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FOREST CITY | The Forest City City Council is discussing the possibility of adopting a new rental inspection program for the city.

The rental inspection program was explained in detail at the council's Feb. 18 meeting.

Councilmember Brad Buffington said the main objectives were to make a list of all the rental properties and their conditions to set a standard for a quality property for tenants to live in.

Forest City Administrator Barb Smith said another objective was to have a way to verify the properties outside the fire district also were kept to code.

“We have a good bunch of landlords who take care of the properties,” Smith said. “We have some who don’t and just pocket that money every month. Those are the ones that are the reasons we have this inspection program.”

Buffington expressed worry the listed guidelines were too restrictive, saying, “there’s some really nitpicky things in here,” such as the distance between the toilet and the tub.

Smith said the guidelines were fashioned after Mason City’s rental inspection programs but much less restrictive than their program.

“In Mason City’s, it was a window had to be a certain size and so far off the ground, and it was extremely, extremely restrictive,” Smith said. “We really changed ours a lot.”

Smith said if landlords were concerned about something that did not meet the code but was too difficult to change, they could take it up to the board for an appeal and get a written statement from the board saying it was okay.

“This rental inspection program is not to make it hard on the landlords. They all need to understand that it’s set to maintain some type of safety and standard for the rental units in town,” she said.

No action was taken by the council at the meeting.

The council will meet with the entire Housing Commission and the landlords of Forest City at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 25 at the EMS Center to discuss any questions landlords have and to iron out the details of the program.

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