Following a study session in September, the Department of Housing and Community Services has developed a proposed Rental Housing Inspection Program (RHIP) Ordinance to present to City Council on January 28th. The program and ordinance aim to ensure that Santa Rosa renters are living in safe, decent and sanitary housing by proactively inspecting rental properties every five years.
If approved by Council, the new program will require registration of all rental properties over 10-years old, authorize a half-time Community Engagement Coordinator to provide education and outreach, and establish an inspection program using the International Property Maintenance Code inspection standards. Mandatory inspections of units would be required every five years. The proposal will allow property owners and residents to self-certify the rental unit meets all applicable standards, and 10-20% self-certified units would be randomly checked for compliance.
Currently, any unit built within the past 10 years would be exempt from the inspection program, yet feedback received may exempt units build within the past 15 years to be consistent with the recent passage of AB 1482. Units occupied by a resident with a Housing Choice Voucher would also be exempt since those units are already inspected. Mobile Home Parks, Board and Care facilities and hotels and motels that do not have rental units would all be exempt from the program. A one-time registration fee for each property and the inspection fee for the unit when scheduled would be paid by the property owner. There is a recommended one-time $5.00 per housing unit fee at time registration to establish a Relocation/Displacement Fund for displaced renters.