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Raising annual rental license fees was one thing.  But when officials in Columbia, Missouri added yet another regulatory requirement, landlords cried foul.

According to a news report, the Columbia City Council proposed a law which will require landlords to complete an “occupancy disclosure” form at leasing, verifying each occupant, and placing it on file with the city.

Landlords expressed concern that not only would this new requirement be onerous, but it would force them to violate their tenants’ privacy by revealing sensitive information.

Over the past two years, landlords across the country have been slammed with a barrage of government regulatory requirements, from non-smoking disclosures in Oregon, to radon disclosures in Maine, to the most recent voter registration requirement in Madison.  In 2010, Athens, Georgia adopted an “education form” where landlords are required to apprise tenants of their civic duties, including the rules for littering and the city’s occupancy standards. Landlords are challenging that law in court.

City officials in Columbia say that the intent of their proposed disclosure law is to cut down on overcrowding in rental properties.

For landlords, it’s just one more burden that falls on their shoulders, leaving them vulnerable to fines for failing to police the local laws.

The proposal to increase rental licensing fees – nearly doubling them in some situations — was placed on hold pending a study of the city’s actual costs for a rental inspection program, according to the report.

City officials say they will continue to collect comments on the occupancy disclosure form and forward the public input to the City Council.

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