By: Lucy Valeski, Columbia Missourian

Rentals in unincorporated areas of Boone County will be held to new minimum standards, like the availability of heat and running water, after the Boone County Commission approved a regulation Thursday.

The regulation aims at balancing support for both landlords and renters by establishing expectations for rent payment and setting up minimum standards for rental properties, according to a news release.

“There are complaints that may trickle in to our Resource Management Office or the Sheriff’s Office,” said Kip Kendrick, the Boone County Presiding Commissioner. “Having a way in which we can address those concerns and complaints and have a process to be able to inspect rental units upon a valid complaint coming forward will help us strike a balance.”

The new rules would require landlords to ensure their properties meet the following standards:

  • Structural protection from the outdoors
  • Access to running water, including hot water
  • Sewer service
  • Access to electrical service
  • Heating
  • Basic security, the minimum being lockable doors and windows

The rules will be enforced through a complaint function. Tenants can file written complaints to Boone County Resource Management. Bill Florea, the director of resource management, is tasked with responding to complaints which will be verified by the county through a site inspection. The county approved a new position responsible for both wastewater management and rental inspection to keep up with complaints.

“We’re optimistic that they can be addressed and in a timely manner, but it’s certainly going to require coordination,” Kendrick said.

However, tenants can only file a complaint if they are up to date on rent payments. Additionally, landlords will not be responsible for services not provided if tenants have not paid utility bills.
The regulation is the first of its kind in Boone County. The commission was not legally allowed to establish standards for rental properties until the passage of a state law in August 2021 that gave the county the authority to regulate property maintenance.

Original article