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Illustration: Sara Grillo

Homes rented to immediate family would require a license under a plan being considered by Des Moines, Iowa.

Why it matters: City leaders say this system jeopardizes housing quality and puts human safety at risk. But changes could create more administrative headaches for some homeowners.

Context: Properties occupied by a parent or child of an owner are currently exempt from inspections and rental code requirements.

Driving the news: The new requirement is part of a proposed overhaul of Des Moines' rental housing inspection process and codes.

Other highlights:

  • Inspection fees would increase by at least 5% — most are currently between $88 and $150 for initial inspections.
  • Separate furnaces would be required in each residence of multi-unit apartment buildings because they often commingle air, which has become a heightened concern during the pandemic. (Those with boiler systems are generally excluded because they don't share air.)
  • Emergency knockout panels that allow a resident to exit a building through another unit would be prohibited. Tenants often block them, making for unreliable exit systems.

What’s next: City staff will hold a series of meetings with stakeholders — namely landlords.

  • A proposal is expected to go before the City Council by the end of March.
  • Structural upgrades for current rentals would be required over the next 3.5 years, as certificates expire.

This story first appeared in the Axios Des Moines newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.

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Go deeper

The mystery of Des Moines' legal settlements

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Des Moines City Council often approves legal settlements without providing the public with some important info, like the cost and basic facts of a case.

Why it matters: Citizens deserve to know more about how their money is being spent. Ideally, that information should be provided before council votes, since the total payouts over a calendar year are significant.

Updated 19 mins ago - World

Over 70 dead in worst bombardments between Israel and Hamas for years

Palestinian Muslims exchange wishes for Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, near a razed building in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahia, on May 13. Israeli forces said they had killed a senior Hamas commander in May 12 airstrikes. Gaza's health ministry said children died in the strikes. Photo: Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

At least 67 Palestinians and seven Israelis have been killed in fighting between Israel's military and Hamas since Monday, per Reuters.

The big picture: The worst aerial exchanges of fire between Israel and Hamas since 2014 continued into early Thursday. It comes days after escalating violence in Jerusalem that injured hundreds of Palestinians and several Israeli police officers during protests over the planned evictions of Palestinian families from their homes.

Biden admin grants Colonial waiver to ease fuel shortages

Fuel tanks at Colonial Pipeline Baltimore Delivery in Baltimore, Maryland on Monday. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration approved a temporary waiver of shipping requirements late Wednesday to help Colonial Pipeline transport fuel, as service resumes across the U.S. following a ransomware attack that that took it offline last week.

Why it matters: The century-old Jones Act requires ships to be built in the U.S. and crewed by American workers, but the waiver means foreign companies can transport gasoline and diesel to areas where there are fuel shortages.

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