News & Resources

Mayor to fight crime with landlords

Feb 23, 2012 Matt Roesly

Omaha, Nebraska, mayor Jim Suttle recently announced his intention to use building code requirements - not tenant background screening - to force violent offenders out of the city, the World-Herald reports. In his State of the City address, Suttle vaguely explained his aim of targeting landlords to decrease violent crime. "The general idea is to use the city's building code as a way to pressure landlords who rent to violent offenders," Aida Amoura, Suttle's spokeswoman, told the media outlet. "If you have a landlord that has to make repairs, the rent is going to go up. It's going to cost more, and it's going to push these people out." In his address, Suttle pointed out that there's a "strong correlation" between substandard housing and criminal activity. Many of these homes have broken windows, holes in the roof, missing gutters or bad stairs - and homeowners in violation of these codes could spend up to six months in jail if they don't eradicate the problem within two months. However, John Chatelain, president of the Omaha Property Owners Association, points out that many people in the area are Section 8 renters, meaning their homes are inspected annually by the Omaha Housing Authority and are most likely up to code, The Hall reports.