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Affordable Housing Task Force Meeting February 11, 2010.

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Presentation on theme: "Affordable Housing Task Force Meeting February 11, 2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 Affordable Housing Task Force Meeting February 11, 2010

2  Background on Strategy  Residential Landlord-Tenant Law  How Program Works  Program Costs & Rental Fees  Benefits & Disadvantages  Results in Other Jurisdictions  Alternative Options

3  2008 Housing Needs Assessment identified largest need: affordable rental housing  Staff recommended a rental license & inspection program; referred to AHTF  Many rentals in 1- to 4-unit dwellings, older than 35 years, deferred maintenance  Concentration of deteriorated properties in some areas of the City  City Code Enforcement has inspected many substandard rental properties

4 Sewer leaking from upstairs apartment

5 Sewer leaking downstairs apartment

6 Water damage, uninspected plumbing (no permits)

7 Improper landlord repair (duct tape over sheet rock)

8 Water damage from apartment above unit and improperly installed window

9 Uninspected leaking plumbing (no permits)

10 Inoperable plumbing!

11 Residential Landlord-Tenant Act of 1973 RCW 59.18

12 DUTIES OF LANDLORDS RCW 59.18.060 The landlord will at all times during the tenancy keep the premises fit for human habitation and shall in particular: 1.Maintain the premises to substantially comply with any applicable code, statute, ordinance or regulations governing their maintenance or operation 2.Maintain roofs, floors, walls, chimneys, fireplaces, foundations in good repair 3.Common areas clean and sanitary 4.Control insects, rodents, and pests 5.Keep premises in good condition 6.Provide adequate locks and keys 7.Maintain electrical, plumbing, heating in working order 8.Maintain weather-tight conditions 9.Remove rubbish and garbage from multifamily dwellings 10.Supply Heat, water, and hot water 11.Disclose fire safety information & indoor mold health hazards

13 TIMELIMITS FOR ACTION RCW 59.18.070 Tenant may deliver written notice to landlord identifying the nature of defective condition(s). Landlord shall begin remedial action as soon as possible but no later than the following time periods: 1.Within 24 hours, when condition deprives tenant of hot/cold water, heat, or electricity, or is imminently hazardous to life; 2.Within 72 hours, when condition deprives tenant of the use of a refrigerator, range/oven, or a major plumbing fixture supplied by the landlord; and 3.Within 10 days in all other cases.

14 DUTIES OF TENANTS RCW 59.18.130 Each tenant shall: 1.Pay the rental amount as provided for in the rental agreement 2.Comply with applicable local and state regulations 3.Keep the premises clean and sanitary 4.Properly dispose all garbage 5.Pay for fumigation of infestations caused by tenant 6.Properly use plumbing, electrical and heating systems 7.Not damage or remove any part of the dwelling 8.Not permit a nuisance or common waste 9.Not engage in or permit drug-related activity on property 10.Maintain smoke detection device(s) 11.Not endanger safety of other persons on premises 12.Not engage in or permit gang-related activity on property 13.Restore unit to same condition as when moved in (except for normal wear and tear)

15 LANDLORD’S RIGHT OF ENTRY RCW 59.18.150 Tenant shall not unreasonably withhold consent to the landlord to enter a dwelling unit to inspect the premises, make necessary or agreed repairs, supply necessary services, or show the unit to prospective purchasers, tenants, or contractors. Landlord may enter the unit without consent of the tenant only in the case of emergency or abandonment. Landlord shall give tenant at least 2 days’ notice of intent to enter. At least 1 days’ notice for showing unit to prospective purchasers/ tenants.

16 HOW PROGRAM WORKS 1.Requires all owners of rental properties, including single-family dwellings, to obtain a city business license. 2.A condition of the license will be a certification, required once every 2 years, by a City Code Enforcement Officer, Section 8 Inspector, or private home inspector that the rental dwelling complies with the City of Wenatchee Housing Code or federal Housing Quality Standards. 3.The City will send the landlord at least a 10 days notice that an inspection is due and ask that they notify the tenant of inspection or submit a certificate of inspection performed within the last 12 months. 4.The landlord will give proper notice to the tenant for inspection. Under no circumstances will the City physically force entry. 5.If there are any code violations, the landlord will be given a list and asked to make repairs. 6.The landlord has a right to appeal the violations to the citizen Code Enforcement Board and a further right to appeal to Superior Court.

17 INSPECTORS Qualified inspectors include: 1.City Code Enforcement Officer 2.HUD Certified Inspector 3.Certified private inspectors (NAHRO/AACE/ICC) 4.Licensed structural engineer 5.Licensed architect Certificate of Inspection submitted on form provided by the City or approved by HUD. Must be received by the City within 12 months of the date of inspection.

18 INSPECTION REQUIREMENTS Shall certify that all of rental dwelling units inspected comply with the Wenatchee Housing Code or federal Housing Quality Standards, and do not endanger or impair the health or safety of a tenant including: 1.Structural members that are insufficient in size or strength to carry imposed loads with safety; 2.Exposure of the occupants to the weather; 3.Plumbing and sanitation defects that directly expose the occupants to the risk of illness or injury; 4.Lack of water, including hot water; 5.Heating or ventilation systems that are not functional or are hazardous; 6.Defective, hazardous, or missing electrical wiring or electrical service; 7.Defective or inadequate exits that increase the risk of injury to occupants; 8.Violations that increase the risks of fire; or 9.Violations of other applicable housing codes, rules or regulations.

19 CITY HOUSING CODE Chapter 2.07 of the Wenatchee City Code requires: 1.Buildings be maintained in a clean, safe, sanitary, and sound structural condition, including weather protection. 2.Rubbish, garbage &other organic waste to be properly disposed. 3.Dwelling units include a bathroom consisting of a water closet, lavatory, and either a bathroom or shower. 4.Each unit be provided with a kitchen, including a kitchen sink. 5.All plumbing fixtures be connected to sewer or private system. 6.All plumbing fixtures be connected to an approved water supply and provided with hot and cold running water. 7.Dwelling units be provided with proper heating facilities. 8.All electrical be installed and maintained properly. 9.Ventilation for rooms and areas for fuel-burning appliances. 10.Units to have direct access outside or to a public corridor, & sleeping rooms below the 4 th story to have at least one operable window or exterior door for emergency escape or rescue. 11.Any determined substandard buildings, or portions thereof, to be abated by repair, rehabilitation, demolition or removal.

20 HOUSING QUALITY STANDARDS Housing occupied by a household participating in the Housing Choice Voucher program (Section 8) must meet minimum Housing Quality Standards (HQS) in order to qualify as adequate housing. Inspections are conducted by Housing Authority staff or contractors. 13 key aspects of housing quality are covered by the standards: Sanitary facilities Food preparation and refuse disposal Space and security Thermal environment Illumination and electricity Structure and materials Interior air quality Water supply Lead-based paint Access Site and neighborhood Sanitary condition Smoke detectors.

21 SAMPLE INSPECTION CHECKLIST 1.Free of debris, junk vehicles, old appliances, overgrown vegetation? 2.Free of refuse & served by Waste Management? 3.Adequate parking? 4.Address/unit number visible from street? 5.Connected to sewer & water? 6.Adequate electrical system: lighting, outlets, exposed wiring? 7.Hot and cold running water, leaks, adequate bathroom facilities? 8.Adequate heat to all habitable rooms and ventilation? 9.All entry/exit doors lockable and operable? Egress windows? 10.Usable emergency escape in all sleeping/living rooms? 11.Operable smoke alarms? 12.Foundation free of major cracks/decay? 13.Exterior painted and weather/moisture tight? 14.Sound and unbroken floors, walls, roof and ceilings? 15.Kitchen exists & separated from bathing/mechanical areas? 16.Free of mold/mildew or insect/rodent infestation?


23 BENEFITS Substantially reduces unsafe & unsanitary housing conditions in privately owned rental housing. Helps the landlord reduce maintenance costs by identifying minor issues before they turn into substantial hazards and relatively expensive repairs. Reduces overcrowding of residential rental units, and associated costs. Gives renters local support to have landlords make required repairs. Gives landlords the opportunity to have units inspected by a third party, while retaining a good rapport with the tenant. Educates tenants and landlords on home maintenance. Fosters a culture of voluntary housing code compliance and responsible rental property stewardship. Increases neighborhood attraction and property values as repairs are made and properties are regularly maintained. Levels the playing field in the rental market for responsible landlords, since there are fewer substandard rental units to compete with for tenants. Can be structured so there is no cost to general public.

24 DISADVANTAGES Applies to all rental properties, including those that are already being well maintained. Requires an annual city business license by all rental property owners per location. Does not inspect illegal rentals, until brought to the attention of and enforced by the city. Could result in a reduction of the number of rental units available. Requires significant efforts to register and track rental properties, business licenses, and inspections.

25 RESULTS IN OTHER JURISDICTIONS Many programs in cities along the east coast, also in Minneapolis, Colorado, Illinois, California, Kansas & Oregon. Many programs in effect for more than 25 or 50 years. Aurora, Illinois observations after more than 20 years: Fewer tenant complaints Overall building maintenance drastically improved Many unsafe living conditions eliminated Property values escalated in buildings previously thought should be demolished Potential buyers know buildings have had regular inspections Slumlords have been weeded out More opportunities to educate residents on code requirements.

26 RESULTS IN OTHER JURISDICTIONS Pasco program approved in 1997: Approx. 85% of rentals had a least 1 violation from 1 st inspection Most common violations related to smoke alarms, plumbing facilities and electrical systems. Many issues identified are tenant-caused or due to natural aging Estimate 40% decrease in illegal/substandard housing Ensures adequate maintenance of 90% of rentals Several other jurisdictions in Washington considering a program, including Bellingham, Tukwila, Seattle, Tacoma & Everett.

27 SSB 6459 Bill proposed that places some restrictions on a cities’ right to implement a rental housing inspection program. If passed, would make changes to and establish a new section in the Landlord-Tenant Act. Among other limitations, the bill would limit required inspections to once every 3 years

28 ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS Apply Program to Target Area(s) w/ most need Revise the license amount and/or certification frequency. Reduce license amount and charge for City inspection Certification every 3 or 5 years Incentives such as extended certification periods for properties in good standing Annual City Business License with no certification requirements. Funds from Rental Business Licenses be used to pay for increased City Code Enforcement or Tenant Outreach efforts. Voluntary Rental Business License and Inspection/Certification. City-sponsored increase in Code Enforcement.

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