General Rental License Program image

Over the past two years the city has worked on revising its rental license program. Now Red Wing has introduced the ordinance and can vote to implement it in the next meeting. 

Council President Becky Norton said on Monday, “It’s really important to know that the purpose of this is to provide public safety, safe housing for our renters.” 

Community Development Director Dan Rogness and Community Engagement Facilitator Michelle Leise have been working with the council and community on this project for a couple of years. They explained in their report for Monday’s meeting that the program “was previously in place numerous years ago but halted due to legal action. Numerous meetings have resulted in the current proposal.”

Aspects of the new rental license program 

  • Annual rental licenses would be issued to all rental property owners. Inspections will be done in a property every three years. 

  • Property owners will be charged $40 per unit per year to pay for the program. 

  • Fees will be adjusted for HRA public housing — fees would be $20 per unit due to an existing federal inspection program — and new constructions will pay only half of the fee for the first three years of occupancy. 

  • Owners or agents must be present for the inspection and notify tenants at least 72 hours before said inspection. 

  • The city will be divided into three zones. Each zone will be inspected once every three years. Meanwhile, buildings with 20 or more units can be set aside as “floating” to be inspected as time allows within the three-year period.

Ongoing discussion 

The council made a few changes to the program during Monday’s meeting. First, the original proposal was to set aside $5,000 “for costs of potentially housing a person or family short-term if they have to be immediately removed from their rental unit due to an emergency health and safety issue.”

The council voted to instead set aside $10,000 to help renters find new or temporary housing if that is needed after an inspection. 

Council member Evan Brown said on Monday that he had spoken with a renter who voiced some concern for the possibility of renters becoming homeless. Brown explained, “They agreed with the idea of the program because of what the program meant but they were concerned because it’s not easy if you’re displaced to then come up with first, last and new rent and just to move on that could be $5,000 right there.” 

The council also asked the city to start the program on the east side of town after hearing from residents. The original plan was to begin in the western portion. 

Rogness told the council that the main reason the west side was going to be inspected first was because when the program was previously implemented, the easterly side was the first one completed. 

Norton responded, “The previous inspection program was 10 years ago, the last time that homes were inspected, so all of the homes are well due at this point.” 

The ordinance will appear before the council Aug. 9.

(1) comment

Pam Thompson

Where does the city council expect the tennants to go if their rental unit is deemed unsafe? If they haven't noticed there is a severe rental shortage in this city. Will they assist tenants with moving?

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