City Council moves on rent abatement

%28Wikipedia+commons%29
Back to Article
Back to Article

City Council moves on rent abatement

(Wikipedia commons)

(Wikipedia commons)

Picasa 2.7

(Wikipedia commons)

Picasa 2.7

Picasa 2.7

(Wikipedia commons)

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Emergency situations in rental properties can lead to rent being abated.

One of the 15 steps in the Affordable Housing Action Plan was presented at a City Council meeting Tuesday night dealing with rent abatement in emergency situations. It was the council’s first consideration of the item, and it passed, 7-0.

Stan Laverman, the city senior housing inspector, said housing inspectors look for accommodations that are not in compliance with housing code, meaning essentials such as water, sewer, electrical, and heat are not available, to be eligible for rent abatement.

They also are looking to make sure there are no “health or life safety issues,” Laverman said.

In addition, properties that are being rented without a rental permit will automatically be assumed as “not in compliance with housing code.” 

“It is important to note that ‘not in compliance with housing code’ is up to the City Council officials,” Laverman said. 

This step does not deal with actual vacating of the property but instead works to help the tenant involved in dismal rental situations. Laverman highlighted that this is in compliance with state code.

This is a “city initiated action with notice provided to both the tenant, the landlord, and if the landlord is different from the property owner, they are notified as well,” Laverman clarified.

If the rent is abated for any reason, landlords are not allowed to evict tenants for failure to pay rent. 

Mayor Jim Throgmorton questioned Laverman by asking whether “staff has reached out to landlords so that they know what is going on with this action.”

Laverman said that at this time, staff members have not been in contact with the landlords, but they were generally aware. He said he feels it was straightforward, but said housing staff can re-notify the landlords as this action gets through the final stages. 

Throgmorton also expressed concern with making sure students are aware of the action. 

City Manager Geoff Fruin addressed this, saying, “Students need to be aware they cannot just withhold rent payments; it is crucial that the staff makes this decision.”

Benjamin Nelson, the University of Iowa Student Government City Council liaison, agrees with the action.

Nelson said that this “acts as an extra protection for [students] in case they may have an unresponsive landlord or have poor quality apartments.”

He also noted the importance of letting students know they must have permission from the city in order to withhold their rent from their landlords. It is not acceptable to not make rent payments based on your own opinion on the quality of the rented space. 

Nelson “appreciates the council taking time to add these protections for students and low-income residents.”

Laverman said not all the steps are done in the plan. The Affordable Housing Action Plan is meant to improve Iowa City housing. 

Facebook Comments