Senator expected to hold ground on rental housing bill, negotiations to begin with city

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A bill proposing the creation of a landlord registry in Nebraska has been put on hold.

Sen. Justin Wayne of Omaha said he is expecting to meet with Mayor Jean Stothert next week to talk about a potential compromise on rental housing regulations.

LB85 would force Omaha to set up a landlord registry and proactive inspections of rental units, something Stothert has publicly opposed.

"I'm hoping for a proactive inspection program and a registry - we can use different names, but at the end of the day we have to be proactively making sure people can live and prosper in conditions where a family is safe and secure," Sen. Wayne said.

The senator said the bill, which was recently amended, leaves room for the city to make up the rules.

"We're allowing that if you do have a history, or if your compliant with codes, we give the city flexibility to inspect 10, 15, whatever the city decides as far as years. We just say there has to be an initial inspection to give a baseline of where we are," Wayne said.

As Stothert and Wayne try to work toward an agreement, Omaha City Council members await something to vote on.

"We've got enough information, we know enough information, we've seen enough ordinances form different cities, so it's time for us to put pen to paper and get something done," Councilman Ben Gray said.

Wayne is confident he can get the votes needed to pass LB85 if an agreement can be reached.

"My colleagues have clearly said if Omaha doesn't clean up their mess, we're going to have to," the senator said.

The mayor was unavailable for comment on Friday.