Rental Housing Ordinances Set To Go Before Omaha City Council

The Omaha City Council will see three separate drafts of ordinances addressing rental housing regulations next week.

The proposals will be presented on March 5. The city council has never before been given three draft ordinances addressing the same topic, on the same day. Councilman Brinker Harding says he is among those putting a draft ordinance forward. "It reinforces that the City of Omaha's intent on finding a solution that is good for the City of Omaha, and that having different points of view options leads to healthy discussion on the issue."

Sen. Justin Wayne has agreed to delay a bill that would force Omaha into proactive inspections until he sees what options are presented.

Harding says his proposal will not include proactive inspections, but would require a free landlord registry, which the city would then use to start creating a list of landlords who are in violation of city code. "Instead of focusing on all the landlords and having random inspections of all the properties, I think my ordinance focuses on ways to try to identify where the problems are and then use time and resources to go after those issues and resolve those."

The city council will also see a draft ordinance from Mayor Jean Stothert. "Our goal would be to target landlords who are not compliant with the codes and not punish those who are." Stothert's draft is expected to include a free, mandatory landlord registry and inspections that would target landlords with non-compliant code violations in the last three years.

Councilman Gray and Councilman Jerram will bring forward the third proposal, which will mirror La Vista's rental housing regulations. It is the only ordinance expected to meet Wayne's demand for proactive inspection of all rental units built more than five years ago.

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