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  • Rental Housing Compliance
  • Legal - Getting Started

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.

Landlord-Tenant Laws and Ordinances

There are numerous local, state, and federal laws and ordinances that pertain to rental housing. Before becoming a landlord or signing a lease, make sure that you are familiar with all relative regulations. Regulations regarding housing discrimination, rental certification, building code, etc. can all be found on this site.

Legal Resources

  • Missouri Attorney General >

      Supreme Court Building
      207 W. High St.
      P.O. Box 899
      Jefferson City, MO 65102
      (573) 751-3321
      Fax: (573) 751-0774
  • Columbia Police Department >

      Crime Free Housing Programs Coordinator
      (573) 874-7426
      Fax: (573) 751-0774
  • Columbia Human Rights Commission >

      City of Columbia - Law Department
      701 E. Broadway, 2nd Floor
      P.O. Box 6015
      Columbia, MO 65205
      (573) 817-5024
      Fax: (573) 442-8828
  • Mid Mo Legal Services >

      1201 West Broadway
      Columbia, MO 65203
      (573) 442-0116 or 1-800-568-4931
      Fax: (573) 875-0173
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Rental Housing Certification Information

Rental Unit Conservation Law

The Rental Unit Conservation Law regulates the licensing, operation, standards and conditions for rental housing within the City of Columbia. This regulation specifies that all rental housing is issued a Certificate of Compliance. This certificate is a statement that the rental unit for which it was issued meets the general licensing ordinance, the Zoning Ordinance, the Property Maintenance Code and other applicable standards. It is unlawful to operate within the city any apartment house, rooming house, two-family dwelling, or a single rental unit without a current certificate of compliance.

Procedure for issuance of a certificate

Have the vented mechanical appliances, gas furnace, boiler, water heaters, etc., inspected and certified by a licensed heating, ventilation and air conditioning mechanic. You will need to arrange for this inspection with an HVAC contractor. Have the mechanic complete the HVAC certification form.

Apply for a rental certificate on the application form provided by the Office of Neighborhood Services. You must submit a completed HVAC certification form, the rental application and the required fees to the Office of Neighborhood Services.

After submitting your application and fees, you will be notified of your inspection date and time.

The inspector will meet you at the property for your inspection appointment. If there are no violations noted at the inspection the certificate will be issued.

We recommend that owners and renters of rental housing familiarize themselves with the Rental Unit Conservation Law that can be found in the City Code of Ordinances.