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Meeting to discuss rental inspection ordinance

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014 2:34 p.m. CST • Updated: Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014 9:11 a.m. CST

ROCK FALLS – A special building code committee meeting will be held at 6:30 tonight at the Rock Falls Community Building, 601 W. 10th St.

The purpose of the meeting is to present and discuss information about the rental inspection ordinances that are being developed collaboratively by the cities of Rock Falls and Sterling.

Building inspector Mark Searing of Rock Falls and Building and Zoning Superintendent Amanda Schmidt of Sterling have been working on each city's program for several months, coordinating their efforts to ensure the rules would be consistent in both cities.

This type of program would be a first for both cities. Currently, inspections are done only after a complaint is made by a tenant or landlord.

In 2009, Sterling failed in an attempt to institute a mandatory inspection program for rental properties, due largely to opposition from the Sauk Valley Landlord's Association.

The Landlord's Association and its board still oppose any restrictions on the rental process, its president, Rod Kleckler, said.

"This isn't about life-safety; if they would enforce the codes as they are written now, there is plenty in there for them to make the cities look better," Kleckler said. "Why target only rental properties? It's hard enough for us to make repairs, pay taxes and insurance."

A draft of the ordinance calls for a system that grades properties A through D, with A being the highest and D the lowest. The inspections would be done between tenants when someone moves out.

If the property received a good grade, it would not be reinspected for 5 years after a new tenant moved in.

"We're trying to put as little impact on landlords as possible, and try not to bother tenants when properties are occupied," Searing said.

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