Tuesday, April 26, 2011

STOP HB 554: Don't let North Carolina's legislature increase the death toll in for-profit rentals: How can anyone who believes in state's rights vote for this?

A mom with three young daughters found a house with a RUCO
(Rental Unit Certificate of Occupancy,
showing that it passed city inspection) and can breathe easily now.

She moved from an apartment which was rented unlawfully without a RUCO,
where the mold from leaking plumbing resulted in respiratory problems;
she and the girls had to go to the doctor so much she lost her job.

The employer lost a good worker,
health insurance paid thousands for medical care,
the city inspector has to spend hours trying to get the apartment manager
to comply with repair orders,
and the apartments have expensive repairs
(plus a fine for renting without a RUCO).

All this could have been avoided by the manager fixing a small leak
and scheduling a RUCO inspection.

Because the apartments look OK from the outside
and the other tenants are afraid to complain,
this dangerous housing unit would not have been inspected at all
under proposed state legislation
that would only allow inspections when there is “probable cause”.

"HB 554 prohibits local jurisdictions from inspecting residential properties
unless there is “probable cause”
—eliminating effective proactive systematic inspection programs
that promote preventive maintenance before conditions deteriorate
to the point that tenants complain or inspectors see problems from the street.

The City of Greensboro approved a local ordinance in 2003
requiring that all rental properties be inspected and certified
as meeting minimal safety standards.

Since the creation of “RUCO” (Rental Unit Certificate of Occupancy),
the number of substandard housing units has dropped
from over 2000 to 500 because the inspections:

• Award certificates to properties kept in good condition
• Prompt attention to small issues before they become dangerous
• Turn around long-neglected properties
Benefits of proactive inspection programs:

• Reduce complaints and expedite compliance with repair orders,
saving inspector time and enforcement cost.
Reduce health and safety risks, saving medical expenses and human suffering;
substandard housing results in over $100,000,000
in health and related costs for North Carolina children each year.

If many of the costs of healthcare for residents of substandard housing
are picked up by taxpayers through Medicaid,
how is this not privitizing the gains and socializing the losses?

• Promote justice and fair housing by requiring all rentals to meet minimum safety standards;
too often what may be considered “good enough”
for persons with disabilities, families with children, immigrants, and minorities
is actually below standard.
Tell your legislators to STOP HB 554
so that local governments can choose to adopt the proactive inspection program
that best fits its community.

HB 554 was referred to the NC House Committee
on Commerce and Job Development on 3/31/2011.

Why does who want to overide Greensboro ordinances
that limits taxpayer liability via increased healthcare costs?

Visit www.ncga.state.nc.us to read the bill,
see who is on the committee and find contact information for your legislators.

For more information about “RUCO”,
contact beth@GreensboroHousingCoalition.com, 336-691-9521."

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