What if a renter suspects they may be living in substandard conditions?
Renters who suspect they may be living in substandard conditions such as below are always encouraged to call Neighborhood Services & Enforcement 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
How can I schedule a RSVP inspection? Where do I find the State Parcel Number which is needed for the request to inspect? Who needs to be present during the inspection? What days/times are inspections scheduled? How much does the inspection cost? Can I hire someone else to inspect my property?
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 left corner of map.
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.
Inspections are scheduled Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
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 Services & Enforcement will charge a service fee of $100 for additional inspections. Fines may occur in instances of continued noncompliance or issues with appointment scheduling.
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.
How can I learn more about the Rental Safety Verification Program? What properties need to be inspected? Are there exemptions? How will I know if a property has a current Certificate of Rental Safety?
The Rental Safety Verification Program requires an inspection of all residential property that is intended to be occupied by anyone other than the owner.
Residential rental properties, 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).
These groups do not need to file for exemption: temporary homestays, contract sales, or certain owner-occupied situations.
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.
How can I prepare for an inspection? 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 Services & 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 goal is for the inspection to be completed within 20-30 minutes.
Once approved, the inspector will issue a Certificate of Rental Safety. This will be mailed to the owner and to the address of inspection.
How often would properties be inspected? What if the property does not pass inspection? Are there resources available to help with home repairs?
The Certificate of Rental Safety is issued for a period of five (5) years to one (1) year. Property owners who initiate contact with Neighborhood Services & Enforcement 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.
When will my property be inspected? Can I get my property inspected before my area is selected for inspection? What if I don't want to schedule an appointment?
The RSVP program is a new City service and it will take time for all rental properties to be inspected. The first year of the program (2019) will focus on
- properties that have active housing cases with Code as of 2/28/19,
- referrals from the Health Department,
- any landlord requests for inspection, and
You can absolutely get your property inspected before your area is selected! 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.