Rental ordinance in Northwood

KIMT News 3 - Right now, in Iowa, a town of less than 15,000 does not have to have a rental ordinance. Those dictate things like landlord registration and set standards for property upkeep.  One local community is putting new rules in place, even though they don’t have the population to require it.

For more than 35 years Dave Tass has been a landlord, renting properties out around North Iowa.

“I just kind of accidently fell into it.  I worked construction, that’s what I knew.  I would buy places and want to fix them up with the idea of turning them into rental properties, then retire have an income coming in,” said Tass.

Right now, one of his rental properties is located in Northwood. Starting on July 2nd regulations will be changing for him and his property in this community. The city council has decided they want a rental ordinance in town.  So they will be hiring an inspector to do the job.  Tass says he’s ready for it.

“I never have been overly thrilled with controls and regulations and that’s what happened, not only to the rental industry but a lot of stuff as everybody knows, but in general it’s been a good thing,” said Tass.

The ordinance requires landlords to register their properties with the city and pay a fee.  It also requires that housing properties meet certain safety standards, including making sure properties are secure for the tenants and kept free from rodent and insect infestation. Council members looked at other community ordinances as they developed theirs.

“We have over 470 units and that’s over 600 landlords, so for us that’s worked out real well. We’ve had good compliance,” said Ray Quayle the Housing Inspector for Mason City.

Quayle says Mason City’s ordinance went into effect in 2004.  He says those in Northwood should understand this ordinance can be good for the community overall.

“It just keeps your properties in a healthy and safe environment for the tenant and for the landlord. It keeps them safe from possible lawsuits and everything else,” said Tass.

Fees in Northwood have not yet been set, according to the city clerk. They also tell us while the ordinance will be published Wednesday July 2nd, it will take more than a month to start rolling it out.

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