Bill aimed at rental inspections & safety

LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - A new proposal could make things safer for people living in apartments or rental homes by requiring the city to develop its own inspection program for rental units.

On Tuesday at the State Capitol, the Urban Affairs Committee heard testimony about senator Justin Wayne's proposal aimed at renter safety.

10/11 NOW spoke with a Lincoln woman in favor of the bill, who says she knows first hand just how bad things can get.

Claudia Fullerton says she just wanted a safe place for her and her daughter to live.

"There are some things that need to be fixed in a timely manner,” said Fullerton.

Fullerton says last year she was living in an apartment here in Lincoln with mold covering the bathroom.

"Those are things that you know, are potential exposures to one's health that could definitely be a huge issue down the road,” said Fullerton.

After reporting it to her landlord, she says he retaliated and ended up evicting her.

"You feel powerless. And I mean I know it is not my responsibility. And it was really just a bad situation as a whole to go through,” said Fullerton.

She's one of many backing a bill to protect renters.

Proposed by Omaha Senator Justin Wayne, it would require cities to create rental inspection programs and require landlords to register with the city.

"To me, if you buy a home, you get an inspection before you move in. That same thing should happen at rental places. Just because you're not buying, doesn't mean you're not worth making sure it is safe and sound,” said Senator Justin Wayne.

He's bringing this bill forward because of the shocking conditions found at Yale Park Apartments in Omaha last Fall.

There, nearly 500 people were left without a place to live.

Senator Wayne says there has to be a better way to be proactive and Fullerton agrees, things need to change, now.

"It's just going to be good all the way around for tenants in that position, and that have experienced that first hand like myself,” said Fullerton.

The committee still needs to vote to send it to the floor.

If it does pass, the legislature says there would be a significant cost to the cities of Lincoln and Omaha.