City of Mountain Grove requires an inspection on all rental property before tenants can move in

MOUNTAIN GROVE, Mo. -- In Mountain Grove, every single rental home must be inspected before a new tenant is allowed to move in.

The Residential Inspection Report is a very important piece of paper. Before you can move into any rental property inside the city limits, the fire department must inspect that property. And if you want to have the water bill under your name, the city must have this first.

The fire department started the inspections around two years ago.

In 2018 Chief Mark Bushong says the department inspected around 200 homes. They've already done three this week.

He says the inspection idea came about while looking at a single moms home where the heating stove had been taken out in the dead of winter by a landlord.

"They were using extension cords and space heaters and it was really a dangerous situation for a single mom and her kids. So I got to thinking, you know, the fire department's mission is to save lives and property and this is a disaster waiting to happen," Chief Mark Bushong told KY3.

He says the inspection holds landlords accountable and helps the city out.

"It's increased the quality of rental property offered to the people. Instead of stuff that has problems and the renter has to complain, complain, complain, we go in and inspect it and try to head off those problems before they occur. The safety has increased," Bushong said.

One of the main things firefighters look for during the inspection is a know life-saver.

"You have to have smoke detectors. Fire prevention...you can ask any fireman, fire prevention is a whole lot better than fighting fires," Bushong exclaimed.

Ethel Cunningham is still in the process of moving into her home that was inspected Tuesday.

She says she can sleep peacefully knowing the home had a professional inspection.

"Because when you get to be my age, you feel uncomfortable sometimes moving into different properties, so yes I think it's a good idea," Cunningham explained.

Her landlord, Gary Carder owns 27 rental properties in Mountain Grove.

The city requires landlords to pay a yearly $25 fee and register their properties through the city.

"That's the way it ought to be. They ought to have these old houses fixed up nice. They look a lot better and the town will be a lot better. We have too many old houses, that need to be fixed up," Carder added.

Currently, 101 landlords have registered with the city, for a total of 381 properties.

Carder says good homes typically means good renters.

"People like to live in nice houses. I want people to stay in them and afford them. I want to take care of them and they take care of my houses," Carder said.