Rental Property Owners, Owning or managing rental housing, Required Inspections, fees, and standards|

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Are there any required inspections and fees to be paid?

If you own or manage property that has two or more residential units on a parcel of land and at least one of the residential units is rented or offered for rent, then your property is within scope of the Los Angeles Housing Code. This means that in accordance with the Housing Code, the Los Angeles Housing Department (LAHD) must conduct regular periodic inspections of the residential rental units on your property. To do so, LAHD operates the Systematic Code Enforcement Program (SCEP). LAHD also conducts complaint based inspections at properties for which a complaint has been filed.

The purpose of SCEP and the complaint inspection program is to verify compliance with the standards set forth in the applicable building and housing codes. The SCEP and complaint inspection programs maintain the quality of life enjoyed by the residents of the City.

Examples of properties within scope of the Los Angeles Housing Code

  • Apartment Buildings
  • Duplexes
  • 2 Single Family Dwellings on lot
  • Residential Hotels
  •  Properties with Accessory Dwelling Units/Junior Accessory Dwelling Units – (ADU/JADU).

Examples of properties not in scope of the Los Angeles Housing Code

  • Owner Occupied Units
  • Vacant Properties
  • Housing accommodations in hotels, motels, inns, or tourist homes.

Systematic Code Enforcement Program (SCEP) Inspections

Currently, LAHD is making every effort to inspect all Tier 1 residential rental properties at least once every four years and Tier 2 residential rental properties at least once every two years. The inspections are comprehensive, that is, the housing inspector will inspect all buildings, rental units, and common areas of your property to verify they meet the building codes and standards for rental housing.

SCEP Inspection Process

  1. LAHD notifies the property owner of an upcoming SCEP inspection at least one month (30 days) before the scheduled inspection by mailing a Notice of Inspection (NOI). The NOI is mailed to the address provided by the owners to the Los Angeles County Assessor’s Office and to LAHD. It is the responsibility of the property owners to make sure that LAHD has a current mailing address.

  2. Inspection staff will post an Inspection Notice at the property at least 30 days prior to the inspection to inform the tenants/property owner of the date and time of the inspection.

  3. On the day of inspection, the housing inspector will inspect the property to verify that the property meets the requirements of applicable building codes and standards.

  4. If violations are not observed, the inspector will close the case and no further action is required. If violations are identified, a written order describing the violation is mailed to the owner. A copy of the order will be posted at the property as well. Learn more about orders issued by LAHD.

  5. Property owners must correct all cited violations by the compliance date specified on the order.

  6. After the compliance date indicated on the order, an inspector will conduct a re-inspection to verify compliance.

  7. If violations are corrected, the inspector will close the case and no further action is required, however, if violations are not corrected, the property owner may be subject to further enforcement actions including acceptance of the property in the Rent Escrow Account Program (REAP) and/or referral to the Office of City Attorney.

  8. Inspection staff can grant an extension of time only after the first re-inspection is conducted as per schedule and staff determines significant progress towards compliance.

Complaint Inspections

The Complaint Inspection Program provides a method for anyone to file a complaint about conditions in a residential rental unit or on the entire rental property. There are two types of complaints: urgent and non-urgent.

  • Urgent Complaint: Any condition that poses a serious risk to the health or safety, or present, imminent, extreme and immediate hazard or danger to life or limb, health or safety, of the occupants or the public is considered as an urgent complaint. Examples of urgent complaint: no hot water in the unit, no heat during winter season, illegal construction in progress, etc.

  • Non-Urgent Complaint: Any complaint other than an urgent complaint is considered a non-urgent complaint. Examples of non-urgent complaints: inoperable windows, leaky faucets, peeling paint, etc.

Complaint Inspection Process

  1. Anyone can report a violation. There is no charge to report a violation. You can report a violation either online, by calling (866) 557-RENT (7368), or visiting one of our public counters  located throughout Los Angeles.

  2. If a contact number is provided, you will be contacted by phone within 72 hours. If the reported violation is within an individual rental unit or an enclosed property, the person reporting the violation must include a contact number and provide consent/access to the rental unit/enclosed property. If the person reporting the violation cannot be present at the time of inspection, another responsible adult must be available for the inspection.

  3. On the day of the initial complaint inspection, if the alleged violations are not observed by the inspector, the case is closed. However, if the alleged violations are observed, an order is issued to the owner. Owner has approximately 30 days to correct the cited violation(s).

  4. On the day of re-inspection (specified on the order), if the inspector verifies that the cited violations are corrected, the case is closed; however, if violations are not corrected, the property owner may be subject to further enforcement actions including acceptance of property in the Rent Escrow Account Program (REAP) and/or referral to the Office of City Attorney.

  5. Inspection staff can grant an extension of time only after the first re-inspection is conducted as per schedule and staff determines significant progress towards compliance. If the property is within Los Angeles and not subject to the Los Angeles Housing Code, please call The Department of Building and Safety at 311 or (888) LA4-BUILD. If the property is located within an unincorporated area of Los Angeles County, please call (877) 966-CODE (2633). Cities within Los Angeles County which have their own individual code enforcement agencies may be contacted directly.

Inspection Protocols During COVID

To protect you, your loved ones, the inspection staff and others, we request that the following guideline be adhered to during an inspection:

  • During the inspection while greeting the occupant, the inspector will ask permission to inspect the rental unit. If the occupant denies consent to inspect for either COVID-19 or Inspection Warrant requests, the inspector will document the occupant’s response in the system.
  • Before entering the unit, the Inspector will ask if anyone in the household is currently affected by COVID-19 and/or other related questions. Based on the responses, the Inspector will determine whether or not it is safe to enter the unit.
  • There shall be no more than 4 adult individuals in any room/area being inspected. The Inspector may limit the number of individuals to less than 4 based on the size of the room/area being inspected.
  • All present during an inspection shall wear a facial covering which covers their entire nose and mouth. If anyone cannot wear an appropriate facial covering, that person should leave the room/area until such time that the inspection of the room/area is completed. If anyone refuses to wear an appropriate facial covering or leave the room/area being inspected, the Inspector may terminate the inspection.
  • Inspectors will provide facial coverings, based on availability, to anyone during the inspection who doesn’t have a facial covering.
  • All individuals interacting with the Inspector before/during/after an inspection are required to maintain proper Social (Physical) distancing of at least 6 feet from the Inspector and each other if not from the same household.
  • The Inspector will not touch surfaces and will rely on the tenant/occupant to provide access to different rooms/areas, including operating doors/windows/faucets/switches.

These measures are to ensure safety of the tenants/occupants/residents, property owner/manager and Inspector, as the Systematic Code Enforcement Program and Complaint inspections resume. If you have any questions and/or concerns, please contact the Department at the phone number listed on the inspection notice.

Case Management (CM) Inspections

The purpose of the Case Management inspection is to verify that all cited violations have been corrected in accordance with applicable building codes and standards. Case Management inspections are conducted after time specified for compliance on the order has passed. If your property is in Rent Escrow Account Program (REAP), an outreach contractor site visit is required before scheduling a Case Management inspection.

If your property is not in REAP or after an outreach contractor has conducted a site visit, you can contact the assigned Case Manager to schedule a final inspection. The phone number of the assigned Case Manager is provided on the Failure to Comply Notice.

Accessory Dwelling Units/Junior Accessory Dwelling Units – (ADU/JADU).

If you own a property with an ADU/JADU, your property falls within the scope of the Los Angeles Housing Regulations (Chapter XVI of the Los Angeles Municipal Code). Under the Los Angeles Housing Code, your property will be subject to periodic/complaint inspections under the Systematic Code Enforcement Program (SCEP), unless you file exemptions. Click here for more information regarding exemptions.

Fees

To fund the SCEP, the Housing Code requires owners to pay a regulatory fee known as the “Systematic Code Enforcement Program Fee.” The fee is due and payable on the first day of January of each year and is delinquent if not paid on or before the last day of the month of February each year. Currently, the regulatory fee is forty-three dollars and thirty-two cents ($43.32) per unit per year. A landlord may collect 1/12 of the annual Systematic Code Enforcement Program Fee from the tenant of the rental unit per month.

Property owners may also be billed for additional services such as inspections and substandard recording fees. To learn more about major fee schedules click here.

Appeal of Fee, Order, and Cited Zoning Code Violations

To appeal an inspection fee, call the regional office phone number listed on your bill and speak with the assigned Senior Inspector for more information. You may download the appeal form by clicking here.

To appeal an order (non-zoning code related violations) you may download appeal form by clicking here.

To appeal an order (zoning code related violations) you may download appeal form by clicking here.

What happens if your property does not pass inspection?

If your property does not pass an inspection, the inspector will issue an order which will list all violations. Generally LAHD provides 30 days to comply with the order. In some cases an inspector may grant an extension of time. However, if the violations have not been corrected by the compliance period specified on the order or any extension thereafter, the case is forwarded for enforcement.

Generally, during enforcement, a General Manager’s hearing is held. After considering all relevant evidence and arguments, the General Manager’s hearing officer may grant a continuance, refer the property for inclusion into the Rent Escrow Account Program (REAP), and/or refer the case to the City Attorney’s Office for prosecution.

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