Landlords Would Have To Be Licensed To Do Their Own Repairs

Under the proposed ordinance landlords would have to become licensed contractors to do repairs and improvements to their rental properties. They would also have to carry $1 million in liability coverage and be bonded for $10 thousand.

To become a licensed contractor one would have to pass the ICC (International Code Council) contractor test and pay a $300 license fee. The license would need to be renewed every three years at a cost of $300 each time.

City planning director Rick Cunningham says the intent of the proposed ordinance is for the safety and welfare of the public. The planning department, with input from the construction industry, introduced the legislation.

Cunningham also says the changes would bring Omaha in line with similar licensing requirements in Bellevue and Council Bluffs.

A public hearing is scheduled for the proposed ordinance at Tuesday's city council meeting.

Rick McDonald owns 18 rental properties in Omaha. He doesn't like the idea of having to get licensed or hire licensed contractors to maintain his rental homes.

"I work 7 days a week," says McDonald. "You have to if you want to make it work. You can't make a profit if you're hiring everything out. There's just not the dollars in it."

John Chatelain is also a property owner in Omaha. He says the ordinance will affect more than just landlords.

"Lets' say you inherit a house from your grandmother, and you're trying to do some work on it to get it ready for the market, you would have to be licensed," said Chatelain.

Without a license, homeowners would still be allowed to do work on their own homes where they live.

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