I have recently learned that The City of Duncanville has adopted Ordinance #2340, The Residential Rental Property Registration Ordinance. The concept of this ordinance is not a new one. In fact, many municipalities across the State of Texas are adopting similar ordinances.
WHAT IS IT?
As the name suggests, the ordinance requires rental property owners to register their rental properties with the City of Duncanville. According to the City website, “This ordinance is intended to promote the health, safety and general welfare of the City and its residents by enforcing regulations regarding residential rental properties in the City through annual registration and periodic inspections.”
Once the property has been registered with the city, the property shall undergo an inspection performed by a third-party inspector contracted by the city, at the owner’s expense. IF the property passes the inspection, the owner shall receive a RRCO, Residential Rental Certificate of Occupancy. IF the property does not pass the inspection, a list of items will be provided that will need to be remedied and once complete, the property will need to be re-inspected.
WHAT IS THE SCOPE OF INSPECTION?
- Interior and Exterior Building Conditions
- Property Sanitation
- Sidewalks and Driveways
- Accessory Structures
- Pools, Hot Tubs and Spas
- Infestation Issues
- Water and Plumbing Systems
- Sanitary Systems
- Mechanical Equipment
- Electrical and Fire Hazards
WHAT IS THE COST TO THE PROPERTY OWNER?
$25.00 Registration Fee – Annually
$100.00 Inspection Fee
$100.00 Re-Inspection (If Applicable)
$10.00 RRCO Application
The registration fee is to be paid annually. The inspection is to be performed every two years, or when there is a change in tenants, whichever occurs first.
I had the opportunity to attend a meeting this past week at City Hall regarding this ordinance. In attendance were a City Council representative, two city staff representatives, several local REALTORS, property owners, property managers and their staff. I will not speak to the concerns of others in attendance, however, as a property owner in Duncanville and a REALTOR who represents tenants, I will speak to my concerns regarding this ordinance:
- The City of Duncanville already has Code Enforcement that should have the tools to address code violations, whether those be regarding rental properties or owner occupied properties.
- Landlords should be following Texas Property Code and Tenants have rights under their lease and TPC, thus making this ordinance unnecessary and intrusive.
- Already across the State of Texas, rental rates are high and we have a decreased inventory of affordable rental housing. This ordinance will increase property owners expense and therefore will be passed onto the tenants.
- Government intrusion to the property owner and their ability to conduct business.
- Intrusive to tenants already in place.
I have spoken to several folks in the past week regarding this ordinance. Some are very diligent property owners who believe that this ordinance needs to GO AWAY. I disagree with how it is written currently, however, if it isn’t going away, perhaps it can be amended to benefit all parties. In my humble opinion, I don’t think it’s a terrible idea for property owners to register their properties with the city. It would benefit many if the City had a database of the rental properties with owner information in the event that there is a code violation, the owner of the property can be contacted in a more efficient manner. The reality is, unlike myself, many landlords are not local and may be out of state and they may or may not have their properties managed by a company. Without a database of owner information, if there was ever a code violation, the City would send a letter to the owners mailing address listed with the appraisal district. This process is time consuming and inefficient. Perhaps just a registry of contact information would be better, but WITHOUT the intrusive and expensive inspection process.
I encourage YOU as a citizen, rental property owner, tenant, neighbor of a rental property, advocate, voter, etc. to educate yourself on this issue. If you’re a resident of Duncanville, we have some important elections coming up this spring. Whether you agree or disagree with this ordinance, consider asking your candidates what their position is.
If you are a rental property owner and this is concerning to you or you’ve already considered selling your investment property, now is the time. Call me and let’s make it happen!