Substantial Remodel Update – July 6, 2021

Good Afternoon and I hope everyone had a fun July 4th. As many of you are aware there is a city council meeting tomorrow night. Agenda item 35 is the substantial remodel moratorium. The item will likely be heard late into the evening as the council has a busy agenda. My opinion is that the moratorium will pass with five votes, but that doesn’t mean the city council doesn’t need to hear from us on the problems with a moratorium. My major concern with this item is the second 1/2 of it which is calling for a study on a renovation administration program. This study is problematic on so many levels.

There is no doubt that it would impose more fees on rental property owners; force an owner to obtain an approval on the renovation and what you are doing for the tenant being displaced while the remodel is going on. The proposal also would prohibit you from raising the rent on tenants returning to a renovated unit until six months after the completion of the work. After that, rent increases following the limits of the Tenant Protection Act would be allowed. As you can see this will lead all of us down a slippery slope and we need to push back.

I would recommend that you send an email with the following for your consideration.

Dear Mayor and Councilmembers,

I am opposed to item 35 on the agenda for the following reasons.

  1. Why should the entire rental property owner community be penalized for the alleged actions of a few. We have over 7500 owners and like any other industry there are a few bad actors, but as elected officials you have the ability to bring forward civil penalties through the City Attorney’s office to stop this from happening. However, by placing a moratorium on all substantial remodels for the next 90-120 days you are hurting your own economy, (loss revenue in permit fees) and our ability to upgrade properties. At what point is this city council going to recognize that their anti housing provider policies over the past 2 years have had a detrimental effect that small property owners and investors may never recover from.

    What the Mayor and City Council need to be doing is advocating for changes to the federal/state monies that pay deferred rent. Currently, only tenants who’s income is less than 80% of the area median income can apply. That has to change or you will see mass evictions. Landlords should be the applicant for those monies; simplified forms and no strings attached. All tenants had to do through the pandemic was verbally claim they were laid off due to COVID therefore didn’t have to pay rent. Help landlords out by making the process easy and well before September 30th.

As a side note, no one on the council is asking what the city will lose financially with this moratorium. The department that runs substantial remodels, (Development Services) is a self-funded department from the fees collected, so a moratorium will cut into that; in addition, any future ordinance that makes it financially infeasible to do a substantial remodel will only hurt the city’s bottom line. Amount of remodels reduced correlates with less fees generated in Development Services thus causing a ripple effect.

The two council members driving this policy are Councilwomen Cindy Allen (2nd district) and Suely Saro (6th district). They represent downtown and central LB.

All emails need to go to:

If you need to reread the item go to click agenda July 6th item 35.

Call me with any questions.

Kind regards,
Mike Murchison

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