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Rights & Responsibilities

The City of Columbia has a number of regulations in place meant to protect the quality of life for you and others who call our city home. Becoming familiar with these rules can help you and your neighbors.

By Leigh Kottwitz, Manager of Neighborhood Services

Your rights as a student living off-campus

You have the right to live in a rental unit with a current Certificate of Compliance issued by the City of Columbia. The certificate is evidence that the unit has been registered with the City and inspected for safety and maintenance. You can ask your landlord to see the current certificate or contact the City of Columbia’s Office of Neighborhood Service to verify the unit’s compliance.

If you have a property maintenance issue that is not being addressed in a timely manner by your landlord, you have the right to file a tenant complaint with the City. After you have filed the complaint, a city inspector will visit your unit, document any issues and give your landlord a deadline to make the repairs. Always talk with your landlord first and give them an opportunity to fix the problem, and don’t withhold rent due to a maintenance issue.

Citizen Rental Complaint Form and Consent to Enter Property

Your responsibilities:

  • Two’s a party, three’s a crowd and 10 or more can cost you! A social gathering of 10 or more people on residential property that results in certain crimes happening at the site of the gathering is considered a nuisance party with a minimum fine of $500 per person.
  • Keep the exterior of your property clean. Loose trash must be picked up or the leased tenants/owner of a property are subject to ticketing by the Police.
  • Know your trash day. Bagged trash cannot be placed on the curb earlier than 4:00 p.m. the day prior to scheduled pick-up day.
  • Don’t put a couch or recliner on the porch. Furniture manufactured for indoor use may not sit outside longer than 48 hours if it can be viewed from off of the property.
  • Car talk. Parked vehicles may not block driveways and sidewalks or be parked in the yard. Vehicles may not park on a city street longer than 24 consecutive hours. Priority Snow Route – Parking Prohibited. Whenever snow accumulates more than 2 inches on the roadway, any vehicle parked on a designated snow route must be moved off of the roadway immediately per city ordinance 14-304.
  • Get in the zone. Don’t break the City’s zoning laws by allowing too many people to live in your unit. No more than three unrelated people can live together in R-1 and some PUD zoning and no more than four may live together in other zoning districts.

Tenant’s Rights and Responsibilities:

  • Pay rent on time.
  • Pay for damages resulting from your own negligence, guest or pet.
  • Don’t take on additional occupants or subleasing without the property owners written permission.
  • Allow the property owner access to the premises to make repairs and inspections.
  • Follow ALL provisions of the lease.

Property Owner Rights and Responsibilities:

  • Property is livable and complies with building and housing codes.
  • Make and pay for timely repairs due to ordinary use.
  • Not turning off utilities.
  • Not unlawfully discriminating.
  • Not raise rent or change other lease provisions without 1 months written notice.