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Renters hoped city would put on ballot ordinance to hold landlords accountable for housing conditions

Courtesy: @SarahMaAnder

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The ‘Communities Creating Opportunities’ group called on renters in Kansas City to ‘be heard’ at a Kansas City city council meeting Wednesday morning, but the council voted against the ordinance they had hoped would pass.

The group wanted as many people as possible to turn out to urge the KCMO City Council to put an ordinance on the ballot that would hold landlords accountable for unsafe apartments.

“Too many low-income renters in Kansas City are living with mold, leaks, fire hazards, crumbling infrastructure, mice, and more. As the owners of these establishments, the responsibility of offering and maintaining healthy places for families to live falls on the landlords,” said CCO on its Facebook page.

Council members voted 4-to-1 to not place the proposed law on the November ballot. The new law would have required landlords to pay a $25 annual fee on each rental property they own. They city would use the money to hire housing inspectors.

Kansas City May Pro Tem Scott Wagner backed the ordinance, saying owners who failed to repair broken rental homes would be assessed with higher fees to re-inspect properties. However, the ordinance seems to have died. Wagner indicated he will persist.

“The problem still exists. The problem will persist. Now, we’re going to look at all of our other options and see what we can do to move forward on this issue. It’s not the end of anything. It’s just another stop along the way,” he said.

Thursday is the deadline for items to be considered for the November ballot in Kansas City, Mo.

“The conversation needs to continue. We’re making progress. If we pass this ordinance, we’re not going to have much progress. We need to slow this down a little bit,” said Alan Norman, who opposed the inspection ordinance.