DALLAS – A full council chamber and an overflow crowd filled city hall on Tuesday night to discuss proposed changes to the minimum housing standards for Dallas rental properties.
There were no votes from council members, but a lot of opinions and feelings from tenants frustrated with problems ranging from heating and cooling to who pays for bed bug removal and mold abatement.
Arthur Kibble told News 8 earlier Tuesday he could not attend the meeting because he had to go to work. He added his landlord never puts in the needed work on his rental home in South Dallas.
“The roof needs to be done,” Kibble said.
When Kibble moved in three years ago, it was a rent he could afford but he says the problems with the home continued to mount.
“I told them this house is sinking and leaning – sinking in,” Kibble said.
Kibble’s home is not an anomaly. There are rental properties - single family homes in bad shape that city code officers are not permitted to inspect.
It’s bad enough the city has sued his landlord Dennis Topletz, who owns nearly 200 similarly rundown properties throughout the city.
Kris Sweckard heads up code compliance for the city of Dallas.
“At the end of the day it’s up to the property owner to maintain that property,” Sweckard said.
Sweckard says he is closer to asking the council to vote on a plan to allow the city to inspect the inside of single-family rent homes.
“If we can ensure a minimum property standard that’s uniform throughout the city, I think we’re elevating the quality of our city,” Sweckard said.
Sweckard says allowing inspections of single family rentals would avoid the situation on Clarendon near the Dallas Zoo where a judge ordered tenants to vacate seven shotgun shacks last month because of unlivable conditions.
Apartment complexes are already subject to interior code inspection, but that requirement has never been in place for single family homes.
The council could vote on changes to chapter 27 of the housing code at their June 22nd meeting or in August.
Code compliance would like to see the plan implemented by October.