On October 29, 2019, the City held a Rental Housing Forum in partnership with the Student Government Association at Kansas State University (KSU). The goal of the Forum was to get both the landlord and tenant perspectives on rental issues in Manhattan, and to raise awareness about available resources.
To accomplish that goal, the KSU Student Government Association distributed a 17-question survey for student, as well as faculty/staff, renters. The survey was also posted on the City’s website and social media outlets. The renter survey generated 142 responses. The survey results were presented at the Forum.
Highlights from the Renter Survey include:
- Rental Unit websites are the most commonly used tool to find a rental property
- Renters care more about price and condition than location of property
- The vast majority of renters don’t know that Manhattan has a voluntary rental inspection service
- 25% of respondents personally know of landlord retaliation
The City developed a separate 17-question survey for landlords and distributed it through the Manhattan Landlord Registry consisting of 1,800 emails. The landlord survey generated 129 responses.
Highlights from the Landlord Survey include:
- Landlords are on social media – good place to build the tenant-landlord relationship
- Landlords are investing in their properties each year
- Nearly 70% have not evicted nor canceled a lease in past two years, but when they did it was primarily because of missed rent payments
- 66% have concern for the local rental market (and ability to fill their units)
- 73% say the housing quality in Manhattan, based on City Housing Codes, is “good or excellent”
- 97% think their properties in Manhattan, based on City Housing Codes, are “good or excellent”
Other Forum presentation topics included information on the Kansas Residential Landlord and Tenant Act and the Fair Housing Act by Housing and Credit Counseling, Inc., plus updated information from the City’s recent rental inspections provided by the Risk Reduction Division of the Manhattan Fire Department. A Panel Discussion followed which was moderated by the KSU Student Body President with two landlords and two renters (one a KSU student and one on the KSU faculty).
Key comments made by the panelists, include:
- Manhattan rental properties don’t appear to have a large presence on the internet and resources are lacking for tenants. Other communities and universities have more resources and are easier to find.
- The City needs to do a better job highlighting its rental inspection service and other tenant-landlord resources.
- KSU doesn’t provide adequate resources for off-campus housing (information, education, etc.).
- Property and property management is constantly changing hands.
The Forum concluded with attendees having the opportunity to get more information on a variety of rental resources, including the City’s rental inspection service, KSU off-campus housing resources, Off-base resources for Fort Riley stationed personnel, sub-leasing and lease information, and general tenant – landlord information from the Kansas Residential Landlord and Tenant Act and the Fair Housing Act.
As a result of the Forum, the City Commission received two recommendations from the KSU Student Government Association asking for the City to create an ordinance requiring rental agreements to include an addendum about the Kansas Fair Housing Act and information on the City’s voluntary rental inspection service, as well as establish a new Tenant-Landlord Committee to help advise the City Commission on tenant-landlord issues and how to enhance that relationship. The City Commission will deliberate on both recommendations in early 2020.
To find out more, or to request an inspection, visit the Renting in Manhattan section of the City's website at https://cityofmhk.com/2838/Renting-in-Manhattan.