RIP Without the Inspections


Once upon a time (2008, actually) the City of DeKalb contemplated a massive licensing and inspection plan for rental properties (PDF pp. 15-32) called the Rental Inspection Program, or RIP.

The proposed fee schedule for the RIP (PDF pp. 19-20) began at $78 for a building of 1-5 rental units for annual licensing and inspection. Two landlord demonstrations later, it was dead.

Then yesterday at the Safe/Quality Housing Task Force we saw that the city had revived the following piece of the Municipal Code (emphasis added):

a) Every landlord must register with the City of DeKalb within one hundred twenty (120) days of the effective date of this Chapter. The registration shall specify every rental unit and further provide complete information required on the registration form. Every landlord must ensure that the information contained in the registration form is maintained on a current basis, providing timely updated information when it changes. Every landlord must designate and register a local agent, above eighteen (18) years of age, who resides within DeKalb County and is authorized to receive process for any legal proceeding initiated to enforce the provisions of this Chapter. A one-time registration fee per unit will be Three Dollars ($3.00). Any landlord who rents a rental unit that has not been registered with the City will be subject to a minimum fine of Three Hundred Dollars ($300.00) per subject property.

In the new draft ordinance, the registration fee becomes annual and begins at “$25 per rental unit or $75 per structure, whichever is greater.”

A few of the landlords tried at different points to ask for a justification of the cost, but were ignored.

You know, sometimes I’ve said to myself, “yinn, perhaps you are wrong about the Task Force being the vehicle for reintroduction of the dollar-riffic RIP.” And I guess I am wrong; they aren’t even pretending this is about a RIP to keep renters safe anymore. It’s just a Naked. Money. Grab.

Incidentally, the city miked up the Task Force yesterday and broadcast the meeting. I choose to think the DeKalb Area Rental Association embarrassed them into it. Your mileage may vary.