What to do about rental inspections in this town is the issue that never dies.
Every few years over the last three decades or so, this has come up. On Tuesday, the Manhattan City Commission had a forum, ostensibly to hear from the rental community and find out the state of the rental market in town.
We seem to go back and forth on this; right now the rule in place is a voluntary inspection program, which means few people know about it (less than a quarter, according to a survey of tenants in the K-State community), and even fewer people use it. That means it’s not terribly effective at enforcing city codes in rental properties and protecting tenants.
We see both sides of this issue. Obviously, there’s not really the political will in this town, at least right now, to have a full-blown, mandatory rental inspection program. But we also acknowledge that there are some pretty terrible apartments and other properties. We shouldn’t have to wait for someone to die or be injured in a dangerous property to handle the issue.
There has to be some kind of permanent solution to this problem. Perhaps part of the solution is in the market itself. As new apartments are built, the shoddiest ones will, to a large degree, beaten in the marketplace. Landlords in theory will have to fix them up to rent them out.
Still, there has to be some better solution to this that people can more or less agree on. Is it putting rental inspection information in an app that all K-State students can get? We don’t know, but clearly what is being done hasn’t completely solved the problem.