Sept. 14, 2019

Mallory Herrmann

Landlords and renters will soon have the opportunity to participate in a voluntary inspection program. The Quality Homes Program is a pilot program aimed at reducing codes violations and promoting safety, particularly in rental properties.

“That’s one of the most proactive things that we can do is be a resource as a city as to what is a violation, what is not a violation, and be able to make those connections for how to repair those violations,” said Ryan Elam, director of development services.

At a presentation to the city council’s community and economic development committee, Elam and Dan Harper, assistant director of field services, outlined the goals and parameters of the program. They will present the program to the full city council at a work session next month.

Both property owners and occupants can request an inspection to address concerns about safety issues and code violations. A neighborhood services officer will perform the inspection, make suggestions to potential problems, check for basic safety devices and offer certification for those properties that pass inspection.

If violations are found, property owners can abate those issues and request an additional inspection. With inspection for egregious violations found, any issues identified through the voluntary inspection program will not be subject to formal reporting.

The hope is to engage more residents and property owners in ensuring safe and compliant housing – before any major problems arise.

Harper said that the current process is reactionary, following a complaint, investigation, abatement pattern. Staff hope that the Quality Housing Program will encourage a more proactive stance and become a certification that landlords covet and prospective renters value in finding housing.

Staff will be working the creative services department on a marketing plan and materials to share with the community in order to announce the program and educate residents about the inspections.

The work of the pilot program is expected to be covered by existing staff. Data will be collected throughout the pilot phase to determine whether to make inspections mandatory, whether to make the inspections fee-based and whether additional resources would be needed to support it.

Mayor Pro Tem Beto Lopez was absent from the Sept. 11 session. All other committee members (Councilmembers Diane Forte, Fred DeMoro and Craig Faith and Planning Commissioner Donnie Funk) were present.