Overland Park officials have made the right decision to move ahead with a new licensing and inspection program of rental housing.
Despite protests from some landlords, the City Council is being proactive on an important issue that faces all cities that are growing older in Johnson County.
Overland Park and these other cities must try to make sure property owners correctly maintain their rental units on the outside, which is the only place the new law applies.
That should include keeping the roof in good shape, the property painted and the yard mowed. When basic things like that are ignored, apartments and other rental housing can begin to be blighting influences on neighborhoods.
And when that happens, the housing values of other nearby property owners can suffer.
The licensing and inspection program is Overland Park’s reasonable attempt to protect those property owners but also make sure landlords provide suitable living conditions to renters.
Some property owners said the city was being too intrusive, but the program does not allow the city to go poking around the inside of a house or apartment and demanding changes.
The plan is not being thrust upon landlords, either. The public had months to study and react to it. Plus, now that the City Council has approved it, the program will be rolled out in measured fashion.
Rental property owners will register for it this July. The city in July 2017 will begin inspecting half of the 30,000 rental properties; the other half will be reviewed starting in July 2018.
Overland Park should continue to decisively deal with what city planning director Jack Messer called a “cycle of decline” and not allow it to spiral out of control, especially in older parts of the city.