Senator proposes new rental property guidelines

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - There's a new push to require inspections of rental properties in Omaha. On Thursday, a state senator announced a proposal to make it a requirement.

This all comes in response to closure of the Yale Park apartments last month.

State Sen. Justin Wayne of Omaha said he plans to address unsafe and unsanitary conditions in Omaha's rental housing when the state legislature convenes in January.

An inspection of the Yale Park apartments uncovered roughly 2,000 code violations, including gas leaks, faulty wiring and pest infestations. It's a scenario no one wants repeated.

Right now, Omaha residents must submit a complaint to the city before an inspection can be done.

Sen. Wayne's bill would change that, and require regular inspections of all residential rental properties in Omaha.

It would also require a landlord registry.

Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert does not support the idea. She said she believes in local control.

Stothert responded to the announcement of Wayne's idea saying the city needs to be in charge and needs a long term plan that works for Omaha and not modeled after other cities.

With at least 75,000 rental properties, the mayor agrees it would be an undertaking.

"Of course it would Right now we have under 10 housing inspectors. In Minneapolis they have about 45. It's a huge undertaking and at the same time, who will pay for this?" Stothert said.

Wayne has not reached out to anyone with the city.

His legislation would apply to any city in Nebraska with a population over 300,000 people. Right now, that's only Omaha.