Holding landlords accountable: How Fresno is imposing stricter punishment for serial violators

Local News

FRESNO, California (KSEE) – District 3 Councilmember Miguel Arias proposed amending the Rental Housing Inspection Act because he said there are too many loopholes.

“When the vast majority of our officers spend most of their time with one or two property owners of the hundreds of thousands of properties that we have in the city we can not attend to the rest of the issues that we have within our city,” said Arias.

The Rental Housing Inspection Act was enacted one year ago and it requires any rental units to be inspected by the city to make sure it is up to code. 

This amendment is designed to make it more effective. 

“The number one complaint that we get is there (are) dilapidated houses, there is garbage on the street, there (are) improvements that have to be made,” said Arias. 

He said a small group of landlords are creating a big time problem by not keeping their rentals up to code. 

One renter said he has had numerous run ins with his property management company. He said it sometimes takes them days and sometimes weeks to fix anything. 

“It’s nasty, it’s filthy, the water presser doesn’t work, you are missing a lot of living elements,” he said. 

Cindy Dudley with the Better Business Bureau said they have processed hundreds of complaints involving unhappy renters. 

“It’s a free service for consumers,” said Dudley. “What we provide is a neutral unbiased platform for businesses and consumers to come together.”

With this new amendment if a property company receives 10 violations within the same year they become serial violators and Arias said they will pay the price. 

“From one thousand to ten thousand dollars for each citation after they were classified as a serial violator,” said Arias.

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