Ignorance is not an excuse, but…

The common phrase is that ignorance of the law is no excuse. In this case, I have some clients who just received a $1,000 ticket for renting a home without a business license. If this was their profession and they had 20 or so units, a $1,000 fine probably wouldn’t be a good thing but it could be absorbed. But when you are in your 80’s and retired it is a pretty big impact. Especially when the ticket is the first time you’ve heard of the new regulations.

I’ve talked to 4 property management companies, some with properties in the same area and none of them were familiar with this law. Makes me wonder how much effort the city took to alert property owners of the change.

As of January 1, 2005, the City of Des Moines (Washington, not Iowa) added rental of residential real property to the list of business that require a business license. In addition to a business license, the landlord is now also required to obtain “crime free housing endorsement

6 thoughts on “Ignorance is not an excuse, but…

  1. Perhaps my view is tainted and to give it context it comes from PA from a Biochemist:

    Ok, I just faced down drug dealers today, one with 2 tattoed tears (1 murder in prison per tear) and anticipate an attempt on my life as I try to maintain a safe building(s) for multiple families(4) by evicting another drug dealer.

    The above requirements sound rediculous when a landlord can screen all he/she wants, but if the data is not present they are out of luck, and ~$40. So great, we have to meet fire and safety code requirements (including BOCA codes when making renovations in my area) and now the police, who may not even answer our requests for a drive by, have their subjective opinions. After today, they can… well you can guess.

    Frankly, someone should talk with an attourney and fight the new regulations. The $1000 fine also should go to court and face the review of a judge. It is rulings and fines like these that make the little guy like me get out, hence driving building prices down and the quality thereof.

    Side note: I had the neighborhood cleaned up as a direct result of who I rented to. Now I am humbled by my error. A crime free rental is simply a matter of who we choose to rent to, not how the building is laid out.

  2. Police State comes to mind – property rights continue to erode. Crime is bad in Desmoines and this extra tax has not helped owners in those areas.
    Scam and joke also come to mind –

  3. I am a tenant in a 4 plex we have been have an ongoing problem with one of the other tenants. The Des Moines police have done nothing and in fact laughed at us. My landlord went through the training and has paid the $400 per year for the building. If Des Moines wants to have these laws then they should actually follow through with trying to clean up the crime problem. My neighbor is selling and making drugs in her apartment. If you have any ideas on how to help us please contact me

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