Many properties in Forest City are occupied by renters. Some of these are university students while still others are trying to get a foothold on the American dream of owning a home. A few of these tenants may live in circumstances where the landlord does not keep the home safe or habitable. There may be problems with appliances, heating, cooling, or structural issues that need to be addressed. However, the fear of speaking out may generate thoughts of retaliation by the landlord who may raise the rent because of the legitimate complaint.
Forest City tried unsuccessfully to implement a rental housing inspection program where a representative from the city would inspect a home once every three years regardless of whether the home was occupied or not. This drew the ire of tenants who felt that they may be getting singled out because homeowners did not have to follow the same compliance. Some felt like it was an invasion of privacy while others contended that this would raise rent dramatically because of the repairs that might be needed.
City officials and landlords settled on a Tenant Complaint Form that could be filed by a tenant over a growing concern or issue with the property they lived in. City Administrator Barb Smith explained the form and its make-up.
The form will then be submitted to the city for processing and further action according to Smith.
The city designed the form to give a voice to the tenants who may feel they have no other recourse when it comes to issues that are not being resolved by the landlord. The form gives the tenant a lot of leeways when it comes to the issues.
City governments have programs in place to monitor landlords to make sure they are complying with federal and state housing regulations. According to Smith, Forest City is trying to stay on pace with the monitoring process.
The forms are available by request at City Hall.