Rental inspection pilot program under development in College Station

Rental inspection pilot program under development in College Station
Published: Sep. 8, 2022 at 11:32 PM CDT
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) -College Station city leaders met Thursday to discuss options for developing a rental inspection program.

After receiving complaints from residents about substandard rental properties the College Station City Council says it’s time to move forward with some type of program to help address the concerns.

Residents are calling on city leaders to intact proactive rental inspections but with over 27,000 rental units and more under construction that task is easier said than done.

Among the items being considered by the council are inspections done either as rentals become vacant or inspections that are done on a three, four, or five-year basis..

Council has also tasked city staff with determining how a pilot program can be implemented. One of the suggestions includes focusing on properties with the most complaints and then expanding the program from there.

In her presentation to city leaders Debbie Eller, College Station Director of Community Services says rental inspection programs have their advantages. She says any program developed will go a long way in protecting the most vulnerable renters and help preserve safe and healthy rental housing in the city.

“We’re concerned about our residents,” said Eller.

“Right now we don’t have a way to actively track the complaints that we receive each year regarding rental units and so the concerns stated by our residents are always important.”

Implementing a program will come with its own set of challenges as well. Besides the number of rental units in the city, limited property inspectors and staff to manage and monitor the program will be an issue.

City staff must also consider how the program will be enforced and the potential cost as it relates to inspection fees, penalties, and fines.

Rental property owners we spoke with say they have an interest in keeping their properties in good condition to attract and retain residents, as well as maintain the property’s value.

City Council also made it clear that all renters should be able to live in homes that are free from dangerous or unsanitary conditions.

“We owe it to our citizens and the residents here to make sure that they’re living in a safe house, a safe apartment and I think there are ways to do it,” said College Station Mayor Karl Mooney.

City leaders and rental professionals say in addition to rental inspections they would like to see a greater focus on educating tenants about their rights and the resources available to them.

“When we met with some of the tenant advocate groups that was one of the things that they weren’t aware of,” said Bryan College Station Apartment Association Executive Director Sharon McCauley. " There are resources that we can help them with. So hopefully that will come from the meeting and this discussion tonight.”