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Rental Inspection Law Faces Repeal

Glendale: Council is expected to scrap the program that landlords and tenants protested.

July 15, 2002|ANDREA PERERA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Less than a month after approving a rental property inspection program, the Glendale City Council on Tuesday will likely bow to pressure from disgruntled landlords and tenants and repeal it.

The council approved mandatory inspections of the city's approximately 40,000 multiunit rentals June 18. The ordinance, due to take effect Thursday, required property owners to pay $24 per unit per year for inspections that would be done every three years.

Landlords immediately began to complain, calling it unfair to require inspections on properties that have had no reported problems.

Many tenants didn't like the program either, saying the mandatory nature of the inspections would violate their right to privacy. The Glendale Chamber of Commerce also joined the opposition.

After hearing three hours of often angry comments at their last meeting, a majority of council members agreed that the program should focus only on "problem properties."

Mayor Rafi Manoukian introduced a motion to repeal the program. "At this point, I'm not ready to support it," he said

Councilmen Gus Gomez and Dave Weaver have said they would support the repeal.

Manoukian also asked the city staff to devise an alternative that would focus on properties with reported housing violations.

Rentals need to be inspected, but the current proposal doesn't provide the best route, Weaver said. "You could do a random building here or there, but not every building needs to be inspected."

Councilman Bob Yousefian, a staunch supporter of inspections, said not only dilapidated apartments need attention, but also those that are beginning to decline.

"I want to get to the several thousand out there and fix them up," he said. "My goal here is to eliminate that blight."

But some residents continue to question the scope of the program.

"Do we really need to inspect every property in Glendale?" asked Georgia Wall, a property owner for more than 10 years. "It doesn't take a rocket scientist driving down the street to say, 'That one, that one, that one ... those need help.' "

Neighborhood Services Administrator Sam Engel, whose staff has worked for more than three years on planning the program, said inspections are needed.

Council members agreed.

"[The city staff just] needs to work out the wrinkles," Weaver said.

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