What properties need to be inspected?
The Rental Safety Verification Program requires an inspection of all residential units within the City of South Bend that are intended to be occupied by anyone other than the owner. Renters who suspect they may be living in substandard conditions such as below are always encouraged to call Neighborhood Health & Housing by calling 311.
- Electrical systems
- Plumbing systems
- Water and sanitary systems, including hot water
- Bathrooms and toilet facilities
- Heating and ventilation systems
- Doors, windows, stairways, and hallways
- Functional smoke detectors
- Overall structure
- Lead hazards
Residential rental units, within the City of South Bend, need a Certificate of Rental Safety or exemption waiver. Properties can apply for an exemption if:
- they were built within the last 10 years,
- they were inspected by a licensed home inspector in the last 3 years, or
- they were inspected within last 12 months by: HUD, IHCDA, federal or state agency, financial institution, insurance company in Indiana, or inspector who is a registered architect or professional engineer (and not employed by owner or landlord).
A rental property with an exemption may be inspected if the City has reason to believe, or received a complaint, that the rental unit does not comply with applicable Code requirements.
These groups do not need to file for exemption: temporary homestays, contract sales, or certain owner-occupied situations.
Who participates in the inspection?
The property owner, or designated agent of the owner, which could be the tenant, 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.
In cases where the tenant initiates the inspection, the property owner or designated agent of the owner, is not required to be present during the inspection.
Instead of receiving the City inspection, Indiana law allows owners to engage certain private inspectors at their own expense to conduct property inspections. Owners who choose this option can apply for an exemption waiver once they supply proof of an inspection that meets the legal criteria.
What happens during and after an inspection?
A sample inspection checklist is available for owners and residents to know what the inspector will be looking for and where they will need access. Property owners and managers are encouraged to make repairs prior to inspection to save time and avoid penalties. Renters are encouraged to notify their landlords of any repairs needed on the property prior to inspection. Renters are asked to put away any personal items they do not want seen. The inspector will not go through personal items or require documentation from renters.
During a RSVP inspection, a Neighborhood Health & Housing 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 goal is for the inspection to be completed within 20-30 minutes.
Once a unit passes inspection, Neighborhood Health & Housing will issue a Certificate of Rental Safety. This will be mailed to the owner and to the address of inspection.
Properties that have received a Certificate of Rental Safety will soon be searchable by visiting southbendin.gov/rsvp. Inquiries can be made by calling 311 and asking to speak with the RSVP Program Coordinator.
Property owners and managers will be provided two inspections at each property at no cost to them. If identified problems are not fixed after two scheduled visits, Neighborhood Health & Housing will charge a service fee of $100 for additional inspections. Fines may occur in instances of continued noncompliance or issues with appointment scheduling.
How can I schedule a RSVP inspection?
Renters who suspect they may be living in substandard conditions may file a complaint with Neighborhood Health & Housing at any time by calling 3-1-1 or 574-235-9586.
Property owners and managers can contact 3-1-1 and ask for the RSVP Program Coordinator or call 574-235-9586. Property owners and managers of 5 or fewer rental units must complete the Small Owners Request for Inspection form found at southbendin.gov/rsvp, at this link or by contacting 311.
Property owners with greater than 5 rental units must complete the Excel template for more than 5 properties.
To obtain the State Parcel Number visit this link, and use the search field in the upper right corner of map.
When will my property be inspected?
Inspections are scheduled Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Following the owner, designated agent of the owner, or tenant contacting Neighborhood Health & Housing, an inspection will be scheduled at the earliest mutually agreeable time. This is often between 2-5 business days. Depending on inspector availability, inspections may be able to occur within 24 hours.
Property owners and managers are encouraged to contact the RSVP Program Coordinator by calling 311 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 for a total of five years.
Fines may occur in instances of continued noncompliance. “No Inspection Certificate and Illegal for Non-Owner Occupancy” may be posted on the property and an inspection warrant may be obtained.
How often would properties be inspected?
The Certificate of Rental Safety is issued for a period of one (1) year to five (5) years. Property owners who initiate contact with Neighborhood Health & Housing 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.
If the property does not pass inspection, the property owner/agent will be notified of violations, provided 10 to 60 days to allow for repairs, and be required to schedule a re-inspection. The inspector will prepare an inspection report for the property that will be sent to the property owner and available to the renter.
Resources are available if repairs are needed. Visit the RSVP webpage southbendin.gov/rsvp.
A rental property that has received a Certificate of Rental Safety may be inspected prior to the end of its certification period if the City has reason to believe, or received a complaint, that the rental unit does not comply with applicable Code requirements.