(DUBUQUE, Iowa) – The City of Dubuque’s Housing and Community Development Department has developed an advanced and systematic way of how they score property owner’s inspections. But one man is suing the city because of his status.
Aiman Al-Qady owns over a hundred properties in Dubuque. However, several of his properties have not been able to pass the city’s inspection; labeling those units as “priority” designation.
Al-Qady has had numerous violations and complaints filed against him over the years. He was previously sued for not wavering a $200 pet fee for a tenant who needed an assistance animal. Most recently, he was unable to provide heat in one for one of tenants for sometime during the winter months.
The City of Dubuque uses the priority designation as a form of intervention.
The Housing and Community Development Department uses a three tier system to inspect homes. The tier system is not meant to be used as a grading scale.
The first tier mostly consists of large property management companies. These property owners have additional inspections within their management and through the state; therefore the city only inspects 20% of the units at random. The property manager is then responsible to conduct their own inspections for the remaining 80%.
The second tier consists of individual property owners. Most properties fall within the second tier, as they may have minor issues that need to be resolved before they can pass inspection. Depending on the issue, most property owners have about 30 days to repair the outlined problems so they can pass the inspection.
Alexis Steger, Director of the Dubuque Housing and Community Development Department, said that their goal is to work with property owners to get them to pass their inspections.
“As long as they’re making progress, we continually work with them. Cause that’s what we really want. We want the progress to be made,” said Steger. “We don’t want to have to charge them in court to get them to make the units safe.”
A third level tier is given if the problems within the unit are deemed as severe or if the property owner has numerous issues that do not comply with the city’s code. These properties will see a one-year annual inspection from the city. This contrasts to the other tiers that are only inspected every five years.
Alex Rogan, housing inspector for Dubuque, said that tenants especially feel the benefits of this system.
“For tenants, it provides them with a safe and healthy home and a product that they were kind of sold,” said Rogan.
But above all, Steger said that the system is designed to provide a quality living experience for all Dubuque residents.
“Cause really what we’re looking for is a safe and healthy living unit and living arrangements,” said Steger.
We reached out to Al-Qady’s lawyer, Francis Lange, to hear their input on this matter. However, Lange declined our request for comment.