July 27, 2013
After reading the editorial in last Sunday’s Dispatch concerning the passage of the rental property inspection ordinance at the July 17 council meeting, I must take this opportunity to clarify my position in casting a “no” vote.
This measure specifies that all commercial and rental properties conform to the uniform construction code of 1999. After paying a fee to schedule an inspection, the landlord will be notified of code violations and given 30 days to come up to compliance. Another round of inspections will follow. Fines may be imposed, which may lead up to a court appearance with a possibility of jail time, according to the ordinance. In order to comply with these stringent guidelines, the costs would likely be devastating to their budgets.
The city administration is now indicating more inspectors be added to the payroll as these inspections will occur every two years — in other words, there will be continuous inspections as there are over 1,800 rentals in the city. This will create a giant bureaucracy that will overburden both the landlords and the courts. It will also cause undue hardship on the tenants as increases in rents are likely as landlords are already burdened with increases in taxes, rising sewerage fees, insurance costs, etc.
My alternative would be to create a complaint line and let the code enforcement investigate any deficiencies the tenant may incur in their respective units.
In my opinion, this procedure would work better.