Rental inspection controversy heating up in Pierre. Resident advocates for denying unclean renters the ability to live in town.

So, the Pierre City Commission seems hell-bent on imposing a heavier hand of government and a number of restrictions on property owners despite an overwhelming number of people testifying against it.  Nevermind the exception of one person who believes that if someone has something junky in their yard then they should be thrown out of the darn town:

“Now you have it that it’s mandatory that all of these apartments can be inspected,” Maher said. “I don’t agree that you have the right to come into all of my buildings and inspect, no more than the tenant that lives there will let you in. That is a right of private property that you’re changing from that I’m surprised, in this state, we would even think about that. So that’s a major change that I’d ask you to think about, not the nitty-gritty of this, but is this good public policy to start imposing on the people that have built these apartments?”


“I had offered, and I know the homebuilders’ association offered and said, ‘Hey, let’s sit down in a working group, committee, whatever, and get us stakeholders involved and sit down and work this out, see if we can come up with some alternatives that everybody can live with,’” Moses said. “That hasn’t happened. It should happen. I don’t know why you don’t want to do that. That’s the way to get the consensus is get us involved.”

and it goes downhill from here….

“I think it is really essential that people hold their renters responsible or be responsible themselves,” Likness said. “The renters are not fulfilling their obligation. I would really like to see the city clean some of those places up, and if you have to remove their right to rent, that would be fine, too.”

Read the entire story here.

So, what happens if someone has their right to rent “removed?”  Do they have to live in a car, or are they simply banished to Fort Pierre?  I can’t help but be reminded of something else. According to wikipedia..

Redlining is the systematic denial of various services to residents of specific, often racially associated, neighborhoods or communities, either explicitly or through the selective raising of prices. While the best known examples of redlining have involved denial of financial services such as banking or insurance, other services such as health care or even supermarkets have been denied to residents.

I have to think that denying someone the ability to rent to move the undesirables out of the neighborhood is bumping up pretty closely against this definition.

Regardless, from the feedback finding it’s way to me across the state, I don’t think this issue is remotely close to being done.

5 thoughts on “Rental inspection controversy heating up in Pierre. Resident advocates for denying unclean renters the ability to live in town.”

  1. This has been a well known and common issue in Pierre over the years. There are some apartments in Pierre that flat out are not fit for someone to live. For example, a person with a disability came to my office one day complaining that every time someone flushed their toilet in the apartment above, raw sewage would bubble up in this person’s bathtub. It was unsafe and unsanitary to say the least. The apartment owner would not address the issue and there was few options for the renter other than trying to find another place to live (there wasn’t anything available in this person’s price range). This is just one of many stories of the poor conditions in the Pierre rental market. Because there had been few new apartments built over the years, owners could get away without taking care of their properties. I applaud the city commission for trying to do something about it and I hope they can find some common ground with the owners.

  2. The answer to this isn’t more government, specifically with not setting up a work group with interested parties first.

    I get a kick out of the post above, as it doesn’t recognize that if these go into effect, the price of housing is going to skyrocket, and there won’t be anything available in people’s price range…. Way to go PP for shedding some light on this.

  3. It will absolutely be challenged in court if they pass it. Plenty of precedent out there throwing them out as a violation of 4th amendment rights.

  4. grudznick used to keep a collection of “antique” cars in my lawn, but Sam Shaw’s minions came and told me I had to move them around to the back of the house a few hundred yards off the view of the drive. Can I put them back now?

  5. The Pierre rental ordinance is a cash grab by the city. There are already plenty of laws and regulations on the books that can protect renters and landlords, they only need to be enforced. The fact is, most commercial rental operations that receive federal subsidies are inspected on a regular basis. Lenders and insurors inspect their collateral and risk all the time. Most of the problem rentals in Pierre are smaller operations with older small houses, large older ones that have been divided into apartments and mobile homes.
    The example house given in the story has had over a dozen police calls including domestic violence, child welfare check, meth, one stabbing and one shooting. How many police calls does it take to be labeled a nuisance property? Little to no maintenance has been done over the years. A new roof was installed to stop the interior mold growth. The yard is all unmowed weeds and bare earth from the dogs. Not what most people want to live next door to.
    When a rental house, smack dab in the middle of a single-family owner occupied neighborhood, begins to affect the property values of many peoples single biggest investment, then something needs to be done. The laws, rules and regulations are in place now. The City needs to talk to a landlord in this case and he to the renters. In this case here, I wonder if the landlord here would live in his own property? Then again, I wonder if he would pay the $1200 per month he gets for the place.

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