A future glimpse into Overland Park's 'Rental Inspection' Program
by Allen Williams
July of 2017 marks the advent of the Overland Park, Kansas rental Inspection program. The justification, of course, is always one or two individuals that offer substandard housing for rent as in 'Dangerous Overland Park duplexes face possible demolition deadline' Aside from the over dramatiztion of the property condition (you'd think they were ready to collapse) , We have the city threatening to demoish the buildings unless certain repairs were made by a specified date.
And this is exactly what's going to eventually happen to owners and renters of properties where the city has other uses in mind. The city needs a 'legal' tool to condemn property outside of eminent domain to force new development in stagnant areas and especially in parts where the property tax base is not what they desire. Note that the inspection program says nothing about the redress options of rental property owners. Where's the due process?
Fox4KC reports "..Not wanting to put the two remaining families out in the cold, the city opted to give the landlord one more chance. But they told his attorney if serious repairs aren’t made come April they are prepared to tear all the buildings down. [Councilman White] “For you to say if we fix the outside we should back off, I’m sorry this councilman is going to keep the shoe on your client’s throat as long as I can,” White said. “There’s no nice way to say it, he’s a slumlord," said McCarthy..."Councilman David Janson said the property owner was the main reason they considered interior inspections of apartments."
Nonsense Mr. Janson. There is a vast treasure trove of wealth in America's homes not accessible to cities unless fourth amendment protections can be circumvented in the name of 'public safety', 'environmental' hazards and/or other nebulous terms like 'urban blight', etc. The city of Overland Park has been trying to find a way inside resident's homes for quite some time, but in order to do this a new 'crime' had to be created, i.e. that of being the owner of substandard housing, aka.a slumlord according to councilman Janson. This isn't about people living in substandard housing, that's the ruse, it's about opening a vast new bureaucracy of home inspections, with fees, fines, legal expenses, and thus higher taxes, etc. For those of you who think, "Well, shouldn't people have a decent place to live".. Of course, but no one is forcing the tenants to remain. But what if they can't afford to move, you ask? There are other measures that can be taken without forcing inspection on all rental properties in the city for the sake of two families.
There are a host of federal and other assistance programs which could be utilized to aid renters living in poor conditions. Note that the bottom line is, if the city and the property owner can't reach an agreement, the renters will be put out in the cold by the city issuing an eviction notice. So much for compassion, hmmm? However, worst of all, the city isn't going to stop at rental units, soon it is going to be for anyone who OWNS a home as quickly as they can get everyone comfortable with the idea of home inspection. Well is that really so bad?
Well, you be the judge. Here's what's already happened to a home owner in Georgia as in Woman Jailed for 4 Months For Building An Addition For Her Sick Mom In Her Own Backyard..."McKinnon, who actually went through the proper channels of extortion and permission to build a structure on her own property, felt she was acting within the confines of the law... As FOX 8 reports, according to documents from the planning and zoning board meeting, McKinnon said she was told by an inspector that as long as she connected the new structure to her current home, it would be fine."
So McKinnon thinking she had approval for her addition from the property inspector (who supposedly represents the city- Ha! Ha!) learns the age old lesson, that if it isn't in writing, you're out on a limb. And the results of city TRUST? "After officials ‘caught’ McKinnon committing the ‘crime’ of building a structure on her own property that they did not approve of, McKinnon was given an ultimatum. Drastically reduce the size of the structure or demolish the entire thing. Not wanting to throw her hard earned money down the drain because of this tyrannical move by officials, McKinnon refused."
Oh, did I fail to mention that Overland Park can and will jail you under their program, not unlike the Georgia lady? ""McKinnon was arrested because her building size exceeded that of the permit she was forced to acquire through the city." Think that can't happen in Overland Park. Guess Again!
The property inspection plan is quite the little money maker for cities across the country, permit fees, fines, lawyers, court costs, etc. It works because people don't readily equate fees, fines, etc as a 'tax' You know just like the penalty for not having health insurance is not seen as a tax.
t doesn't get any better than that for municiplaities with nothing better to do than govern every facet of your life. Just keep electing these morons, maybe you too, can be taxed into prosperity.