City Council Approves Mayor Brand’s Rental Housing Improvement Act

FRESNO, CA – Fresno City Council today approved the Rental Housing Improvement Act, a plan submitted by Mayor Lee Brand that will implement a pro-active rental housing inspection program for the purpose of improving the quality of rental housing in the city of Fresno.

The Act received public support from a strong coalition that included the Fresno Chamber of Commerce, Faith in Community, the California Apartment Association, Fresno Building Healthy Communities, No More Slumlords, and a collection of local housing and faith leaders.

The purpose of the Rental Housing Improvement Act is to identify substandard rental housing violations through the creation of a new Code Enforcement Division whose sole focus will be to address the issue of substandard housing within our community. The Act bifurcates the City’s code enforcement activities by creating a separate division that will focus solely on rental housing code violations.

“The final product represents a sensible, reasonable, workable plan that will reward the good property owners and quickly identify the bad ones,” said Mayor Brand. “It’s a result of a very productive process that included important input from housing advocates, property owners, and civic leaders as well as my 38 years of experience in property management.”

Under the Act, all residential rental units are required to register and the registration will be updated whenever there is a change of ownership or contact information. There is no registration fee for owners. Then, all residential rental properties will be subject to baseline inspections according to a random sampling formula based on the number of units in the complex. For example, a 51 plus apartment complex will have 10% or five units selected for inspections. The cost of inspections will not exceed $100 per unit inspection.

All properties that successfully pass the initial unit inspections will be classified as “Tier 1 Properties” and are eligible for a self-certification program and will not be subject to a random audit for the first five years, unless significant health and safety violations occur. Properties that fail the initial baseline inspection or subsequent inspections will be classified in either “Tier 2” or “Tier 3” property pools. Tier 2 properties will be inspected every 2 years and every unit will be inspected. Tier 3 properties which have more egregious health and safety code violation problems will be inspected every year and every unit will be inspected.

In addition, a tenant education plan will be developed and implemented partnering with government agencies, non-profit organizations and the California Apartment Association.