New Training Program Requirement Creates Issues for Landlord
By Jill Kasparie, Reporter
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- New city code is changing things up for landlords who rent out property in Cedar Rapids.
One change requires landlords to attend a one-day training session in person. Last week letters went out to about 2,500 landlords telling them it's time to start signing up for those classes.
The change has one out-of-state landlord upset.
The city said the training would be a chance for landlords to stay educated and make contacts within the community. The rule change, however, is stirring up frustration for some.
“John Wayne once said: ‘Life's tough but life's tougher when you're stupid', and I think that applies to some of the people that are down there making these decisions for this ordinance," said Randy Meeks.
Meeks is clearly upset. He has just learned he might have to move out of the home that he has rented for more than 20 years.
"I moved here when I was 37-years-old," Meeks said.
Through the trinkets and flowers, you can tell the 1st Avenue Southeast house, is a home to Randy and his wife. In an interview on Skype, Landlord Keith Heitzman said he just contacted the couple to tell them that the new training requirement could force him to sell.
"I'm not going to do it," Heitzman said. "I'll sell the house and what they are doing is they’re kicking the people out."
The key is that city is requiring landlords to attend the training session in person. Heitzman lives in Florida, and he said he doesn't need to make the trip. He said this house is his only rental property in Iowa and he has a great relationship with his tenants.
"Once in a while we will talk and there might be an issue that needs to be fixed or this or that, but besides that, you know, we are fine,” Heitzman said.
City workers said the training sessions are part of a bigger project to improve neighborhoods. Project leaders said there's no online version of the class but there's another option.
"If a landlord wants to send a licensed property manager in their place then they are able to do that also,”
Heitzman said he doesn't need someone to manage his single property. For now, he's hoping the city will make an exception to the rule, and Randy and his are waiting to see what happens next.
"It's out of our hands,” Meeks said.
The city will have five training sessions. Landlords need to take one of them by July of 2014. If they don't, the city says it will revoke the landlord business permit. That's the license that allows them to rent property out to tenants.
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