CITY MEETS GOALS FOR ANNIVERSARY OF RESIDENTIAL LICENSING PROGRAM
(8/2/2007) NEW HAVEN- The City announced today that one year after the residential Rental Business License Program went into effect, it has exceeded its goal of inspecting 10,000 rental units in the City for matters of health and safety. In May of 2006 this program was launched in an effort to identify housing code violations in the City’s rental properties and ensure that landlords make the necessary repairs to make units safe for occupancy.
“This program has been very successful and represents a priority to us because we want to be sure that landlords are maintaining high quality of life for renters,” said Andrew Rizzo, Executive Director of the New Haven Livable City Initiative. “It’s important that we inspect as many rental units as possible in the City to safeguard families from potentially dangerous health and safety violations in these homes.”
In order for landlords to obtain the mandatory licenses, allowing them to rent their property for occupancy, they must agree to these inspections and make any repairs cited by inspectors within 30 days. For violations that present immediate hazards, less time is given for repairs to be completed. After the allotted time for repairs has expired, inspectors return to homes to ensure that all work has been done. When a unit fails a second inspection, a new timeline is given to the landlord at which time the inspector will return to re-evaluate the unit. Property owners are required to purchase these licenses ranging in cost from $75 for 2-3 unit multi-family homes to $350 for buildings with 20 or more units.
“All residents in our city deserve to live clean, safe and healthy environments where they aren’t subject to dangerous conditions on a daily basis,” said Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. “This program allows us to stay on top of landlords who may not be providing quality living situations for residents. At the same time, those landlords who are doing things right and are providing safe homes for renters are getting credit for their work.”
Throughout the first year of the program, the City’s Livable City Initiative inspected 10,134 units, exceeding the goal of 10,000 originally set in 2006. Of the more than 10,000 inspected, 316 failed their first inspection and 11 failed upon second inspection but passed their third inspection.
Inspectors found that the most common violation involved smoke detectors with missing batteries and faulty or malfunctioning smoke detectors. Inspectors carry batteries to every evaluation and replace those in smoke detectors whenever necessary. The following is a list of the most common violations found during Residential Rental Business License inspections (in order of frequency):
1. Smoke detectors missing batteries
2. Smoke detectors missing or not working
3. Water leaking
4. Obstruction of egresses
5. Chipping and flaking paint
6. Windows free falling
7. Exposed electrical wiring
8. Exit signs not working or emergency lights not working or missing (multi family)
9. Excessive accumulation of combustibles in basement around or too close to mechanicals
10. Water heaters improperly installed
While property owners have the right to appeal the repairs required by inspectors, only six appeals have been made amongst the 813 buildings and 10,134 units inspected. In those six cases, the decisions of the inspectors were upheld and property owners were required to make improvements in a timely fashion.
The licensing fees collected through this program (totaling $150,745.00) paid for the labor of the inspectors and all other related expenses (totaling $130,447.00) representing no cost to the City.
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