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Inspection Fee

July 19, 1998

Despite Councilwoman Jackie Goldberg's proclamation that it's a "historic moment" ("Council OKs Apartment Inspection Reform Plan," July 8), the only ones rejoicing in the passage of the City Council's new dollar-a-month renter's tax are city bureaucrats.

As an owner of rental units in Goldberg's district, I have tried to maintain my property and keep rents stable. Over the years I've taken some big hits. The recession devalued my properties by at least one-quarter. During the riots I hosed down my property as hot cinders fell. After the Northridge quake I repaired damage to my tenants' units before my own. I've stuck it out through burglaries, stolen cars, trash and graffiti. Recently I spent a lot of money updating the electrical system in one building, a cost I may never recoup in rents.

This new tax, which I will pass along to my tenants, will do nothing to improve the quality or maintenance of their apartments. Yet, by raising rents, I'll be tarred with the age-old pejorative hurled at landlords--greedy.

TIMOTHY STIRTON

Los Angeles

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