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Home · Property Management · Latest News : City Wants to Make it Illegal For Landlords to Do Own Repairs
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handymanDo you need to be licensed and bonded to fix up your rental properties?

Ordinarily the answer is no, but if Omaha lawmakers have their way, landlords in that city will soon be studying for their contractor’s licenses.

According to a local news report, city officials received input from the construction industry before introducing the measure.

Officials say this law is needed to protect the public.

If the measure passes, landlords will need to pass the contractor’s exam, pay an initial $300 fee for the license, and pay the fee again to renew the license in subsequent years. They would also have to carry liability insurance coverage and be bonded.

The alternative to licensing is hiring out projects to licensed contractors, a move that some landlords say will eat up any profits they may be able to make from the rental property.

According to the report, homeowners would still be allowed to do work on their own homes.

One community member commented that the proposed law is a sign that government has gotten too big. She likens the measure to a requirement that stay-at-home moms have a day care license.

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  • Annette

    I disagree with this!!!!!! We can not afford to hire out as it is right now. This goverment needs to get a life and stay our of ours !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Classic government overreach; rent seeking at its worst!
    Are they trying to kill businesses?
    We make multi-family loans ($1mm+) via our website ( and our clients can’t take much more of this type of thing. Vacancy is up, costs are up and the Government just keeps making things harder.

  • Paulette Anderson

    What state is pushing for this outlandish law? I know Los Angeles,CA won’t let the owner paint his own complex. Thus one should see all the run down buildings that are not painted.

  • Doug

    Garbage law and unenforcable, and why would a person need $1million in liability insurance to protect them from themselves?

  • IBQuig

    Is this big government over-reach or is it contractor’s lobbyists using government to keep contractors in business? Probably both. Follow the money and you can find out who’s promoting this nonsense. Will it pass? Probably, because people have become so paranoid that they feel they need government intervention to keep them safe; not to mention that the landlord is always the bad guy.

  • Bobbi

    It’s a way for the government to raise new revenue by requiring this new license fees (AKA taxes). The contractors are happy because it will bring them new business they wouldn’t get otherwise without government intervention. In the end, it will put more property owners out of business and there will be less affordable housing because rents will need to be raised to cover the extra costs.

  • Eric

    That’s absolutely asinine. That’d be impossible to enforce.

  • chris

    We already have rent control – if this is permitted, it should allowed to also pass some increased costs to consumers.

  • ashraf

    Just as an example of what you will see, due to a court order in a civil dispute my partner made me hire a licensed contractor for all repairs. Prior to the court order we had $40K in profit and now I am $20K in the red. I spend about $50K in repairs to fix the place up and my income was rising. Now I think twice about making any improvements.

  • Satinder Gill

    We are giving place to live in return of small profit. And the government keeps making new rubbish laws for landlords. Government should come in our shoes and see how much we make. If that keep going on, one day landlords will be out of business. I am asking the lawmakers a question: If all landlords get out of business, will you be be able to provide housing to all those people who are renting now? Or you will tell them to live on streets. Or are you trying to make contractors happy? If landlords have to pay more money to rent, then they won’t rent, and half of the buildings will be empty, people will be living on the streets or government camps, then you have to feed them. Do you think you are doing justice with renters, No!!! Your laws will spike up the rents to cover costs. Please be gentle with landlords if you want to keep America a heavenly place, a place where the whole world wants to come and live. God Bless America

  • cranky landlord

    “city officials received input from the construction industry before introducing the measure”

    Only input?

    I wonder if changing a light bulb is allowed?

  • mark

    I own properties in several California counties. We have county mandated rental property fees in two counties and the list of counties governments and possibly the state government taking your hard earned cash is growing. Why? The rental housing market is growing the population is shifting from property ownership to renting. Approximately 50% of the properties in California are owner occupied. The counties believe it is a tax revenue base and the property owners lack cohesive political clout to stop these quasi tax revenue generating opportunities. Contra Costa and Sacramento Counties have draconian rental property fee structures that they hammer the rental property owner into paying. Both require the county to hire contractors to inspect the rental properties and determine if work was done without a permit ( and possibly a contractors license) or other building code violations. Most recently in Sacramento county we were required to have a certification signed by the tenant and us certifying that the site has met the standards for occupancy as set forth in the document and then mail the document to the code enforcement folks. The cost difference between me doing the work and hiring a contractor is significant. I have had nothing but harassment and misery from the Contra Costa county building code inspector. Last week I noticed the two houses across the street were blighted. One had dead mattresses parked in the driveway, the other had park dead cars on his lawn I called building code enforcement and they said that it parking the dead cars on the lawn was OK because the property was owner occupied; the mattresses on the other hand had to be dwelt with because the home was occupied by renters . (dead cars and mattresses are the ugliest items to bring down a a neighborhood.)
    I think the worst thing about the intrusiveness is the counties impose a significant fee and not a tax. It is revenue that goes into the general fund.

  • Jim Mobley

    Where do they draw the line…would you have to pay a plumber a $75 service call to replace a flapper in a commode. A 30 second job!

  • Gary Carlson

    Doesn’t anyone in these states vote anymore. If you have a problem with government, look in the mirror.

  • Stephen

    Having looked at many regulations and even more proposed changes I noted that they each start with a perceived problem to fix. When you know what they were trying to fix you can analyze and respond that (1) the problem doesn’t really exist, (2) the fix has unintended consequences that need to be considered, or (3) the problem may exist but the fix doesn’t actually address it. As I look at this proposal I’m having trouble grasping what problem they were trying to fix. Just glad I’m not in Omaha.


    The “problem” being sought is that landlords are seen as amateurs doing dangerous fixes with unintended consequences, so by using only state licensed contractors who are bonded and insured for their work, the leaseholders will have a reliable and safe fix done pursuant to the code and the standards & practices of an industry.

    We landlords need to be able to see through to the root reasons for such laws so that we can respond properly.

    Keep in mind that the contractor lobby will probably bring out charts and pictures of some old 1940’s duct tape wires in leaky basements from a fire that will be proof positive that such legislative action is a must…for the children… wait, the Nazi’s used that logic (and quite effectively).

    Stand up and be heard before you hear the late night knock on your door and a cute kid with a brown shirt is in for a visit,,,

  • Dr. Science

    Mayor of Omaha Jim Suttle, after reading the above article, “Stay at Home Moms needing Daycare Licenses! Why didn’t I think of that! Note to self: Bring this up at the next Council Meeting.”

  • Donald Allen

    well like sheep led to sloter there not much you can do yu live in a free country and they are free to charge whatever they want as long as they say it for safty they are trying to run us out we are not wanted

  • Kim

    I see only good in this from a tenant’s point of view. I am not in Omaha, but I wish this was the law where I lived. My landlord is a great example. She has her husband and father do all of the repairs to the property. They are not contractors and they did not get building permitted for gutting and rehab the unit below me. The quality of work in my apartment and the one below is terrible.
    Upon further inspection after moving in, they didn’t even paint the walls correctly. Don’t get me started with other things. Landlords often half-way to repairs because they think they are handy men.

  • Rosanne Ferreri

    Too many landlords have not a clue how to do repairs to code. BRAVO. This is LONG OVERDUE. Landlords should have to pass a test proving they have the same skills as a LICENSED contractor or a Specialty License to do same. They put tenants at risk when they create DIY lighting and make quick fix patches that are jerry-rigged.

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