A public hearing Tuesday, July 13 at City Hall in Versailles allowed citizens to provide input and receive clarification about the newly proposed building code ordinance. This was a “discussion only” meeting.
Alison Pensy presented her concerns about why the proposed building code would not be beneficial to homeowners, landlords or tenants. She mentioned an inspection at each turnover would be costly and too frequent in some cases as some tenants only stay in a rental property three to four months. Pensy reiterated, with all of the inspections and the hiring of certified contractors to do work, the cost would “force rent up which would then force people who are on fixed income out of town.”
She also mentioned sometimes waiting on inspections and approvals can take time and, as a landlord, that could mean missing out on income from rent payments.
Alderperson Joann Mayor mentioned that renting properties to people makes the upkeep an “obligation of the owner of the property” and “things have to be working properly and the residence must be safe for all regardless what type of home or the resident’s income.” When someone leaves a residence it is important to make sure everything is still in good working order before someone new moves in, Mayor said.
Alderperson Brian Bias said that ideally the inspections would be complete within 48 hours of notification.
Alderperson Chuck Pryor questioned minor projects: “Does every repair need an inspection or a licensed or certified contractor to come do the work?” Bias said small things and repairs do not need an inspection. Bigger projects, remodels, and new construction would need at least the inspection. Pryor mentioned that he thought not every job would need a licensed contractor as “many people know how to fix and build things.”
It was mentioned there would be a “punch list” of things that had to be done to make it easy for the work to pass inspection.
Steve Henderson said “putting more pressure” on landlords is not going to help the issue.
Mike Jackson said Sedalia tried to pass a building code and it failed. He also asked if anyone was needing something done on a Saturday or Sunday would any of the city employees be willing to go and inspect at that time? Jackson also said the City of Versailles does not need International Building Codes.
Tom Fudge mentioned the sewer lines near the library. Versailles Mayor Jamie Morrow mentioned that is being addressed.
David Coontz inquired about the amount of people who were complaining about City of Versailles’ lack of building codes. He also wanted to know if they were all contractors.
Bias said that, within the last 15 years, there have been “plenty of complaints” and that most of them had been from contractors or people building homes.
Coontz said it’s an individuals’ choice to pick where they live. He said, “If a house is inspected and the home doesn’t pass, and this bothers the individual, they can choose another place to reside.”
Henderson then wondered why the City of Versailles is starting with International Building Codes. He inquired if the city could start at the bottom and work its way up when it comes to building codes and regulations on rentals.
Pryor reiterated repairs are fine, major renovations would need a permit and inspection. He reminded everyone the proposed building code ordinance is “a work in progress” and there will be several meetings regarding the issue.
City Fire Department Chief Duane Miller stated the International Building Codes are a guideline.
Landlords, contractors, and builders along with other citizens were encouraged to submit lists of items they think should be regulated and permitted in building codes.
Mayor Morrow mentioned there will be more meetings coming up and said those in attendance should make sure they put an email by their name on the sign-in log so the city can send information about when the next meeting will be.
(Minutes from this meeting were provided by the City of Versailles.)
Note: another meeting regarding the issue has been scheduled 5:30 p.m. Thursday, July 22 at City Hall in Versailles.