Last login: Friday, October 7, 2011
Tenants With Substandard Housing Have An Ally
Megan Burks’ recent article in Speak City Heights doesn’t tell the whole story. Yes, the City is in violation of HUD requirements to fund fair housing counselors. But these counselors help fight against housing discrimination based on race, marital status, and the like. Nevertheless, tenants have a strong ally in their fight for decent housing in Affordable Housing Advocates’ Tenants Rights Project (TRP).
The TRP is based in City Heights and serves tenants in need throughout the City of San Diego. Although the TRP helps individual tenants, their main focus is working with groups of tenants to fight for better code enforcement. The problems identified in Burks’ article- the City’s failure to abate infestations and mold, are true. But the reasons the Neighborhood Code Compliance Department (NCCD) gave for this failure are not. The City has a duty to enforce all minimum health and safety standards, including the abatement of infestations and every plumbing leak that causes mold. The problem is they don’t.
Frustrated by the lack of action on the part of NCCD, the TRP did a recent Public Records Act request and reviewed all NCCD housing case files, from the last fiscal year, for City Heights. The results confirmed that NCCD rarely enforces any housing codes, and substandard living conditions remain prevalent. See the breakdown of these finding below.
Because they receive no federal funding, AHA is the only legal services organization engaged in advocacy work to fight for better code enforcement. Free legal services are available to low income tenants, regardless of documentation. _____________________________________________________________
Type of Building Inspected: Total: 8536 Multi-Family 42 Single Family 4 Commercial3 Other/unknown Complainant: Total: 8545 Tenant19 Neighbor12 Unknown/ Not reflected in file 8 Other City Agencies1 Landlord
Complaint Classification: Total: 8532 Structural Deficiencies (leaks, heat, habitability, garage conversion)24 Occupied Unpermitted Structures (garage conversions, lived-in trailers/motor homes)14 Plumbing Deficiencies 9 Mechanical Deficiencies 3 Electrical Deficiencies 2 Fire Prevention 1 Pool Barrier
Citations by Type: Total: 2619 Administrative Warnings1 Administrative Citation of $500 (illegally converted garage)1 Civil Penalty Notice and Order (AHA client)5 Voluntary Compliance Letter Percentage of Cases with:Tenant Complaints: 53%Written Citations: 30% Abatement of Substandard Conditions: 5 % (four cases)
Citation Fees Collected: $528.83
October 7, 2011 at 6:37 p.m.
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