The San Jose City Council has approved a pilot program to allow rental property owners to self-certify their compliance with the city’s Multiple Housing Occupancy Permit requirements.
This move, proposed by Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen, could save rental property owners time and money while allowing the city to focus its inspection efforts on those rental properties that truly pose safety issues to the occupants and the community.
The pilot program was included in Mayor Chuck Reed’s 2013-14 budget this month and begins a process for Code Enforcement to work with CAA Tri-County to develop a program that will likely allow self-certification of rental properties that are newer and/or when a previous city inspection found no major violations, or violations were corrected on time, and all fees are current.
Last month, the Rental Housing Association of Sacramento Valley, a chapter of the California Apartment Association, had similar success with the city of Sacramento. The council in the Capital City voted to allow self-certification of rental properties when a previous city inspection found no violations, or violations were corrected on time, and all fees are current.
In San Jose, Nguyen proposed the pilot program following a meeting with CAA Tri-County members, who shared concerns over numerous poorly maintained rental properties in San Jose and a lack of code enforcement officers to inspect these “problem” units. Additionally, members felt that allowing those operators of newer rental units or those without a history of violation to “self certify” would both offer an incentive to maintain quality housing and redirect the city’s limited code enforcement officers to units with violations of building, health and safety codes – apartments where city intervention is truly warranted.
According to the vice mayor, this “pilot program will allow code enforcement to focus its limited staff resources on these properties with the goal of improving the quality of life for the residents and addressing the issues surrounding substandard housing which diminishes community pride, public safety, and strong neighborhoods.”
Added Joshua Howard, executive director at CAA Tri-County, “In adopting Vice Mayor Nguyen’s proposal, the mayor and City Council recognize that there are many rental property owners who work hard to maintain quality rental communities, and at a time when local governments are imposing more burdens on the rental housing industry, this is one case where the city is looking to make things easier.”
While the details of the program are now under consideration, under the vice mayor’s proposal, with their annual payments, newer property owners will be given a choice of signing up for a self-certification program. It is anticipated that many of these owners will opt for self-certification.
With properties that are eligible for self-certification, every three years, the owner/operator will conduct a self-inspection of all the residential rental dwelling units, including exterior conditions and site conditions, and certify under penalty of perjury that the conditions at the property achieve the minimum standards listed on a Self-Certification Program Checklist developed by Code Enforcement in collaboration with CAA Tri-County.
CAA Tri-County will keep members posted on how to comply with the new program.