New housing rules go into effect for Nebraska landlords

Published: Jan. 3, 2017 at 4:05 PM CST
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New housing rules are now in effect for property and home owners, including landlords in Nebraska.

Jeremy Aspen with CPM Reality helped write the new law after he said its first draft seemed to reach too far. The goal of the bill is to ensure adequate measures are taken to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in Nebraska homes.

"Made for safer housing, it's a little more expensive but on the other side of the ledger, there is less liability too for the owner,” Aspen said.

WOWT caught up with Aspen as he inspected one of the CPM Reality's buildings near downtown Omaha. While historic, the building needs renovations and that means for 2017 it falls under a new state law which requires carbon monoxide detectors to be installed in homes that are sold, rented or significantly renovated.

Omaha first responders have seen firsthand when carbon monoxide poisoning turns deadly. In January of 2016, Omaha fire crews rushed to a home off 144th and Browne streets. Rescuers found 74-year-old Terry Hart dead in his bed. Hart's sister, Joyce Porter, was found barely alive. Investigators believe someone forgot to turn off the car left running in the garage overnight.

"It is believed at this point, that it is a CO overexposure, the investigation is ongoing, but there is no signs of foul play at this time,” Douglas County Lt. Rob Jones said of their investigation.

In addition the new CO detector law, another landlord law also went into effect in September. This law specifically targeted and reduced the time it takes to remove those who pose a safety and criminal risk in properties. John Chatelain, president of the Metro Omaha Property Owners Association said now property owners can issue a 5 day notice to remove those who pose that risk.

"It gives another tool to the landlord to deal with a tenant that is disruptive or potentially dangerous to people in the building,” Chatelain said.

The Carbon Monoxide Safety Act went into place January 1; CO detectors can be combined with smoke detectors when installed in homes or apartments. Aspen said he's thankful he could work with State Senator Sara Howard to craft a carbon monoxide detector law that will hopefully save lives.

"Perfect example of industry, interest, advocates and politics coming together,” Aspen said.

Aspen said he hopes to ensure his properties remain safe as his business continues growing into 2017.