Proactive rental inspection and private licensing

How it works

We take it for granted that hotels and restaurants should be inspected for health and safety, but those experiences are limited to hours or days. Why should rentals, where tenants live for years, get away with skipping basic maintenance? 60% of Bozeman rents. They shouldn’t be subject to systematic abuses.

Montana law already requires most rentals be up to code and current on maintenance, but the only recourse tenants have to enforce the law is by suing–an impossible task for most. Health and safety enforcement at the local level will make sure tenants are treated with dignity before problems happen.

State law currently prevents cities from doing additional licensing of property managers, but we can make sure private landlords are subject to the same basic standards by requiring they obtain their own license. Once we’re successful at building a coalition to force state legislators to give power back to the people at the local level, a rental inspection program would:

  • Require landlords comply with existing state law and building code, plus any additional local code requirements.
  • Perform mandatory annual inspections to ensure compliance.
  • Make compliance data available to tenants using Code for America’s uniform data standard, already adopted by cities across the country.
  • Ban landlords who are in violation from passing inspection and repairs costs on to tenants, and prevent inspections from being an excuse for additional increases.
  • Require property owners to provide relocation assistance to tenants who have to move because of code violations or related repairs.
  • Allow landlords with a 5-year history of compliance to self-certify and pay reduced fees.

Did you know?

  • Nearly 2 in 5 child asthma cases can be traced back to home contaminants.
  • The majority of falls take place at home, where injuries have led to millions of ER visits nationwide for those 65 and orders.
  • Exposure to lead paint and dust at home is the leading cause of unsafe blood lead levels in children in the U.S.
  • In five years, Sacramento’s inspection program cut dangerous building cases by 22%.

How it benefits you

  • Making sure the most vulnerable among us are safe and secure at home.
  • Reducing exposure to chronic illnesses and asthma triggers caused by mold, lead, and other contaminants.
  • Protecting elderly residents from preventable falls that often lead to cascading health problems.
  • Helping landlords maintain properties by making them proactively aware of problems and preventing costly deferred maintenance.
  • Ensuring our neighbors are treated with dignity and fairness.
  • Preventing gaps where lower income renters have no access to legal representation when they need it most.
  • Putting money in renters’ pockets (and the local economy) by ensuring they don’t have to drain their savings to move because of preventable problems.
  • Maintaining property values and preserving the local tax base.
  • Improving quality of life and community pride!

What it costs

  • About $1.2 million a year, paid for entirely through inspection fees.
  • Fees cost about $100 per unit per year, and less for self-certification.

We've got...


To build a movement mapping out our city's future.