Building Safety Division Launches Online Program for Housing Inspections & Rental Registration
The City of Urbana recently launched a new online system for managing building permits, code enforcement, and other request tracking. Using a cloud-based program called Citizenserve, many of the City’s Building Safety-related applications, requests for payment, and customer request forms, are now available online. In addition, Citizenserve will now provide the capability to accept both tenant and neighborhood complaints online.
Within the next few days, Urbana rental property owners will receive their annual registration notice and form in the mail. The mailing will also include instructions for accessing the City’s Rental Registration portal and instructions for registering online here.
The City’s housing inspectors are responsible for systematically inspecting more than 9,400 rental-housing units contained within 21 zones, with a goal of inspecting all units within a five- to six-year cycle. In addition, inspectors respond to over 100 tenant and neighborhood related complaints each year. Housing inspectors also perform annual inspections of 22 certified housing facilities under contract with the University of Illinois, annual inspections of three mobile homes parks, and bi-annual inspections of 21 hotel/motel properties.
Transitioning the City’s rental housing inspection program to an automated system will allow inspectors to quickly and efficiently complete inspections, prepare reports, and to track correction of violations. The online program will automate the City’s Rental Registration program to facilitate online payment of registration fees and to compile registration information into a database that can be coordinated with other City departments and databases.
“The implementation of this new web-based Rental Registration tool will provide the convenience for property owners/managers to register and pay online, and is available 24 hours a day,” according to John Schneider, City of Urbana Community Development Manager. “For those who prefer not to use the internet to register, we will also continue to process Rental Registration and payment in paper & check form.”
The City will also be working with Citizenserve to replace the City’s current building permit software system, which has reached its useful lifespan, and is no longer supported by the manufacturer. The new software will improve the process for plan review and building permit issuance allowing for more efficient coordination and information sharing among city departments involved in the plan review process.
The City’s cost to secure the Citizenserve software was just over $33,000 allocated in the fiscal year 2016-2017 budget and annual fees will be budgeted in subsequent fiscal years estimated at around $16,000.
Click here to view a short video on how the Citizenserve system works and how you, as a rental property owner/manager or tenant can take advantage of this electronic system.