San Luis Obispo seeking rental inspection program

December 14, 2014

house for rentSan Luis Obispo City Council will consider implementing a rental housing inspection program aimed at eliminating unsafe housing conditions at Tuesday’s council meeting.

Every year, parents and students complain about unsafe conditions at some rental properties. Approximately 62 percent of all San Luis Obispo residences are rentals.

If passed, the city will hire rental housing inspectors to work under the Community Development Department, according to the staff report. Staff will inspect each rental every three years.

Rental property owners will cover the cost of the program through a yearly fee of about $98 per rental unit. With almost 11,000 rental units the city will collect approximately $1.1 million a year.

Letters to the council and staff have been primarily in favor of implementing the inspection program.

“As a business person, I usually shy away from more fees and taxes, however, I feel in this case rental housing is a big business in our town with little or no controls and some regulations can produce some huge results,” Marco Rizzo said in email to Mayor Jan Marx.


This is just a really really bad idea. Anyone who finds a rental unit unsafe can choose not to rent. By putting government in charge of yet another portion of people’s lives is just plain stupid. Once the “SLO rental agency” is created they will never stop adding regulations and fees to the already overburdened taxpayer. Rents will increase substantially if this goes into effect. What is wrong with people who think government is the answer to everything? Two citizens making a deal over a housing unit does not need a bureaucrat involved in the transaction, unless you are one of those people who think others are too stupid to make their own deals.


I read the letters (link above) regarding the inspection program. It seems like those writing are neighbors that are frustrated because the lawns aren’t being mowed at the rental homes, rather than concerns about whether faulty wiring will cause a fire and want a way to stick it to the landlords that own the student housing wrecking their neighborhoods.

I can empathize with people who live near student rentals as I did from ’97-’01, but this inspection agency won’t stop kids from peeing in your lawn at 2 AM.


A tenant or the tenants parents can already report unsafe conditions of a rental to the City if they deem it to be unsafe. The thought of a bunch of bureaucrats

entering 62% of the homes in SLO to determine whether they are safe or not should raise a red flag for anyone. This is illegal.


Hey, Los Osos is subject next year to nearly 100% inspection and costly toilet retrofits to meet water saving requirements to hook up next year to the sewer. Even your SINK FAUCET bubbler must meet the brown shirts demands.

The government loves power. You have no rights.


The $98/rental unit will be the tip of an iceberg. The rental housing inspectors job will be to find areas of non-compliance and impose fines on the property owners.

Seems like a good idea, however, one cannot possibly comply with all government regulation because some of it is procedural in nature (government forms and nonsense), and other regulations are ridiculous.

In the meantime, better get those couches and beds out of the garages people.


Please note that this “special meeting” is going to be held at 4:00 P.M.before the usual meeting.

Downtown Bob

$98 per year fee, but inspection once every three years = $294 for a ten minute inspection?!? Very expensive…seems like a much better idea is to self certify…maybe offer “Safety Certified” rentals to people and they can charge more for those unit…let the market decide. This still will not change anything but raise rents for folks, both students and worker renters.


Government would never permit you to do anything yourself that they could do for you by creating an agency and requiring you to fund it.

Kevin Rice

Are they going to issue search warrants? I would NEVER allow a government agent into a home where I live. That is unbelievably invasive and offensive. This program should only occur with tenant permission (just say “no”) or when units are vacant.

“Hey, kids, what are those plants you’re growing in the corner?”


SLO Council still believes they are liberal. Sorry, fools, you are clearly right-wing authoritarians (See:

Right-wing authoritarianism is defined by three attitudinal and behavioral clusters which correlate together:

(1) Authoritarian submission — a high degree of submissiveness to the authorities who are perceived to be established and legitimate in the society in which one lives.

(2) Authoritarian aggression — a general aggressiveness directed against deviants, outgroups, and other people that are perceived to be targets according to established authorities.

(3) Conventionalism — a high degree of adherence to the traditions and social norms that are perceived to be endorsed by society and its established authorities, and a belief that others in one’s society should also be required to adhere to these norms.

Right-wing authoritarians want society and social interactions structured in ways that increase uniformity and minimize diversity. In order to achieve that, they tend to be in favour of social control, coercion, and the use of group authority to place constraints on the behaviours of people such as political dissidents and ethnic minorities. These constraints might include restrictions on immigration, limits on free speech and association and laws regulating moral behaviour. It is the willingness to support or take action that leads to increased social uniformity that makes right-wing authoritarianism more than just a personal distaste for difference. Right-wing authoritarianism is characterized by obedience to authority, moral absolutism, racial and ethnic prejudice, and intolerance and punitiveness towards dissidents and deviants. In parenting, right-wing authoritarians value children’s obedience, neatness, and good manners.

Downtown Bob

Kevin, they are not right wing authoritarians…they have open borders, no respect for parents, no desire for moral controls…did you even read what you posted. Clearly they are new world order pawns and crony government pawns. Thinking they are the upper crust and the rules don’t apply to them as they do to the lower people. Think communist leadership.

Kevin Rice

I’m not convinced to agree. You base your assertion upon “old” traditions. Times change. May I presume you’re over 40?

You are overlooking the fundamental definition of right-wing authoritarianism—the “three attitudinal behaviors”: submission, aggression, and conventionalism. These behaviors are not temporally bound.

The neo-progressive era has ushered in a new set of conventions and morals. These neo-contemporary values most certainly include a moral code, but that code is very different from the 1950s Republican belief system.

The 1960s progressive revolution has now become conventionalism. It’s fifty years old now.

In other words, “conventionalism” (“adherence to the traditions and social norms that are perceived to be endorsed by society and its established authorities”) is more closely matched to the modern progressive mind.

Would you argue the purpose of home inspections—and plastic bag bans, Styrofoam bans, smoking bans, and drive-through bans—are not intended to aggressively enforce submission to endorsed social norms?

If you can’t or won’t make that argument, then it sure sounds like RIGHT-WING AUTHORITARIANISM, does it not?

The 1960s rebelled against tradition and authority. Now, the 1960s generation is enforcing tradition and authority. Many have become what they opposed.

It’s the new right-wing. And I oppose it, just as they did.


Don’t fall into the trap that government sets for you. Left argues vs right and the citizens take sides. Our side is good and the other is bad.

They are all the problem. Government will only continue to grow and unlike Apple or Google, in order for government to grow it must shrink the rest of society by taking from it.

Until citizens rebel against all politicians, the status quo will remain.


a government of the people and by the people eh?


I bet these “Rental housing inspectors” will make a nice salary + benefits since they will be SLO city employees.

$98 per rental unit x a gazillion rental units= lots more $$ in the city coffers.

Lots more $$ to use toward city salaries and pensions since WAY more revenue will be collected than will be needed to “inspect” rentals every 3 years.

Well played, SLO City Community Development Department. You’ve found yet another way to raise fees, intrude on residents’ privacy AND expand city government in one swoop.


Uhhhh….wait a minute, back up the U Got Junk truck. Granted, there are their share of slum lords, but have you EVER seen how some of these students (greatest amount of renters) live? I have, and it’s reprehensible.


When my son was going to CalPoly, he and 3 other guys rented a house right near Laguna Lake. Yes, it was pretty dumpy but it was safe. And the owner of the house was a professor at the school. Sometimes he would pop by the house unannounced just to make sure the guys hadn’t destroyed anything.

It kept them on their toes.


“Pop-ins” without 24 hours notice violate tenants in CA except during an emergency. He had to break the law to keep them on their toes.


“Every year, PARENTS and STUDENTS complain about unsafe conditions at some rental properties”.

So we are catering to entitled Poly Students and their enablers? Nothing makes a landlord happier than fixing up a unit and then having it abused. Even good students are rough on units. Not much incentive to landlords.

$294 an inspection? That’s nuts. Safe and efficient rentals will pay for the extra time spent on those who are deficient.

I can hear it now. Slo Council “Inspection program is underfunded thus we will increase the yearly fee to……………”