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Omaha could see a landlord registry following the Yale Park Apartments evacuation

Posted at 6:08 PM, Nov 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-29 08:27:33-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — After the Yale Park Apartments were evacuated due to over 1,000 code violations the city of Omaha has been thinking of a way to keep better track of landlords and the properties they own. Leading to the idea of a landlord registry.

Council president, Ben Gray, said the situation at the Yale Park Apartments brought to light the idea for landlord registry like the ones in neighboring cities La Vista and Council Bluffs. He says the one in Omaha would be different than those, but something still needs to be done.

Gray said by early next year he expects to be debating the possibility of an Omaha landlord registry, so a Yale Park situation never happens again. “That property was out of control ten years ago, it should have been demolished ten years ago. The fact that we are sitting here with it, and the fact that we are sitting here debating what to do with it, means that we as a city haven't done the appropriate job we should have done in checking those properties,” said Gray

The apartments were only inspected because a formal complaint was filed. Something Gray would like to see stay as part of a landlord registry. “It should be a complaint driven process we shouldn't just be going out willy-nilly looking at properties,” he said.

For seven years La Vista has had a landlord registry in place. City inspector, Jeff Sinnett, said it has been a good thing for landlords and tenants. “They get a home that's code compliant like a single family or new constructed home,” said Sinnett, Chief Building Official.

All properties are inspected either every year or every other year, and now 80% of apartments are in compliance with city code. “Now it's mainly just a cracked window or something overlooked, maybe some chipped paint on the outside. There hasn't seemed to be the severe cases, they have dramatically improved,” said Sinnett.

Unlike La Vista, Gray said he doesn't think all apartments should get inspected every year. Instead he wants to focus on problem apartments like Yale Park; so that no one must live in those types of conditions again. “The fact of the matter is that we've got sub-standard properties in number of areas around my district and around the city of Omaha and we cannot continue to allow that to happen,” said Gray.