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CODE-INQUIRY: Rental Safety Verification Program (RSVP)

The Rental Safety Verification Program promotes the health and safety of rental homes in the City by requiring rental properties meet minimum quality standards of environmental and building maintenance. Upon the successful completion of inspection, Code Enforcement will issue a Certificate of Rental Safety. A rental with a Certificate of Rental Safety is in compliance with minimum housing standards. These standards are not new; they are the existing standards of the adopted International Property Maintenance Code, International Residential Code, City Ordinance, and the Indiana Unsafe Building Law.

What properties will be eligible and how will I be able to schedule an RSVP inspection?

Residential rental properties within the City of South Bend need a Certificate of Rental Safety or exemption waiver. Property owners can apply for an exemption waiver if they were built within the last 10 years, are maintained/subsidized by a government agency, or fall under occupancy arrangements such as group homes, temporary homestays, contract sales, or certain owner-occupied situations.

Property owners and managers can contact 311 and ask for the Department of Code Enforcement or call 574-235-9586 to speak with the program manager. Renters who suspect they may be living in substandard conditions may file a complaint with Code Enforcement at any time by calling 311.

What would happen during a RSVP inspection and who needs to be present?

A Code Enforcement inspector will look at the conditions of the property inside and outside the unit. The inspector will have a checklist of items to look for such as: chipping/peeling paint, visible leaks, working plumbing and electrical systems, proper sanitation, and adequate heat. The inspector will not go through personal items or require documentation from renters. Once approved, the inspector will issue a Certificate of Rental Safety. If the property does not pass inspection, the property owner/agent will be notified of violations, provided time to make repairs, and required to schedule a reinspection. The inspector will prepare an inspection report for the property that will be sent to the property owner and available to the renter.

The property owner, or designated agent of the owner (which could be the tenant if designated by the owner), must be present during the inspection. Renters are welcome to attend the inspection or can choose to arrange entry to the property with the owner.

How much will it cost and how often is it inspected?

Property owners and managers will be provided two inspections at no cost to them. If identified problems are not fixed after two scheduled visits, Code Enforcement will charge a service fee for additional inspections. Fees may occur in instances of noncompliance for occupancy or appointment scheduling.

The Certificate of Rental Safety is issued for a period of five years to one year. Properties that initiate contact with Code to schedule an inspection and pass on the first inspection will be granted a five-year term. Properties that require multiple visits to pass inspection will be granted a shorter period of time on the Certificate of Rental Safety.

 

When will the property be inspected and can it be done before the area is selected?

The RSVP program is a new City service and it will take time for all rental properties to be inspected. To start the RSVP program, the City will select an area and send a notice to all the owners of record within that area to schedule inspections.

Absolutely! Property owners and managers are encouraged to contact Code Enforcement before receiving a notice to schedule an inspection. Properties scheduled before receiving notice that pass on first inspection will be granted an extra year on the Certificate of Rental Safety.

Can I hire someone else to inspect my property?

Indiana law allows owners to engage certain private inspectors at their own cost to conduct property inspections. Owners who choose this option can apply for an exemption waiver once they supply proof of an inspection that meets these legal criteria instead of receiving the City inspection.

For 311:

1.  Do you want to schedule a RSVP inspection?  If yes, submit a Service Request with call back number provided.