Monday, May 5, 2008

Ontario, the city of uninspected apartments

Yes, I know I'm supposed to be a danged libertarian, but this just doesn't strike me as right.

Andrea Bennett covered this story.

It seems that there was a proposal before the City Council to require city inspections of apartments, at a charge of $36 per unit, at the astonishingly high frequency of once every 48 months.

Most if not all of the City Council members indicated their support for the measure at an April 15 meeting, either personally or by letter.

But now, the Council has deferred implementation of the measure, delaying its discussion until June 3.


Karen Fricke, executive director of the Apartment Association of the Greater Inland Empire or AAGIE, said her organization, which represents more than 5,000 units within the city, said she had planned a rally at the Euclid Avenue bandstand before Tuesday's meeting.

The scheduled protest was canceled, however, when city officials agreed to revise the ordinance, Fricke said....

Fricke said with the $36 per door fee, a few Ontario landlords in her association will pay $17,000 a year.

That fee was too high, and the proposed entry of every single unit would be too time-consuming for city staff, apartment managers and residents, she said.

Let's look at that $17,000 fee that is so detrimental to the landlords. For a landlord to have to pay $17,000 a year, that means that the landlord has at least 472apartments that need to be inspected that year. And, since inspections are on a four year cycle, that means that the landlord actually owns 1,888 apartments.

Now let's figure that the 1,888 apartments have an average monthly rental of $500 per month. (That's probably low, but humor me.) This means that each of the 1,888 apartments takes in gross rentals of $6,000 per year.

In other words, the landlord that has to pay $17,000 a year is already grossing over $11 million a year.

And, what's more, the landlord doesn't have to pay the money. You can guess what's going to happen once this gets ratified. Anyone who rents an apartment in Ontario will suddenly find themselves subject to a $36 inspection fee. Even if they stay in the apartment for less than four years, they'll still have to pay a $36 inspection fee.

But what the hey, the Apartment Association Greater Inland Empire (AAGIE) is just doing its advocacy. But they can't plead poverty.

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