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Derecho “uncovered more than we knew” about rental properties

Published: Sep. 24, 2020 at 10:23 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -After the derecho, some people had trouble getting in contact with their landlord or manager to fix damage. Some Cedar Rapids city officials say those problems raised awareness of long-term issues with certain rental properties. City Councilwoman Ashley Vanorny says she spoke with many families in the days after the derecho, saying “Residents were telling us it’s been like this for a long time, it’s just now exacerbated because of the derecho. And they were expressing to me verbally their landlord hasn’t been great about addressing their needs on a regular day.”

The city passed several measures over the summer that it’s hoping will now help address those problems. In July, the city of Cedar Rapids approved changing inspecting rental properties every five years to every three years. It’s also working to increase the number of full time housing inspectors from five to seven, following approval in the FY21 budget.

Now, the city is hoping that’s going to help with derecho cleanup, as well as help stay on top of rental properties that aren’t keeping buildings up to code.

Vanorny says she talked with many families who had to wait days or weeks before hearing from their landlords after the derecho damaged their buildings., and others who said they couldn’t get problems fixed even before the derecho.

“It needs to be safe, it needs to have a proper roof, and we need responsive management. And frankly, the derecho uncovered more than we knew. At least more then what was aware to me. So we really begin this process as we rebuild, asking people to speak up," says Vanorny.

The city is asking people to report property damage or building code violations to its Building Services Department, at 319-286-5197, or find more information on the city website here.

Copyright 2020 KCRG. All rights reserved.

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