Urban planning community | #theplannerlife

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Minimum rental housing code ordinance

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered
    Aug 2008
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    21

    Minimum rental housing code ordinance

    My county is exploring the possibility of adopting a minimum housing code for rental units as part of our affordable housing initiatives. Basically, we can help people who own their property but can do little or nothing to help renters. This ordinance would be aimed at improving their living conditions without having to evict them and condemn the property.

    Here's what I need:

    1. Some examples of ordinances.
    2. Advice on how to conduct a cost analysis for something like this. I need to determine whether new staff would need to be hired to handle complaints -- especially if we partner with municipalities (something that would increase our workload x2 at the least)

    Any help would be appreciated, I am starting at ground level without any assistance.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Townville
    Posts
    1,047
    check the international property maintenance code put out by the International Codes Council (ICC)

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Illinois as of 1/1/09
    Posts
    220
    Good luck to you, but FYI...

    Landlords will HATE you. You will "be out to get them". Your inspector(s) MUST have thick skin if you are in a smaller community. Seriously, let potential applicants know what the job will mean to them...

  4. #4
    Cyburbian fringe's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Comer, GA
    Posts
    588
    When you say you can help owner/occupants I assume you mean through something like HUD funded housing rehab (available under CDBG block grant).

    I worked for some years both on municipal staff and as a consultant providing inspection, estimating, and job monitoring services in a nearby city.

    To reach renters the only path I see in terms of housing is through minimum dwelling standards adoption. IPMC, mentioned above, is the current one in wide use. In GA the state adopts the "basic eight" building codes statewide, but leaves IPMC optional for localities.

    As another poster mentioned you will make no friends among landlords, though the IMPC does place some responsibility on tenants.

    I have handled numerous complaints as an inspector and have had mixed results. Often complaints are lodged as part of a rental deliquency problem, and the tenant often vacates anyway, leaving the owner with a substandard property that he has to bring to minimum to be able to rent again.

    We have eliminated some nuisance properties that way.

    The city I worked for finally threw up its hands and quit housing rehab, partly due to declining conditions of low income housing stock, problems with feasibility of repair vs. costs, and pressures from "gentrification" efforts. HUD's housing rehab money was saddled a few years back with requirements for lead paint inspection and abatement that piled on more cost and red tape. The whole lead paint issue is not as applicable on an SFD level, especially with occupied units. (PM me about this if you like, as I could go on and on)

  5. #5
    Member
    Registered
    Aug 2008
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    21
    Primarily I meant "helping" occupants by providing them with some leverage in getting the landlord to bring the housing up to code. Is this going to anger slumlords? Yes. Do we plan to engage in rehab? No. We are not going to fix up a slumlord's property for them. If necessary we will help the occupant find new rental housing.

    This is a long-range project so I hope to have some supports for displaced occupants ready before the ordinance is implemented (if we can even get it passed.)

  6. #6
    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Champlain-Adirondack Biosphere Reserve
    Posts
    3,387
    Quote Originally posted by orangina View post
    Do we plan to engage in rehab? No. We are not going to fix up a slumlord's property for them. If necessary we will help the occupant find new rental housing.
    And once the substandard unit is empty, what enforcement tools will the municipality use to prevent the landlord from simply renting it out again?

    I think you'll need a combination of carrots and sticks to get these units brought up to current codes. Otherwise, you may simply be developing a strategy to reduce the number of housing units available.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian fringe's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Comer, GA
    Posts
    588
    SGB makes good points.

    I don't know of a model ordinance that will make the greedy feel shame. If there is one we need it on the national level, given current events.

    If a dwelling is substandard, assuming you have standards in place, it shouldn't be marketable. If it is bad enough to be condemned, then help the tenants move out.

    I forgot to mention Section 8, which is definitely a carrot for rental propoerty owners.

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered
    Aug 2008
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    21
    Quote Originally posted by SGB View post
    And once the substandard unit is empty, what enforcement tools will the municipality use to prevent the landlord from simply renting it out again?

    I think you'll need a combination of carrots and sticks to get these units brought up to current codes. Otherwise, you may simply be developing a strategy to reduce the number of housing units available.
    I imagine some licensing will be involved and a license can be revoked for failure to comply. Then again, I am really asking for examples of what has been done elsewhere -- having not done this before I can't say one way or another how things would work.

    Carrots would be great, but a big carrot is regaining the ability to make money off their rental property.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Midwest
    Posts
    35
    I am in a similar situation with my community, pop. approx 3,100. We are in the process of drafting a rental housing ordinance to address the typical concerns. We are not out to control every minute detail of a landlord/tenant agreement. My council does not want that. What I have explained time and again is we need something in place that gives the city [I]some[I] control over rental housing because right now we don't have any and it puts the city in an awkward position when we can't do anything to correct a bad situation because we don't have anything on the books giving us the authority.

    We adopted the ICC's IPMC recently and that is what we will use to enforce the ordinance. It's straight forward, simple, and gets the point across that we want minimum quality standards but we're not going to tell you what color you can and cannot paint your house...or what type of designer windows you must have in your rental house or else...we're not going anywhere near that road.

    We want good, quality rental housing in our city and we do for the most part. We have a couple properties that we will have to address right away but other than that, landlords do a good job here in town. I will convey that to them as well and hopefully put their concerns/reservations about this ordinance to rest. I know that is not going to be an easy task.

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Rise of rental housing
    Make No Small Plans
    Replies: 39
    Last post: 12 May 2012, 8:25 AM
  2. Replies: 4
    Last post: 14 Jan 2009, 1:57 PM
  3. Incentives for providing rental housing
    Economic and Community Development
    Replies: 3
    Last post: 07 Aug 2007, 4:08 PM
  4. Replies: 2
    Last post: 12 Sep 2005, 2:31 PM
  5. Replies: 2
    Last post: 21 Feb 2005, 10:14 AM