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Getting Started - Landlords

  • Expectations
  • Rental Housing Compliance
  • Public Housing

For Rent

Where to Start

Before renting a property out to a tenant, a landlord should be familiar with all relevant regulations and expectations. Make sure their property is livable and complies with all building and housing codes. Provide written notice to tenants when ownership of the property is transferred to a new landlord. Do not unlawfully discriminate and be familiar with all fair housing ordinances. Also, do not raise rent or change any other lease provisions without giving the tenant proper notice (generally one month’s written notice from the date rent is due unless the lease says otherwise).

Know the City's Regulations Regarding Rental Units

All rental property within the city limits of Columbia must have a current Certificate of Compliance. Rental regulations apply to all dwellings that are rented including apartment houses, rooming houses, two family dwellings or single family dwelling units.

Owners must apply for a Certificate of Compliance by submitting an application for their rental property. An application consists of the completed form, the proper fees and a HVAC certification form. The application forms and instructions can be found on our website.

Rental Housing Compliance Frequently Asked Questions

What are the city’s regulations regarding rental housing?

All rental property within the city limits of Columbia must have a current Certificate of Compliance. Rental regulations apply to all dwellings that are rented including apartment houses, rooming houses, two family dwellings or single family dwelling units.Owners must apply for a Certificate of Compliance  by submitting an application for their rental property. An application consists of the completed form, the proper fees and a HVAC certification form. The application forms and instructions can be found on our website.

How many people can live in a rental unit?

Columbia’s zoning ordinances dictate how many people may live in a rental unit.  In R-1 zoning, no more than three people not related by blood or marriage may live together. In all other zoning districts, not more than four unrelated persons may live together. If you need clarification on what the zoning is for a property or the rules related to zoning, please contact our office.

Section 8 HousingGetting Started

Columbia Housing Authority (CHA) is not able to directly recommend voucher-holders to your vacancies, but we encourage you to advertise that HCV or Section 8 tenants are welcome to apply. You can list available units with CHA, on a weekly basis by emailing Gay Litteken, HCV Director at or Marie Litchfield, Landlord Liaison. Both can answer any questions you have and make your participation in the HCV program a positive experience for both you and the tenant.

If a tenant approaches you about accepting an HCV or Section 8 rental assistance voucher, there are four steps to follow.

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Rental Housing Compliance

Rental Housing Compliance Frequently Asked Questions

What are the city’s regulations regarding rental housing?

All rental property within the city limits of Columbia must have a current Certificate of Compliance. Rental regulations apply to all dwellings that are rented including apartment houses, rooming houses, two family dwellings or single family dwelling units.Owners must apply for a Certificate of Compliance  by submitting an application for their rental property. An application consists of the completed form, the proper fees and a HVAC certification form. The application forms and instructions can be found on our website.

How many people can live in a rental unit?

Columbia’s zoning ordinances dictate how many people may live in a rental unit.  In R-1 zoning, no more than three people not related by blood or marriage may live together. In all other zoning districts, not more than four unrelated persons may live together. If you need clarification on what the zoning is for a property or the rules related to zoning, please contact our office.