; and such provisions, conditions or requirements shall be subject to modification, deletions, additions or other change or alteration as to any holder of a permit as the Director may find and determine at any time.
Sec. 34-748. Inspection Frequency.
- The Director shall inspect rental properties at intervals averaging thirty-six (36) months.
- The Director may inspect less frequently than thirty-six (36) month average intervals.
- The Director may inspect more frequently than thirty-six (36) month averages based on:
- Past performance, for nonconformance with Code;
- Past performance, for numerous or repeat violations of Code;
- Past performance, for complaints investigated and found to be valid;
- The type of property; or
- In response to any complaints.
Sec. 34-749. Complaint by tenants; Retaliation Prohibited.
- In an attempt to provide an opportunity for corrective action to occur without the initiation of a field investigation, unless there are allegations of health hazardous conditions, the Director may request a complainant to first communicate concerns to the owner, permit holder or designated management.
- Non-retaliation. No person shall maintain an action for eviction because the occupant has reported a violation of this ordinance or a related provision of the city code to the Director, to another city employee or to any other person.
- No person shall cause any service, facility, equipment or utility required under this ordinance to be removed, shut off or discontinued in retaliation for a complaint.
- If the Director finds violations during a complaint investigation, a re-inspection may be required to ensure corrective action is taken and violations no longer exist.
Sec. 34-750. Refusal; Notification of Right to Access; Final Request for Access.
(a) Refusal. If after the Director presents credentials and provides notice, a person denies access to the Director, the Director shall inform the person that:
- Pursuant to this Article, the permit holder is required to allow access to the Director, as access is a condition of the acceptance and retention of a rental property permit to operate;
- If access is denied, an inspection order issued by the appropriate authority allowing access, may be obtained according to law; and
- The Director is making a final request for access.
(b) Refusal; Reporting. In the event a person still denies access, the Director shall provide details of the denial of access on an inspection report form.
(c) Inspection Order to Gain Access. If denied access to a rental property for an authorized purpose, the Director may:
(1) Apply for a court order or warrant to gain access; and/or
(2) Suspend the permit.
Sec. 34-751. Non-Health-Hazard or Non-Life-Threatening Violations; Opportunity
During an inspection, if the Director discovers that a permit holder has failed to comply with this ordinance or the rules and regulations established by the Director, and the violation is not a health hazard or not life-threatening, he or she shall:
- inform the permit holder, agent, or employee in writing that violation(s) exist;
- allow the permit holder an opportunity to correct the violations within a reasonable period, as determined by the Director; and/or
- re-inspect the rental property to determine if the violation(s) still exist.
Sec. 34-752. Health-Hazard Violations; Opportunity to Correct.
During an inspection, if the Director discovers that a permit holder has failed to comply with this Article or the rules and regulations established by the Director, and the violation is a Health-Hazard Violation, he or she shall:
- Inform the permit holder, agent, or employee in writing that a violation exists;
- Allow the permit holder an opportunity to correct the violation within a reasonable period of time, as determined by the Director; and
- Re-inspect the rental property, if the Director deems it necessary, to determine if the violation still exists.
Sec. 34-753. Life-Threatening Violations; Opportunity to Correct.
(a) During an inspection, if the Director discovers that a permit holder has failed to comply with this Article or the rules and regulations established by the Director, and the violation is life-threatening, he or she shall:
- Inform the permit holder, agent, or employee in writing that a violation exists;
- Allow the permit holder to immediately correct cited violations and eliminate the existing life threatening violation; or
- Suspend the permit and/or immediately lock, secure or close the area of violation;
- Require the property to be vacated, if determined necessary by the Director; and
- Re-inspect the rental property, if the Director deems it necessary, to determine if the violation still exists;
(b) In lieu of permit suspension after considering the nature of the potential hazard involved and the complexity of the corrective action needed, the Director may specify a longer time frame for the permit holder to correct health hazardous or life threatening violations.
Sec 34-754. Failure to abate violation; occupied properties.
If permit holder fails to correct cited violations after three (3) re-inspections the Director may:
- Issue a permit suspension;
- Require the property to be vacated; and/or
- Institute ordinance violation proceedings through municipal court consistent with this Article.
Sec 34-755. Refusal to Sign Acknowledgment.
The Director shall inform a person who declines to sign an acknowledgement of receipt of inspectional findings that:
- An acknowledgment of receipt is not agreement with findings;
- Refusal to sign an acknowledgement of receipt will not affect the permit holder’s obligation to correct the violations noted in the inspection report within the time frames specified;
- A refusal to sign an acknowledgment of receipt is noted in the inspection report and conveyed to the Director’s historical record for the rental property; and
- Make a final request that the permit holder or representative at the inspection sign an acknowledgement receipt of inspection findings.
Sec. 34-756. Notice of Suspension; with prior warning.
Pursuant to this Article and with prior warning, the Director may suspend a permit for reasons such as:
- Nonpayment of fees;
- Denial of access to the Director;
- Life-Threatening violations;
- Violations after three (3) re-inspections; or
- The Director determines that permit holder or representative at the inspection is in violation of the City Code of Ordinances.
Sec. 34-757. Notice of Suspension; without prior warning.
The Director may suspend a permit by providing written notice to the permit holder or representative at the inspection, without prior warning, notice of hearing, or a hearing, if and when:
- The Director determines through inspection or other means as specified in the ordinance, that a life-threatening violation or imminent health hazard exists;
- The Director determines that permit holder or representative at the inspection is ignoring or refusing to correct a health-hazard violation that can be quickly remediated;
- The Director determines that permit holder or representative at the inspection is in violation of the City Code of Ordinances;
- The permit holder or representative interferes with the Director in the performance of his or her duties.
Sec. 34-758. Term of Suspension; Reinstatement of Permit.
A suspension shall remain in effect until the conditions cited in the notice of suspension no longer exist and their elimination has been confirmed by the Director through re-inspection or other means as appropriate. The Director may initiate any one, or a combination of, compliance methods that include, but are not limited to:
- Holding a regulatory conference with the Permit Holder; and/or
- Placing the rental property on probation to allow for a reinstatement of permit with corrective action plan;
Sec. 34-759. Time Frame for Reinstatement.
After receiving a written request from the permit holder stating that the conditions cited in the suspension order no longer exist, the Director shall conduct a reinstatement inspection of the rental property for which the permit was suspended within three business days, not including City-observed holidays.
Sec. 34-760. Revocation.
- After notifying the permit holder of an opportunity for a hearing, the Director may revoke a Permit if:
- Serious and repeated violation(s) of any requirement of the Article or regulations have occurred;
- A suspension has been in effect longer than 90 days;
- There has been an assault upon or repeated interference with a representative of the Director in the performance of his or her duty; or
- Permit holder fails to comply with a permit suspension order.
- Any person whose rental property permit has been revoked by the Director, after a period of six months, may make written application for a new permit and the Director may request a conference to determine whether a new permit will be issued;
Sec. 34-761. Vacation of Property.
(a) In the event the Director orders a property or areas of violation to be vacated, locked or secured, the Director shall:
- Clearly post a copy of the notice at a public entrance to the rental property or area(s) of violation; and
- Send a copy of the notice by first class mail to the permit holder;
(b) No person, other than the Director, shall remove a notice posted by the Director.
Sec. 34-762. Appeals; Permit Suspension or Revocation
- Appeal Request. A permit holder whose Permit has been suspended or revoked may appeal the Director’s decision within (10) ten calendar days following the suspension or revocation notice. If a request for an appeal is not filed by the permit holder within the ten-day period, the suspension or revocation of the permit becomes final.
- Hearing Date. The Director shall afford a hearing within fifteen (15) business days after receiving a written request from the permit holder.
- Record of proceedings. The Director shall cause to be made a true and accurate transcript of appeal hearings.
- Action by Director. After any hearing shall be concluded, the Director shall make findings of fact and conclusions of law upon which his or her decision shall be based. The Director may reverse, uphold or modify the suspension or revocation decision.
- Failure to appear. Failure of a permit holder to appear at the hearing will result in automatic suspension or revocation of the permit.
- If the Director decides to revoke a permit after a hearing or failure to appear, such rental property shall be vacated, locked and secured in a fashion deemed necessary by the Director.
Sec. 34-763. Severability.
In the event any section, paragraph, sentence, clause, phrase or portions of this Article are declared invalid for any reason, the remainder of this Article shall remain in full force and effect.
Sec. 34-764. Violations Generally; Penalty; Failure to Obtain Permit or Renew.
- Any person violating any provision of this Article, the rules and regulations of the Director, or the conditions and requirements contained in the permit, as any or all of such provisions, rules, regulations, conditions or requirements may be amended, shall be deemed guilty of an ordinance violation, and upon conviction thereof shall be punished as provided in Sec 34-765. Such violations apply to actions or inactions taken by the permit holder, his or her agents, designee or employees.
- Failure of any person to obtain a permit or keep the permit in force and effect by proper renewal thereof, where a permit is required, shall constitute a violation of this Article.
Sec. 34-765. Authorities; Penalties.
(a) Notwithstanding any other enforcement actions pursuant to this Article, enforcement the Director may seek to enforce the provisions of this Article by instituting proceedings against the permit holder or other persons who violate its provisions.
(b) Any person convicted of a violation of any provision of this chapter shall be punished for that violation by a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or by imprisonment of not more than 180 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment. Each day on which a violation occurs is a separate violation.
Sec. 34-766. Judicial Remedy.
The Director may seek a judicial remedy to achieve compliance with the provisions of this Code if a person operating a rental property:
- Fails to have a valid permit to operate a rental property;
- Violates any term or condition of a permit;
- Allows serious or repeated violations to remain uncorrected beyond time frames for correction approved, directed, or ordered by the Director;
- Fails to comply with a permit suspension or revocation decision issued by the Director; or
- Fails to comply with an order issued as a result of an appeal hearing.
Sec. 34-767. Notices; How Served.
A notice issued in accordance with this Article shall be considered to be properly served if it is served by one of the following methods:
- The notice is personally served by the Director, a law enforcement officer, or a person authorized to serve a civil process to the permit holder;
- The notice is sent by the Director to the last known address of the permit holder or the person operating a rental property without a permit, by registered or certified mail or by other public means so that a written acknowledgment of receipt may be acquired; or
- The notice is provided by the Director in accordance with another manner of service authorized by law.
Sec. 34-768—Sec. 347-80. Reserved.
Approved as to form and legality:
Joseph A. Guarino
Assistant City Attorney