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Inspection fees increase for rental properties in West Lafayette

Inspection and certification fees for rental properties in West Lafayette are increasing. A final vote from city council approved the measure earlier this week.

Posted: Jul 13, 2018 11:37 PM
Updated: Jul 13, 2018 11:40 PM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Inspection and certification fees for rental properties in West Lafayette are increasing. A final vote from city council approved the measure earlier this week.

"We see a need as the city grows that we're going to have to inspect more apartments," said West Lafayette Fire Chief Tim Heath.

If you're a landlord in West Lafayette, inspection and certification fees are about to cost you. However, according to Fire Chief Tim Heath those costs are worth it.

"The fees that we're charging, really the bottom line for us on the fire department side safety for the students," said Heath.

The city council just passed a new ordinance that will make inspection and certification fees for rental properties higher. The ordinance also includes Airbnbs.

"So one of the things that the rental team inspection does is when they go into that apartment, they have check list, and they start looking at the electric in the building, the windows, the exits, the smoke alarms, the plumbing," said Heath.

The fire department currently runs the inspection program. Rental Housing Director Dale Dixon said the increase will generate revenue to put back into the inspection program, especially with new rentals coming to the downtown area.

"When all of the current construction projects are completed we're going to be a little over 22,000 rental beds in this community. And it's a lot," said Dixon. "So another set of eyes from people who do this every day is a good thing for the transient population we have in tenants that come and go."

So what are the new fees? In the past, landlords paid $150 per building and $2 per unit. Under the new program, they'll have to pay $48 per bedroom at every inspection. However, the inspection is good for four years.

"The whole reason for it is the life and safety aspect and to get another set of eyes in all of these units," said Dixon.
The new fees will go into effect in June 2019.

As News 18 previously reported, several property owners spoke out against the increases at city meetings leading up to the vote. They implied they would be forced to pass the costs on to renters.

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