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Thread: Fees for citywide landlord registration and inspection program

  1. #1
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    Fees for citywide landlord registration and inspection program

    A medium-sized Upstate New York municipality is interested in initiating a new registration and inspection program for rental properties in residential districts. Tight budgets preclude hiring new City inspectors unless registration and inspection fees generate sufficient revenues to make the program self-sufficient.

    I am interested in learning the experiences of other municipalities, both in New York State and elsewhere, in establishing rental registration and inspection programs of this kind. Some of the questions that have arisen include the following:



    [1]Were expectations met regarding use of registration and inspection fees to pay for new inspectors?
    [2]What percentage of landlords subject to the program registered voluntarily?
    [3How successful were efforts to stimulate compliance by landlords that did not participate voluntarily?
    [4]What frequency of inspections is appropriate to ensure that rental units are safe and compliant, while making efficient use of scarce manpower?
    [5]What were the main goals of your rental registration and inspection program? How long has your program been in effect? Do you consider the program successful in accomplishing its main goals?
    [6]When you first started your program, did you implement the inspection component at the same time as the registration component? Or, was there a phase-in period, with a grace period provided for registrations to be submitted, followed by a staggered schedule of inspections?
    [7What is the most important information to elicit on the registration form? What information did you fail to include on the form that you wish you had included?
    [8]If you had it to do over again, how would you have structured your program differently?
    [9]What advice would you give to a municipality in structuring a rental registration and inspection program for the first time?
    [10]How often in your experience do landlords refuse to give voluntary consent to rental unit inspections and insist on your obtaining a judicial warrant?
    [11]What have you found are the most effective ways to gain compliance with registration requirements by landlords who are located out of the municipality's jurisdiction, or even out of state?
    [12]Is imposing liens on the property an effective way to ensure payment of fees and fines?
    [13]Would you be willing to discuss these and related issues further with me and other City representatives?[/LIST]
    Many thanks for your assistance!

    Ken

  2. #2
    Cyburbian TerraSapient's avatar
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    What exactly is the motivation for this program?
    Revenue generation?
    Public health and safety?

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Check with the city of Santa Cruz CA. They just passed a rental inspection ordinance.
    Annoyingly insensitive

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    Quote Originally posted by TerraSapient View post
    What exactly is the motivation for this program?
    Revenue generation?
    Public health and safety?
    The purpose of the program is (a) public health and safety, (b) enforcement of residential occupancy limits, and (c) data gathering on rental and code violation patterns.

    Revenue generation is an element only insofar as necessary to make the program self-sufficient.

    Quote Originally posted by RichmondJake View post
    Check with the city of Santa Cruz CA. They just passed a rental inspection ordinance.
    Thank you very much for the suggestion. I will follow up.
    Last edited by Gedunker; 12 Aug 2010 at 9:53 AM. Reason: Sequential replies

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Plus Salmissra's avatar
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    Are you looking at single family residential units, or multi-family? City of Dallas has a new registration program for SF rental properties called Non-Owner Occupied Rental Property (NOORP), and a separate ordinance for MF inspections went through last year. NOORP is regulated by the Code Compliance Dept.
    "We do not need any other Tutankhamun's tomb with all its treasures. We need context. We need understanding. We need knowledge of historical events to tie them together. We don't know much. Of course we know a lot, but it is context that's missing, not treasures." - Werner Herzog, in Archaeology, March/April 2011

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    Rental registration and inspection program

    Quote Originally posted by Salmissra View post
    Are you looking at single family residential units, or multi-family? City of Dallas has a new registration program for SF rental properties called Non-Owner Occupied Rental Property (NOORP), and a separate ordinance for MF inspections went through last year. NOORP is regulated by the Code Compliance Dept.
    I am interested in both Non-Owner Occupied (single-family) Rental Property and multi-family residential property in residential districts.

    Thanks for the Dallas lead. I will check it out.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    It doesn't seem like anyone has given you a hard number yet.

    Our yearly registrations are $22.50 for units 1-3, $18.00 for units 4-9, and $12.00 for units 10+. Units are based per single building/complex and not per landlord city-wide.

    Our registration program allows us to keep tabs on nuisance properties, enforce state-mandated minimum housing quality standards, and provides us with another entry-point for information about our town. From a zoning perspective, it also allows us to retire non-conforming uses. If the owners don't register a non-conforming rental property for a year then it reverts to current zoning restrictions. This doesn't create fans of our department with some landlords but if they forget to register their 6-plex on a lot that can currently only support 2 units they lose out and would need a variance to go back to the 6-plex.

    We don't generate general-fund revenue through this program but it allows us to have 1.5 full time rental inspectors. Not only that, but we are a good starting point if people are having problems with their landlords because they know we are around to help.
    I burned down the church to atone for my transgressions.

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    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    I used a trick to get compliance in getting the units registered at two different cities. I set the preliminary registration fee at $250.00, but waived that fee if the units were registered by a certain date, or within 30 days of purchase or conversion to rental property. Our fees do not cover the cost of inspections, and were not designed to do that since we use current staff.
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

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    Rental registration and inspection program

    Quote Originally posted by stroskey View post
    It doesn't seem like anyone has given you a hard number yet.

    Our yearly registrations are $22.50 for units 1-3, $18.00 for units 4-9, and $12.00 for units 10+. Units are based per single building/complex and not per landlord city-wide.

    Our registration program allows us to keep tabs on nuisance properties, enforce state-mandated minimum housing quality standards, and provides us with another entry-point for information about our town. From a zoning perspective, it also allows us to retire non-conforming uses. If the owners don't register a non-conforming rental property for a year then it reverts to current zoning restrictions. This doesn't create fans of our department with some landlords but if they forget to register their 6-plex on a lot that can currently only support 2 units they lose out and would need a variance to go back to the 6-plex.

    We don't generate general-fund revenue through this program but it allows us to have 1.5 full time rental inspectors. Not only that, but we are a good starting point if people are having problems with their landlords because they know we are around to help.
    Thanks for the program details. What municipality are you describing?

  10. #10
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    Rental registration and inspection program

    Quote Originally posted by giff57 View post
    I used a trick to get compliance in getting the units registered at two different cities. I set the preliminary registration fee at $250.00, but waived that fee if the units were registered by a certain date, or within 30 days of purchase or conversion to rental property. Our fees do not cover the cost of inspections, and were not designed to do that since we use current staff.
    What cities did you use this approach at? Thanks for the info.

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