Chapter 8.40
COMPREHENSIVE RESIDENTIAL RENTAL UNIT INSPECTION PROGRAM

Sections:

8.40.005    Purpose.

8.40.010    Scope.

8.40.015    Definitions.

8.40.020    Registration required.

8.40.030    Inspections.

8.40.035    Certificate of compliance.

8.40.040    Re-registration and certificate of compliance renewal.

8.40.045    Re-inspection process to renew a certificate of compliance.

8.40.050    Complaints and violations.

8.40.055    Expired certificate of compliance.

8.40.060    Change of ownership.

8.40.070    Fee schedule.

8.40.080    Enforcement and penalties.

8.40.005 Purpose.

The City Council of the City of Palmdale finds and declares that there exist in the City of Palmdale substandard and unsanitary residential buildings and dwelling units the physical conditions and characteristics of which violate state housing and technical codes and render them unfit or unsafe for human occupancy and habitation, and which are detrimental to or jeopardize the health, safety, and welfare of their occupants and of the public.

The City Council further finds and declares that the existence of such substandard buildings and dwelling units threatens the physical, social, and economic stability of sound residential buildings and areas, and of their supporting neighborhood facilities and institutions; necessitates disproportionate expenditures of public funds for remedial action; impairs the efficient and economical exercise of governmental powers and functions; and destroys the amenity of residential areas and neighborhoods and of the community as a whole.

For these reasons, it is hereby declared to be the policy of the City of Palmdale:

(A) That it is in the public interest of the people of Palmdale to protect and promote the existence of sound and wholesome residential buildings, dwelling units, and neighborhoods by the adoption and enforcement of such standards, regulations, and procedures as will remedy the existence or prevent the development or creation of dangerous, substandard, or unsanitary and deficient residential buildings and dwelling units; and

(B) That the adoption of this chapter protects and promotes the health, safety, and welfare of the people of Palmdale. (Ord. 1273 § 2, 2006)

8.40.010 Scope.

The Comprehensive Residential Rental Unit (CRRU) inspection program shall apply to all properties within the City of Palmdale with residential rental units; except that hotels and motels subject to the transient occupancy tax pursuant to Chapter 3.24 PMC shall be exempt. All properties subject to this chapter shall be inspected by the Building Official or his designee for compliance with the City of Palmdale housing and property maintenance standards. (Ord. 1273 § 2, 2006)

8.40.015 Definitions.

The following definitions shall apply to this chapter:

“Building Official” means the City Building Official, or his designee, who shall possess all statutorily mandated certifications to enforce state building and construction codes.

“Certificate of compliance” means a certificate issued by the Building Official for residential rental unit properties, certifying compliance with this chapter and the housing and property maintenance standards of the City of Palmdale.

“Frequency upgrade” means modifying the inspection frequency to extend the length of time between re-registration and renewal of certificate of compliance of a residential rental unit.

“Housing and property maintenance standards” means the health, safety, and technical construction codes as amended, adopted and incorporated by reference in Chapters 8.04 and 8.08 PMC and in the property maintenance standards set forth in Chapter 8.36 PMC.

“Inspection frequency” means the length of time between inspections for renewal of certification of residential rental units.

“Maintenance request log” means the log required to be maintained by the owner or manager of a residential rental unit, which shall record all tenant requests for repairs, the time estimated at the time of the request for repairs to be completed, and the completion date of the repairs.

“Major violation” shall mean any one or more of the following violations:

(A) Heating system not fully operational at any time between October and May of the following year.

(B) Hazardous code violations, including any one or more of the following:

(1) Exposed electrical wiring;

(2) Collapsed ceiling or walls caused by water leakage;

(3) Sewage leakage into walls, floors or onto the ground;

(4) Structural damage resulting in the building being determined by the Building Official to be unsafe;

(5) Fire alarm system not fully operational;

(6) Firewalls damaged or not maintained.

“Noncompliance with notice and order” means that the owner, his authorized agent, or other responsible party does not make required repairs as provided in notice and order from the Building Official.

“Other violations” means any violation other then those defined as a major violation.

“Partners Against Crime (PAC) certified property” shall mean a property containing one or more residential rental units certified to meet the requirements of the City’s PAC program.

“Property management posting” means a sign required to be posted and maintained at all times which shall include the address and location to obtain repair requests and a current 24-hour emergency phone number. The sign shall be posted close to the main entrance in an area accessible and visible to the general public, or as may otherwise be approved in writing by the Building Official.

“Repair request form” means a two-part form the owner of a property must provide to all tenants. The form shall indicate the address the form is to be delivered to for repair requests and an area for the manager or owner to sign the receipt of the repair request. The owner shall provide a copy of the request to the tenant.

“Residential rental unit” means a rented or leased single-family residential building or a rented or leased residential dwelling unit within a single-family or multiresidential building. (Ord. 1408 § 7, 2010; Ord. 1273 § 2, 2006)

8.40.020 Registration required.

All owners of residential rental units shall register each such unit with the Building Official and comply with all the requirements of this chapter within 60 days of acquiring ownership, or within 60 days of a property being converted to a residential rental unit or being converted to include a residential rental unit. A fee shall not be required to register new construction, which shall not require re-registration for five years unless its certificate of compliance is terminated or otherwise expires. (Ord. 1307 § 1, 2007; Ord. 1273 § 2, 2006)

8.40.030 Inspections.

All rental properties shall be inspected for compliance with City of Palmdale housing and property maintenance standards. The owner shall provide access for inspection within 10 working days of the Building Official’s request. The Building Official in his discretion may require inspections by other City departments and/or Los Angeles County enforcement agencies, including, but not limited to, the County Health Department and Fire Department. (Ord. 1273 § 2, 2006)

8.40.035 Certificate of compliance.

(A) Owners of all residential rental units shall have obtained and maintain for them a valid and current certificate of compliance. All residential rental units that do not have a certificate of compliance, and their owners, shall be in violation of this chapter unless all registration requirements have been met by the owner and site inspections have not been completed through no fault or lack of action by the owner.

(B) A certificate of compliance shall be issued for all residential rental units upon completion of the following:

(1) The residential rental unit property has been inspected and approved by the Building Official.

(2) Any existing code violations have been corrected and/or repaired with proper permits and inspections.

(3) The repair request form and maintenance request log is complete and approved by the Building Official. On properties with an on-site manager’s unit or a management office, the maintenance request log shall be maintained at that location. On properties with no on-site manager’s unit or management office, it shall be maintained at a location designated by the Building Official. The maintenance request log shall at all times be available for review when requested by the Building Official.

(4) The residential rental unit property is posted as follows:

(a) One to four units: a property management posting sign as defined in PMC 8.40.015 shall be posted in a prominent outdoor location and in a manner approved by the Building Official.

(b) Five or more units: the on-site manager unit or management office, if any, shall be identified in a manner approved by the Building Official. A property management posting sign as defined shall be posted in a prominent outdoor location and in a manner approved by the Building Official.

(5) All residential rental unit registration and inspection fees are paid in full.

(6) A valid City business license has been issued for a property with four or more residential rental units.

(7) A current complete registration application is on file with the Building Official.

(C) Issuance of a certificate of compliance shall not constitute a guarantee or warranty of the habitability or complete compliance with the City housing and property maintenance standards, and the occupant of any residential rental unit shall not rely on the certificate of compliance as such a guarantee or warranty. The certificate of compliance shall contain a notice to this effect. The City shall not assume any liability to any person by reason of the inspections required by this chapter or the issuance of a certificate of compliance. Certificates of compliance shall expire on the expiration date shown on the certificate and shall be renewed prior to such date. The Building Official shall determine the expiration dates of certificates of compliance and inspection frequency based on the nature of violations found during the residential rental unit inspections, the following registration and inspection frequency schedule, in conjunction with his review of past compliance violations within the preceding 12 months.

Registration and Inspection Frequency Schedule

Single-family or detached

•    

New construction – Certificate of occupancy issued within the preceding six months:

No registration fee

Five years

•    

No violations:

Five years

•    

Violations, but no major violations, found within preceding year; all violation corrections completed within 30 days after notice by Building Official.

Three years

•    

Major violations found, or other violations found but all violation corrections not completed within 30 days after notice by Building Official:

One year

Multifamily Two units and above

•    

New construction – Certificate of occupancy issued within the preceding six months:

No registration fees

Five years for PAC certified complexes, three years for non-PAC certified complexes

•    

PAC certified property, with no major violations found; all violation corrections completed within 30 days after notice by Building Official; maintenance logs current:

Five years

•    

Not more than one major violation found; all violation corrections completed within 30 days after notice by Building Official; maintenance logs current:

Three years

•    

Major violations found, or other violations found but all violation corrections not completed within 30 days after notice by Building Official:

One year

(Ord. 1307 § 2, 2007; Ord. 1273 § 2, 2006)

8.40.040 Re-registration and certificate of compliance renewal.

The owner of a residential rental unit shall apply and pay all required fees not less than 30 days prior to the scheduled expiration of the certificate of compliance. The owner of a residential rental unit property shall re-register and meet all requirements and pay all fees as for a new certificate. Upon re-registration, inspection and the issuance of a new certificate of compliance, the Building Official in the exercise of his discretion may grant a frequency upgrade to extend the inspection frequency one level; however, if all of the following actions are taken and certified to, upon his approval and in the exercise of his discretion, the Building Official may grant a frequency upgrade to extend the inspection frequency two levels:

(A) The property is a Partners Against Crime (PAC) certified property;

(B) All heating and air conditioning systems have been inspected, repaired and serviced by a licensed mechanical contractor, who shall submit a signed letter certifying to that effect;

(C) All residential rental units shall have code compliant smoke detectors installed in all bedrooms and hallways to the bedrooms;

(D) Ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) receptacles have been inspected, repaired and/or installed within six feet of all sinks and tubs/showers within all the units. (Ord. 1273 § 2, 2006)

8.40.045 Re-inspection process to renew a certificate of compliance.

The owner shall make available all residential rental units for inspection within 10 working days of the Building Official’s request. The Building Official in his discretion may require inspections by other City departments and/or Los Angeles County enforcement agencies, including, but not limited to, the County Health Department and Fire Department. According to the inspection frequency level of the property, the Building Official may, but is not required to, randomly select the following percentage of units for inspection:

(A) Five-year inspection frequency: inspection of 10 to 20 percent of the units on the property for the initial inspection. If recurring or major violations are found during the initial inspection, then additional units will be inspected. Any major violation found will result in inspection of 100 percent of all units.

(B) Three-year inspection frequency: inspection of 30 to 40 percent of the units on the property for the initial inspection. If recurring or major violations are found during the initial inspection, then additional units will be inspected. Any major violation found will result in 100 percent inspection of all units.

(C) One-year inspection frequency: inspection of 50 to 60 percent of all units on the property for the initial inspection. If recurring or major violations are found during the initial inspection, then additional units will be inspected. Any major violation found will result in 100 percent inspection of all units. (Ord. 1273 § 2, 2006)

8.40.050 Complaints and violations.

Upon receipt of a complaint of violations of the housing and property maintenance standards, the Building Official shall inspect the pertinent unit(s) and/or area(s) of the property. All violations shall be corrected and reinspected within the time specified on the notice and order of the Building Official in order to maintain a certificate of compliance for a property. Noncompliance with a notice and order of the Building Official shall automatically terminate the certificate of compliance and render it expired and invalid. All requirements of PMC 8.40.035 and 8.40.040 shall be maintained during the entire time period of a certificate of compliance by the owner. Noncompliance with these requirements shall automatically terminate the certificate of compliance and render it expired and invalid. If a property does not maintain its PAC certification during a its five-year certificate period, then the certificate will be automatically reduced to a maximum one-year certificate period. (Ord. 1273 § 2, 2006)

8.40.055 Expired certificate of compliance.

(A) This chapter is not intended to and shall not be construed to limit in any way the remedies available to the City to prosecute or abate public nuisances or violations of the City’s housing and property maintenance standards. Upon expiration of a certificate of compliance the City may proceed with any remedy permitted by law or equity to abate the violations or prosecute the owner and/or responsible party.

(B) Upon termination or expiration of a certificate of compliance, the Building Official shall not re-issue a new certificate of compliance until all of the following conditions are met:

(1) All violations must be repaired and inspected;

(2) All costs and fees due for enforcement actions shall be paid to the City;

(3) New registration and fees shall be filed and paid;

(4) Re-inspection shall be completed for all residential rental units on the property.

(C) Certificates of compliance issued after being terminated or expired for any reason shall automatically be scheduled for one-year inspection frequency. (Ord. 1273 § 2, 2006)

8.40.060 Change of ownership.

When ownership of a residential rental unit property changes either the new owner or old owner shall notify the Building Official within 60 days; if the Building Official is not so notified, the certificate of compliance shall automatically expire. All required property posting shall be updated. (Ord. 1273 § 2, 2006)

8.40.070 Fee schedule.

The City Council shall establish the residential rental unit registration fees by resolution. The registration fee shall be deemed to cover the cost of the Building Official’s first inspection and one follow-up inspection per residential rental unit. Fees for any and all additional inspections shall be as set forth in the regular fee schedule of the Building and Safety Department. (Ord. 1273 § 2, 2006)

8.40.080 Enforcement and penalties.

(A) Violations of this chapter shall be punishable as provided in PMC Title 1.

(B) Each day that an owner fails to register or allows a residential rental unit which she or he owns to continue unregistered or fails to obtain a certificate of compliance is a separate and distinct offense.

(C) In addition to or in the alternative to the penal sanctions set forth in subsection (A) of this section, any person violating this chapter shall be liable for a civil penalty of up to $1,000 for each day the violation is committed or permitted to continue, which penalty shall be assessed and recovered in a civil action brought in the name of the City of Palmdale by the City Attorney in any court of competent jurisdiction. The City shall also be entitled to the costs of enforcing this chapter, pursuant to court order.

(D) Any person, the owner or the owner’s authorized agent, or other responsible party who violates, disobeys, omits, neglects, or refuses to pay any fee or costs imposed under this chapter shall be subject to the placement of a lien, plus any penalties and accrued interest, against the real property, or any other procedures set forth in this code or in state law to recover costs incurred for the abatement of nuisances by cities. (Ord. 1307 § 3, 2007; Ord. 1273 § 2, 2006)