Columbia Skyline

Rights and Responsiblities

Tenant's Rights and 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. 

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 Services 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 to your landlord first and give them the opportunity to fix the problem, and do not withhold rent due to a maintenance issue. 

Your responsibilities:

  • Two's a party, threes 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, on neighboring property, or on an adjacent street 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 tenant/owner of a property are subject to ticketing by police. 
  • Know your trash day. Bagged trash can not be placed on the curb earlier 4:00 p.m. the day prior to scheduled pick-up. This lessens the time the trash can be scattered by animals or the wing. Failure to comply with this rule may result in a $40 trash out early fee.
  • Dont 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 the property.

Car Talk: Unlicensed and/or inoperable vehicles are subject to towing, whether they are in the street or on private property. Parked vehicles must not block driveways and sidewalks or be parked in the yard. Vehicles may not park on a city street longer than 24 consecutive hours. 

Get in the Zone: Dont break the City's zoning laws by allowing too many people to live in your unit. Overcrowding leads to increased traffic, noise, and trash which can affect the others in your neighborhood. 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. Zoning violations can result in criminal charges..

Other Considerations...

  • Do your research on the utility usage of the unit you are considering renting. Utilities can be a large part of your housing costs! Contact the utility companies that service the house or apartments you are considering and find out the utility history. The City of Columbia Utility Customer Services can be reached at 573-874-7380. The City of Columbia is the service provider for electricity, water, sewer, and trash. Ameren Missouri is the natural gas provider. 
  • Read your lease and retain it for future reference. Pay your rent on time. If you have an issue with your unit, talk to your landlord first so they can attempt to resolve the problem

Information Provided By: Office of Neighborhood Services