Letter to the Editor

Landlord ordinance concerns

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A recent article appeared in this paper about Cape Girardeau's landlord ordinance that will be voted on Oct. 1. The article gave the impression that the Cape Girardeau Board of Realtors opposes the ordinance for reasons only affecting Realtors. The board's opposition is based on language of the ordinance. A draft of the ordinance was sent to the National Association of Realtors for their review.

The NAR returned an analysis too detailed for this letter. Some of the highlights that everyone should be concerned about are that the ordinance is broader in scope and could significantly impact not just landlords, but personal homes, tenants and real estate agents. The analysis goes on to explain that items in the ordinance are not adequately explained; it raises Fourth Amendment concerns -- specifically giving the city "free access and entry" to a tenant's home -- contains vague language, and fails to explain what will happen to tenants if a landlord's license is revoked.

We understand the intent of this ordinance is to eliminate bad landlords, ensure safe and healthy conditions for tenants, and improve property values. This board is in favor of these things, too; however, it is our feeling that the ordinance should protect property owners and tenants.

Copies of this analysis, along with proposed changes, have been provided to city leadership. For the benefit of the citizens and property owners of the city, the board hopes that the city takes our analysis into consideration before finalizing the ordinance.

DAVID SOTO, president, Cape Girardeau Board of Realtors, Cape Girardeau