February 26, 2019
Last night the South Bend Common Council approved a bill launching the Rental Safety Verification Program (RSVP). The bill was co-sponsored by Councilmembers Tim Scott, Jo Broden, Karen L. White, and Regina Williams-Preston. The program will be managed by the Department of Code Enforcement and will allow the City to proactively address violations in rental housing that put residents at risk for health issues and safety concerns.
RSVP promotes the health and safety of renters in the City by requiring that rental properties meet a minimum standard of decent, safe, and sanitary conditions. Upon the successful completion of an inspection, Code Enforcement will issue a property a Certificate of Rental Safety.
Starting in 2019, RSVP inspections will be required of eligible rental properties with active code cases and lead poisoning case-management referrals from the St. Joseph County Health Department. In 2020, the program will be phased in throughout the City based on areas that have shown to have the highest rates of childhood lead poisoning.
“By targeting living conditions, RSVP can improve health outcomes for South Bend residents of all ages,” said South Bend Common Council President Tim Scott (District 1). “This approach will be another tool to combat lead poisoning in aging housing stock.”
“It is important South Bend joins the ranks of cities around the country, including several in Indiana, with rental inspection programs,” said Councilmember Jo Broden (District 4). “As the program gets off the ground, we’ll work to connect landlords to grants and tools to help them meet the requirements. We expect success similar to other communities, as responsible landlords are rewarded and housing options improve.”
“RSVP will help preserve the quality of South Bend’s neighborhoods,” said Mayor Pete Buttigieg. “By protecting vulnerable tenants and stimulating housing reinvestment, this represents an opportunity for long-term improvement for residents throughout South Bend. This also represents a substantial addition to existing lead-safe programs as we work to reduce the risk of lead poisoning in South Bend’s children.”
More details on RSVP are available at southbendin.gov/rsvp.