From: Marlene Sanford - TREBIC (E-mail)
To: Knight, Bill; "Trudy Wade"; Mary Rakestraw; Danny Thompson; Kee, James; Zack Matheny
Cc: "Jon Lowder"
Subject: Council Agenda Item 44 - RUCO
Date: Monday, June 06, 2011 4:34:33 PM
You may have on your agenda tomorrow night as item 44
a resolution asking you to oppose Senate Bill 683/House 554 Residential Building Inspections.
We respectfully ask you NOT to pass the resolution.
Contrary to what you will hear from GNC and GHC,
S683 and H554 would not
“eliminate proactive inspections by every county and municipality in North Carolina”,
or “end Greensboro’s Rental Unit Certificate of Occupancy ordinance.”
The bills absolutely do allow local governments to have proactive inspections
on problem properties.
To make sure of that, last week and this week changes are being made to S683
to expand the list of probable cause to include things like “a history of violations”
and “violations of local ordinances such as overgrown yards and junk cars.”
Other improvements are being made to address other issues
raised by the League and housing advocates to make sure we end up with wise,
effective public policy, such as ensuring that cities can charge fines
when code violations don’t get fixed.
Deadlines and fines are the real teeth of Greensboro’s RUCO ordinance,
and we support them.
They added a requirement of 2 or more violations to be able to assess fees.
Chief Legislative Counsel
NC League of Municipalities
It is the threat of these fines that probably have been helpful
in reducing the number of substandard housing cases the city has on record.
But those case load numbers have been reduced by a change in state law a few years ago
that allows the city to demolish houses instead of just boarding them up.
You should also know that this substandard housing case load includes owner occupied houses,
not just rentals, and RUCO doesn’t affect those houses at all.
So the claim that RUCO has “reduced substandard housing in Greensboro by almost 50%”
is not accurate.
Greensboro’s RUCO program involves inspecting every single rental unit in the city.
After 7 years we now know that about 90% of them have passed with flying colors,
while, sadly, the 10% that are problem properties still have problems.
RUCO’s universal inspection approach has actually delayed cleanup of the city’s housing,
wasting time and money on the other 90% - including even luxury apartments.
The bills would absolutely allow the city to target proactive inspections
on fixing the problems and fine the bad actors.
From: Mary Gwyn
Subject: Please support safe and affordable housing in Greensboro and NC!
VOTE AGAINST Attachment 44 tonight!
Date: Tuesday, June 07, 2011 10:53:02 AM
We need your help!
As a manager of rental housing in Greensboro,
I have tried to support RUCO for years, but the program
has been fraught with problems since its inception.
You have the opportunity to help make rental housing safer and more affordable in Greensboro,
and save Greensboro tax payers millions in tax dollars.
Please VOTE AGAINST City Council’s Attachment 44,
a Resolution urging members of the General Assembly and Governor Perdue to oppose S683/H554
- Residential Building Inspections Act.
After 7 years we now know that Greensboro spent nearly $3 million inspecting about 35,000 rental units,
but STILL has problem properties in the city.
Only $1 million of that was spent on problem properties.
And that’s just the public dollars spent.
Even one City Inspector told me in confidence that he knew the program was not effective,
and that he had opposed it within his department.
The vast majority, almost 90%, of rental units properties passed with flying colors,
and more than one third of the violations were caused by tenants.
If the city had focused on the 10% or so of rental units that are truly problem properties
they could have used the other $2 million for faster, more effective action
on the properties that really need policing.
Instead they inspected everything – even luxury and other higher-end apartments
where competition for tenants alone drives landlords
to keep properties in excellent shape.
What’s more, because this “universal” inspection approach is overly ambitious and unwieldy,
bureaucratic inefficiencies took even more focus off the real work to be done
- improving the 10 percent of housing that is substandard.
The current RUCO program has had problems like reinspections of good properties
that have to be done solely because the city lost the RUCO records;
enforcement mistakes like neglecting to enforce the “repeat offender” portion of the ordinance;
staff making a fine 12 times higher after the appeal period ran out;
scheduling inspections on exempt properties;
and inconsistent interpretation of the ordinance and the maintenance code.
Not only has this wasted tax dollars,
but Landlords have also wasted tremendous sums of money dealing with red tape
and unnecessary inspections – real money that pushes up real rent rates.
We want safe and affordable housing in Greensboro,
and today is your opportunity to make a step toward that!
Please VOTE AGAINST this proposal!
Mary Gwyn, CPM
From: Paul Meyer
To: Schwartz, Sue
Subject: RE: S 683
Date: Friday, May 27, 2011 10:17:12 AM
We met with interested parties yesterday,
and it became clear to me the extent of bad blood.
Greensboro was at the top of the hit list.
Much of the discussion centered on whether the Gboro program has resulted
in any positive results for safe housing.
A woman named Miranda(?) with black curly hair argued improvements in housing
were unrelated to RUCO program.
The way it was left, our side will try and develop some language
to resolve Apt Association concerns, without destroying programs across the state.
Universal inspections may be lost along the way
if we don’t get leverage with legislative members
– particularly on the Senate side.
Sens. Vaughn and Berger are very important,
so you all need to do what you can with them.
Thanks for your help.
Chief Legislative Counsel
NC League of Municipalities
From: Channel Reynolds [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, May 26, 2011 8:31 AM
To: 'Beth McKee-Huger'; 'Michael Pendergraft'
Subject: RE: RUCO meeting in Raleigh TOMORROW
It should be noted that the current 2% sampling that we do for follow up inspections
was a compromise struck with stakeholders.
The ordinance initially had reinspections every 4 years.
Please let me know if there is any other data you need or in other formats
Sue Schwartz, FAICP
Planning & Community Development
From: Turner, Denise
To: Young, Rashad; Scott, Andrew
Subject: Fwd: Sb 683
Date: Thursday, May 19, 2011 7:22:07 AM
Rashad/Andy, I know the below referenced bill
would have a negative impact on our RUCO policy
if not make it obsolete altogether.
I believe TRBIC is very much in support of this change.
From: rick sandler
To: Vaughan, Nancy
Subject: RUCO/State Legislation
Date: Monday, April 11, 2011 2:45:27 PM
Dawn Chaney asked me to send you the following information.
She'll probably be calling you in the next few days.
...There's a bill working it's way through the legislature that would prohibit RUCO
and RUCO like ordinances state wide.
I'm sure it's no surprise that I'm in favor of such legislation
and so is the Greensboro Landlords Association.
...It is our position that RUCO is an extremely inefficient and expensive way
to achieve the desired objective.
The elimination of RUCO and RUCO like programs would not prevent local governments
from doing housing code compliance inspections based on complaints or probable cause.
It would eliminate the needless and costly inspection of the 95% or more of units
that pass on the first inspection.
My hope is that you, and Council, will choose to remain neutral
and not take a position either pro or con on the pending legislation.
From: Wegner, Doug
To: William Whaley; email@example.com; Jimmy Lloyd
Cc: Diane Meek; Frank Park; Norton, Lisa
Subject: RE: House Bill 554
Date: Wednesday, April 06, 2011 2:36:20 PM
I briefly read this. I think it is a reaction to RUCO.
From: William Whaley [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, April 06, 2011 2:25 PM
To: email@example.com; Jimmy Lloyd; Wegner, Doug
Subject: House Bill 554
Pleasetake time to read the attached House Bill.
If this Bill passes in its present form
the Legislature will set life safety back over a hundred years.
Carolina Code Studies & Consulting
Building Performance Institute Certified Building Analyst
W. O. Whaley