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FOREST CITY | Forest City officials want to start a rental inspection program.

A town hall meeting on the proposed ordinance for the program is set for 7 p.m. on Feb. 25 in the meeting room at the Emergency Services Center. 

City Administrator Barb Smith said all the landlords in town have been personally invited to attend. 

"A lot of towns around here are starting to look at rental inspection ordinances," she said. 

Forest City currently doesn't have a code stating what the living conditions should be like in rental properties. 

Smith said some landlords in town do a great job of taking care of their property, but at other rentals the conditions are "not what they should be." 

The city gets calls from residence whose landlords are ignoring their complaints about problems such as black mold in the laundry room or bedbug infestations, according to Smith. 

Currently the city has no way to address these issues, she said. 

The proposed ordinance also is meant to prevent 10 to 15 people from living in a one-bedroom rental, according to Smith. 

The city council has to approve three readings of the proposed ordinance. 

Smith said if the ordinance is adopted, it will take some time to get the rental inspection program going. 

One of the things the city would have to do is hire a rental inspector.  

City officials also would need to determine how many people have rental properties in town because the proposed ordinance calls for all landlords to be licensed, according to Smith. 

She said if a rental property doesn't pass inspection, "there's multiple things that can happen," including fines or revoking the landlord's license. 

Landlords also could be fined if they aren't licensed, according to Smith. 

She said the city might set an effective date of July 1 for the rental inspection program since that marks the beginning of a new fiscal year. 

A draft of the proposed ordinance is available for viewing online at www.cityofforestcity.com/rentalinspectiondraft

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