No, you didn’t misread that. We just found out that the landlord of Yale Park has gotten permits to make repairs to Yale Park so he can reopen it. And all of this is 100% legal under Omaha’s current laws. As of right now, there is no law that can strip a landlord of their landlord license. Why? Because there are no landlord licenses in Omaha. Anyone can be a landlord. There is no registration, no licensing, no mandatory inspections to make sure units are safe and free of gas leaks and electrical issues, no classes that landlords are required to take, no certification program, no degree needed, and no training. Nothing. Our city requires NOTHING if someone wants to rent out property. There isn’t even a list of who owns what, because landlord registration is not required.
Ironically, the city knows who owns every cat and dog in Omaha, because pet registration is required. But landlord registration? Nope, it’s not considered important. Even though there are complex elements involved in managing a property, like maintaining minimum housing code such as proper installation and maintenance of water heaters, gas lines, electrical panels, furnaces, and air conditioners…there is no oversight or training or anything required to make sure things are done right.
Is this the way it is across Nebraska? No. In our state capital, Lincoln, landlords are required to have licenses if they rent out 3 or more units, and there are mandatory inspections. In order to get your license renewed there, you have to have your property inspected to make sure it is safe and up to minimum housing code. Lincoln gets it. They understand the importance of oversight in keeping housing safe.
Yet, here in Omaha, it’s like we’re living in the Wild West. Where anything goes, and anyone can do anything, with minimal consequences.
The landlord of Yale Park recklessly neglected his duties and as a result, hundreds of people lived for years in conditions of:
- collapsed ceilings
- serious plumbing issues
- toilets leaking into living rooms
- deplorable cockroach infestations
- deplorable bed bug infestations
- deplorable mouse infestations
- instances of no heat in the winter for 1 to 2 weeks
- instances of no hot water for over 4 months
- instances of broken air conditioners for entire summers
- broken locks
- no locks on most of the back doors
- sewage lines with holes drilled into them that were not covered so sewage fumes were pouring into apartments
- electrical panels without covers that would have killed people if someone had touched them
- outside electrical panels with no covers that could have started fires in walls
- carbon monoxide leaking from water heaters
- natural gas leaks from stoves and outside gas lines
- rats running around the property
- broken RVs and other vehicles of the landlord parked all over the grounds
Not to mention that in 2015, the landlord was trying to fix an air conditioner himself, with no HVAC license, and ended up causing an explosion that gave a little boy third degree burns on 40% of his body. Could it get worse than that? Yes, it did. The landlord refused to call 911, instead placing the boy in the bathtub and tried to take care of the burns himself. That child was hospitalized for TWO MONTHS and he could have died from the severity of his burns. Last year, it was agreed that the little boy will receive a small settlement for what happened to him. Why a small settlement? Because the landlord didn’t have insurance on any of the buildings at Yale Park. And now he is fixing things and is going to open up Yale Park AGAIN.
This in and of itself should be the BIGGEST WAKE UP CALL for all of Omaha! This is unacceptable and we need to PUT OUR FOOT DOWN and say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. We don’t want people like the landlord at Yale Park running apartment complexes. We want our citizens to be safe in their homes.
It is RIDICULOUS and INFURIATING that over 500 people lost their homes because of his complete and utter negligence, and yet our laws allow him to only be fined $50,000 (maximum fine of $500 per 100 of his misdemeanor charges) AND he can open the place back up and be a landlord again. THIS IS WRONG.
Our laws need to change.
We’ve asked you before to call your senators and email your council members, and you have, and it’s working. But with this new knowledge, we need every person reading this to strongly speak out about this. Here is the message we need to send LOUD and CLEAR to our state senators, our council members and our mayor:
Dear Senator/ Council member/ Mayor,
It has come to the public’s knowledge that the landlord of Yale Park has gotten permits to start fixing Yale Park so he can open it again. Over 500 people lost their homes because of his severe negligence, and because of this he should not be allowed to be a landlord in our city EVER again. We don’t want landlords like this. We demand that the city enact landlord licenses. If someone wants to be a landlord, they need to get a license. This is not an unreasonable request. The city of Omaha currently requires that everyone who has a cat or dog has to get a license. And there are far more cats and dogs in Omaha than there are landlords. If the city requires citizens to license pets, there is no reason why it cannot require landlords to get licensed. A landlord licencing program would give the city of Omaha the authority to strip away a license, if a landlord commits egregious offenses, like what happened at Yale Park. Enough is enough in Omaha. Lincoln has landlord licenses. Why can’t we? We want change and we want it now.
Please share this with everyone you know. We need our whole city SPEAKING UP and demanding that our elected officials listen to their constituents.
Here is how to contact your City Council member, your Mayor and your state Senator. Remember, we elected them to represent us.
City Council Members
To find what district you live in, visit the city council website and type in your address.
District 1: Pete Festersen Phone: 402-444-5527
District 2: Ben Gray Phone: 402-444-5524
District 3: Chris Jerram Phone: 402-444-5525
District 4: Vinny Palermo Phone: 402-444-5522
District 5: Rich Pahls Phone: 402-444-5528
District 6: Brinker Harding Phone: 402-444-5523
District 7: Aimee Melton Phone: 402-444-5526
Call the Mayor’s Hotline:
Visit the state’s legislature website to find YOUR senator. See the following pictures as an example of how to find your senator. You will need to type in your address, to find who your senator is. Underneath your senator’s picture is a button that says “Web Page.” Click on that and it will take you to their page, which lists their phone number and email address.
Share this far and wide! We need to let our city KNOW that what is happening here in our Omaha is NOT OK.