It’s been quite a few Sedalia City Council meetings since the idea of rental property inspections was discussed, but it resurfaced during Monday’s otherwise brief meeting.
Sedalia resident and rental property tenant Barbara Guffey approached the microphone during the Good and Welfare portion of Monday’s meeting holding a stack of large, bright green poster board, which she proceeded to hand out to City Administrator Gary Edwards, Mayor Steve Galliher and every council member who was present. Inside each folded poster was pages of documents, notes and photos related to Guffey’s seemingly unpleasant experience with her landlord.
Guffey said her residence, at 711 S. Lafayette Ave., has needed several repairs since moving in, and working with her landlord, Brett Booth, has been a difficult process. She claims he refused to sign her lease agreement, and has been slow in making repairs, such as putting in a handrail on the porch and fixing the bathroom floor where Guffey said she fell through earlier this year due to mold and rot.
“I requested, according to the ordinance, an inspection to validate things that needed to be fixed,” she said. “And so [city building inspector Tim] Curry came out and on page five (of the handout) you’ll see there’s a letter from 2015 on the things Mr. Curry found, however, in referencing the file, there had been another letter saying in 2011 there is no record of any of those repairs being made.”
Guffey said she has spent time gathering documents about her landlord and the residence, and seeking advice from the city and a clerk at the Pettis County Courthouse. She concluded her presentation by saying she believes the solution to poor rental property conditions is for the city to implement a rental inspection ordinance.
“Every puzzle has an answer … Because there’s a problem, I provided a solution suggestion,” Guffey said. “Suggested solution is rental inspections semi-annual for a ‘Good Housekeeping’ seal of Sedalia, which the owners would pay for to have visible in their window. So we wouldn’t have to live with this continual problem of ‘beware renters’ in Sedalia.”
Edwards has previously told the Democrat that city staff has been working for months on researching the idea, and a proposal is expected to be given to council by the end of the year.
Terri Hunter, of the Sedalia Landlord Association, is a frequent audience member at council meetings, and has voiced her opinion on rental property inspections on multiple occasions. She offered a response to Guffey’s suggested solution.
“As a member of the Landlord Association, I don’t know what inspections are going to prove to help this situation, because as she said, you can have the city inspectors come out and look, she’s gone to court and yet the city’s not able to do anything,” she said. “So I don’t understand what coming out and inspecting every single rental property is going to do to solve this situation when it seems like it’s isolated to a few landlords across town and not everyone … obviously these landlords feel like they don’t have to do what’s required by law, and those are the ones that need to be gone after, not necessarily all the landlords.”
During the meeting, council approved two items related to a request from Sacred Heart School to improve student pick-up and drop-off procedures. The two ordinances were unanimously approved by the Traffic Advisory Commission, and city staff recommended approval as well:
• Approved an ordinance amending Ordinance No. 9463 by incorporating a right turn-only restriction onto West Third Street from the north-south alley between West Third Street and Wilkerson Avenue and South Missouri Avenue and South Moniteau Avenue.
• Approved an ordinance amending Ordinance No. 9464 by establishing a “No parking, loading and unloading only” restriction on the south side of Wilkerson Avenue between the alley east of South Missouri Avenue and South Moniteau Avenue.
Council also approved Change Order No. 2 from Lehman Construction LLC for the Collection System Rehabilitation Phase 1A Project, bid package No. 4, for a deduction amount of $8,660.39 for final quantity adjustments. According to the meeting packet, this will decrease the total contract price to $631,243.51.
Councilman Tollie Rowe was absent.
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1482 or @NicoleRCooke.