Property owners not happy about city's proposal

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Property owners in Cape Girardeau say they aren't happy with a new proposal from the city.

Cape city officials are proposing a program that would require property owners to register each property with the city. They would have to pay a permit fee, and get each property inspected. Some property owners say they will have to pass that cost on to the renters.

In the program, the city will then inspect the property every 3 years, in order to keep all properties up to code.

As of right now, the city only inspects on a complaint basis.

David Soto, from Soto Properties, says he's not totally against a program like this, but wishes it applied to everyone, not just rental owners.

"My initial reaction is that I think it's odd that they're targeting rental properties," said Soto. "Why don't they do all properties? Whether the owner lives there or not. All properties should have some type of compliance."

City leaders met with property owners Thursday night at the Osage Center in Cape Girardeau.

City leaders say they are looking into a program like this because of citizen requests. They say some homeowners are concerned about nearby rental properties affecting the value of their home.

"Some have supported it," said Cape's Director of Development Services Ken Eftink. "They are concerned about protecting their property value. If there's a rental unit across the street or down the street that's in really poor condition, or poorly managed, it brings down the value of their property."

At Thursday's meeting, property owners said they feel like current inspections aren't being enforced. But city leaders say that's been hard to do without an official program, which is what they want to put in place now.

At the meeting, rental property owners seems to have two points they wanted to get across.

They feel renters are the ones living in the units, and therefore, the ones trashing them. So, the owners feel the renters should be the ones inspected and penalized, not the owners.

"I think they're focusing too much on the landlords, and not enough on tenants," said Loine Penny, a property owner for more than 20 years. "I think there should be some kind of ruling for tenants who go in a trash a place and won't pay the rent, and won't let you in to fix places."

"I'd really appreciate if they reevaluate the program. and really consider who they're really hurting, are they really hitting the people who are causing the problem, or the people that are trying to improve the community and provide quality living," said Jeremy Ferguson, with Executive Property Management.

Second, owners feel the wrong people are being targeted.

"A lot of disappointment," said Ferguson. "We're not hearing really any good numbers of infractions going on, and those infractions are such a small percentage of the said 6,000 rental properties in our area, yet they're going to tax every rental property thirty dollars per unit per year."

Multiple owners said just those with infractions should be charged, not every owner.

Thursday's meeting was just a discussion between owners and city officials. City leaders will still need to propose the program to the city council, who will then have to vote on it before anything will go into effect.

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