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No regulations for rental properties in Boone County

Boone County deputies respond to hundreds of calls a year on Demaret Drive varying from small complaints to shootings.

But according to deputies it is difficult to enforce regulations on landlords and tenants to prevent some of those crimes.

Inside Columbia city limits, there are laws to make sure every rental property is registered and inspected on a regular basis to make sure they are kept up to code. But rental properties outside of city limits in Boone County have no such laws.

“There are landlords out there that don’t properly manage their property,” Detective Tom O’Sullivan with the Boone County Sheriff’s Department said. “They don’t screen their tenants. They don’t monitor the type of activity that’s going on out there.”

“And we can’t do anything about it because we don’t have, statutorily, the authority to do so,” he said.

In Columbia, rental properties are inspected every six years at a minimum. Inspectors check to make sure everything is well maintained from the home’s roof to the air conditioning unit.

Leigh Britt, the Neighborhood Services Manager for the City of Columbia, said if tenants have a problem between inspections and do not get a response from their landlord, they can file a complaint with the city to fix the issue.

“For those people that have problems where they live, it’s a nice safeguard to know that if they’re not getting a response from the management or the landlord that they can get the city involved and we can advocate to get those problems fixed,” Britt said.

Britt said her office gets about 140 to 170 complaints from renters a year. Even with that many, Britt said inspectors typically go out and handle the issue within one to two days. But if someone lives in the county, they are out of luck.

“It happens often that if someone has a Columbia address, they think they’re living inside the city limits and so they call with a complaint,” Britt said. “The bottom line is that there’s nothing that we can do for them.”

Sen. Kurt Schaefer, (R)-Columbia, tried passing a law last legislative session that would allow Boone County to adopt similar renter regulations as Columbia. But the proposed bill did not pass committee.

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