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:
Were expectations met regarding use of registration and inspection fees to pay for new inspectors?
What percentage of landlords subject to the program registered voluntarily?
[3How successful were efforts to stimulate compliance by landlords that did not participate voluntarily?
What frequency of inspections is appropriate to ensure that rental units are safe and compliant, while making efficient use of scarce manpower?
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?
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?
If you had it to do over again, how would you have structured your program differently?
What advice would you give to a municipality in structuring a rental registration and inspection program for the first time?
How often in your experience do landlords refuse to give voluntary consent to rental unit inspections and insist on your obtaining a judicial warrant?
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?
Is imposing liens on the property an effective way to ensure payment of fees and fines?
Would you be willing to discuss these and related issues further with me and other City representatives?[/LIST]
Many thanks for your assistance!