Recently, the City of Overland Park decided it was time to adopt a rental licensing and inspection program. We found out about this from our friend Kim Tucker, Executive Director of MAREI (The Mid-America Association of Real Estate Investors).
The process began with an open house on November 19th, 2015 with the Johnson County Planning Commission. After that, there was a city council meeting. Kandy and our two property managers Joshua and Derek went to these meetings to see how the proposed program might impact our rental home owners in Overland Park.
Some of the proposed program language was concerning. Because of this, Kandy took the time after the city council meeting to read the entire proposed ordinance. She knew that the proposed language would be a major problem for property management companies representing rental home owners in Overland Park.
The way it was worded, property managers were going to be held financially responsible for any work that needed to be done at a property if the owner failed to have the work done themselves. According to the city council, the property manager’s only choice would be to pay for the repairs themselves, or terminate the contract with their client. Would you believe the words, “prosecute the property manager” were in the original proposal?
Are you kidding me?
Property managers are small business owners. They can’t be expected to have the financial resources to put a $10,000 roof on a house they don’t own. And the idea of terminating their agreement with a client doesn’t make sense either. The city would find itself trying to track down an owner for some kind of remedy with no idea where to begin. The property management company is in the best position to help the city find a resolution to any problem with the owner of a rental property. Especially when that owner doesn’t even live in the United States.
Helping create a better program.
The next city council meeting concerning the rental licensing and inspection program was the first one open for public comment. Kandy was given three minutes to share her thoughts with the council. She addressed the language about holding the property management company liable. It made the city council think about the consequences of the proposed language and this sparked interesting conversation with the city attorney present at the meeting.
What was the result? Ordinance number: RL 3150
As a result of Kandy being involved in the process, the program language was changed. The property manager is the owner’s agent for service but would not be held financially responsible for repairs and maintenance of the property. (More information here.)
Through this process, we were surprised that no other property management company was involved or had any presence at the meetings. This is a big change in the way property rental works for Overland Park that directly impacts property management companies. We’re glad that we were able to participate and help make sure the ordinance that got passed is one that makes sense!
And this story really isn’t as much about the rental licensing program as it is about the importance of paying attention, getting involved, and making an effort so that you don’t get blind-sided in your personal life or in business!