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The State of Apartment Living in LA: Housing Code Violations Found in 90 Percent of All Units

Digging around this week in videos of Paul Krekorian’s Budget Committee hearings last month, I stumbled across this discussion with Housing Department officials about code violations in the city’s nearly 800,000 apartment units.

The committee’s interest spurred by Mitch Englander appeared to be whether there was more money to be squeezed out of the four-year cycle of all the units, inspections that the city charges landlords a modest $43.32 to inspect.

What Krekorian found sobering, you might find shocking:

  • Some 300,000 citations are issued each year.
  • About 90 percent of the nearly 200,000 units inspected each year are cited for violations.
  • Only 10 percent are violation free.
  • Less than 1 percent of landlords face any form of prosecution.

You have to wonder why this has never come up before.

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6 Responses to The State of Apartment Living in LA: Housing Code Violations Found in 90 Percent of All Units

  1. Craig says:

    Oh give me a break. Code enforcement inspectors cite owners for things that tenants do. Removing smoke detectors, missing window screens. I have records showing repeating violations, and repeated replacement. But no matter, it’s a cost of doing business. But beyond that, most owners are diligent about fixing violations within the time period given via the law. You aren’t hearing about anything because it’s not a big deal. The system works. Inspectors go in, find stuff here and there, owners fix what’s found, the housing stock is kept habitable, everyone is happy.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Does the City make money off the citations?

    • Craig says:

      No. Not unless the landlord fails to correct the violations. In which case rent may be escrowed until the corrections are made. Landlords pay about $40 per year per unit and, in my experience, units are examined every three to four years. There is no money directly to the city. However, inspectors will, by default, cite landlords for violations that are caused by actions of tenants. This can be frustrating for landlords, we’d like a little more balance in giving inspectors direction to cite tenants directly, but overall the program works pretty well. The really bad landlords are forced to keep their units habitable at no cost to the city, and the not so bad landlords simply have to deal with nits and picks from inspectors who feel they have to find _something_ at each property. I can live with that.

  3. Vote blindly, then complain says:

    I suspect the number of violations actually measures the extent of corruption at LA Housing and not the number of violations. This town is all corruption all the time.

  4. Craig says:

    From my last SCEP inspection at a duplex I own I was cited for

    1) Missing carbon monoxide detectors
    2) Missing smoke alarms
    3) A leaking shower faucet
    4) A leaking toilet
    5) A kitchen drawer that did not function well
    6) An electrical panel cover that needed repair.
    7) A double-cylinder deadbolt.

    Items 1 and 2 were subsequently admitted to having been removed
    by the tenant. Items 3, 4 and 5 were never reported by the tenant
    or they would have been fixed promptly. And item 6, was simply
    something that was never noticed by anyone and is also in the
    process of being fixed. Item 7 was also admitted to having been
    installed by the tenant and even if I did monthly inspections I would
    not have caught that because I did not know it was a violation. Most
    likely neither did my tenants.

    I was cited for items 1, 2 and 7 even though I had no control over
    what the tenant did in this case. Items 3, 4, 5, and 6 were fixed
    the minute they were brought to my attention.

    This is typical. I am not a slumlord. I have a property management
    company that takes calls and makes repairs promptly when notified
    by tenants. Sometimes stuff slips through the cracks for a variety
    of reasons. There’s nothing sinister here.

    Now how again is the system not working? And which of these
    items should I prosecuted for?

  5. The Icon says:

    Krekorian looks STUNNED that 90% of units get a FAILING grade from the teacher (inspector). What does it say about a teacher who gives 90% of students a failing grade? What standard of measure is the inspector using? Sound like Systematic Code Enforcement is like the grim reaper showing up to your door. There is a purpose…and it’s to write you a violation. And it appears they can always seem to find SOMETHING. Either that, or L.A. is a third world dump, based on these numbers.

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