SLO rental inspection program moves forward

December 17, 2014

house for rentBy KAREN VELIE

At a contentious council meeting attended by approximately 200 people, San Luis Obispo City Council voted 3-2 Tuesday to have staff draft a rental inspection ordinance aimed at eliminating unsafe housing conditions.

During the more than four-hour meeting, the bulk of those speaking at public comment were opposed to the city implementing a rental inspection program. Many opponents of the program argued against government intrusion into their homes while others said it was a tax on rentals disguised as a fee.

City staff countered by noting that some tenants were afraid to turn in their landlords for serious violations because of the fear of eviction and a shortage of available rental units.

In addition, if the ordinance is passed, it is expected that the tenant would have a right under the U.S. Constitution to refuse the inspection. Even so, critics of the program said many renters would not be aware of their Constitutional rights.

Councilmen Dan Carpenter and Dan Rivorie voted against having staff draft the ordinance wanting more time to look into the issue.

]ad] Carlyn Christianson said she supports all staff recommendations and made a motion to move forward. Both Mayor Jan Marx and Councilman John Ashbaugh voted in favor the rental inspection program.

If the ordinance passes, city staff will inspect each residential rental in R-1 and R-2 Zones every three years. Apartment complexes are exempt from the new inspection program under the proposal.

Owners of the targeted rental properties will be required cover the cost of the program through a yearly
“fee” assessed of about $98 per rental unit. With almost 4,200 rental units in the R-1 and R-2 Zones, the city will collect approximately $411,600 a year to fund the inspection program.

Several landlords told the council the fee would then be passed on to renters.


San Luis Obispo is a college town and a tourist town (as well as a homeless destination) now and that isn’t changing, ever. Renters that don’t like that should really consider moving somewhere else. I spent my first 25 years in SLO and loved the town, and have lived elsewhere in the county for the last 20 years and haven’t missed SLO at all. SLO will always be expensive and will always cater to the college and the tourists and the homeless at the expense of the working residents.

I don’t feel sorry for the renters or the landlords in this situation. The renters have chosen to live there, and the landlords are making a fortune on rent. Complaining about the $100/year is petty. The only problem I have with this proposal is the privacy rights of the renters.


another sad day for America, another business as usual day for the most corrupt government in the entire U.S. – SLO CITY GOVERNMENT.


Raising the cost of renting by only $100/yr? What happens when the inspectors go in to all of these older homes that define the character of downtown, only to find that *surprise* it isn’t up to modern day codes. Not dangerous, just not modernized. Now permits must be pulled and contractors hired to fix all of the violations. $50k later – and who is that going to be passed onto?

No one is coming into my house unless you are a cop with a search warrant.

Kevin Rice

A piece of paper is all it takes to invade your home?


If you suspect or currently live in a place that has safety issues that you’ve identified to the landlord and he/she refuses to repair/replace, you need to lodge a complaint with the city. END OF STORY!

If you fear retaliation, document, take photographs and have witnesses be present. In today’s rental market, the tenant has many rights related to living conditions.

The argument that tenants fear being evicted for reporting issues is a red herring. This is nothing more than a power play by the city staff to create additional positions within the city.

I would venture a guess that if you support this proposal, you voted YES on measure “G”.


Has the city council ever thought why houses are are packed with to many people it has

ALOT to do with the outrageous rents that are getting charged.I am sure that there are some that are not up to code/standards but I am guessing not whole lot.Do they think that the

landlords were kidding about passing it on to their tenants?So I will be looking forward to

another rent increase for the money making scheme that the city council has come up



Has the city council ever thought why houses are are packed with to many people it has


Do governments ever think about their effect on society?

If rental rates are outrageous it’s because govt. limited growth. You know darn well there are dozens of developers who have tried and who are trying to develop both single family housing and higher density housing and the govt. shuts them down. So when the govt. limits supply of course demand exceeds supply and housing prices go through the roof.

And once govt. gets involved it never ever gets uninvolved and it only grows. They are going to have to hire dozens of rental inspectors to inspect the rental properties–at govt. rate salaries and benefits which long ago surpassed the private sector. Govt. is now the top paying employer. And once those rental inspectors are in, do you think they are going to find nothing and just rubber stamp rentals good to go? Of course, not. They are going to find problems and red tag rentals because that is how they prove their worth. And that means this new dept. will grow not shrink and it’ll need managers and it’ll have income coming in from fees from landlords and post work inspection fees and, of course, there will be govt. enforcement and lawsuits when people disagree and corruption–because that is the alternative to a free market.

It’s the nature of govt.


Rental rates are outrageous and I know the government could care less otherwise we would have rent control in place.This is just a money making scheme for the city.


Definitely a catch 22.

Rents are a function of the cost of the property. If Ia landlord is shelling out $3k/month for a mortgage and property taxes, he wants to get that back + a profit on his investment.

Those who bought homes when they were relatively inexpensive can afford to charge less but presumably will charge what the market will bear unless they have great long-term renters that they want to incentivize to stay.

I prefer stocks and bonds. They are liquid and you don’t ever need to call the sheriff to evict them from your portfolio.


Do they think landlords are kidding about passing on the cost? Yes, they are kidding. That’s not how the market works. Landlords will charge what they can get in a market. Nothing more’s possible. Rents are largely unrelated to landlord costs. Economics 101.

Besides, get real about how little per month this cost is.

Why are landlords annoyed by the fee? Kneejerk. It’s money out of their pocket, a couple of lattes worth per month. Big deal. You charge students $4000 a month for a firetrap, and cry about an $8 a month inspection cost?


$8 is not a lot to you and I do not buy latte’s or any other coffee drinks from

business’s not in my budget.I do not need to have the fee passed on to me already

had my rent raised because the market price on one bedrooms went up last year.This

law is a bad idea and if students are stupid enough to pay $4000 a month for a fire trap

then I guess they are not to bright.


So the students are stupid and not too bright?

Yet you choose to live in a town that is too expensive for you to pay the going rent. These students are in a temporary situation while they are bettering themselves (hopefully). You’re spending your life in a city with one of the most expensive cost-of-livings in the world and claiming that you can’t afford it. SLO isn’t going to change when there are people with plenty of money lining up to live here.


Yes I do choose to live here it is where I work and I choose to drive a 19 yr old car,no cell phone,no cable/satellite dish,no dinners out or movies to be

able to live where I work and when I am done working here I will move.


Don’t worry, the guberment will always have your best interest in mind. (eyes rolling) .

Another layer of fat and costs brought to you by a liberal near you.

Mr. Holly

I wonder if the dorms at CalPoly will be included? Probably not. This is nothing more than a government take over of people’s rights. A man’s home, or rental, is his castle and no government agency should have the right to just walk into someone’s home. People think that when the tax assessor knocks on their door and asks to come in to look in their house that you have to. You do not and should not allow them to enter. Same goes for the building inspectors, they just can’t walk onto your property and take a look around. Several years ago there was a lawsuit brought against the county for this and they lost. This will probably pass as it is a great money maker for the city. If I lived in San Luis Obispo I would demand that all of the council members homes be put on the list so that they too could be inspected for violations.

Last but not least these are the same people that are promoting workforce and affordable housing, so why don’t we just add another fee on and help the problem get resolved?


Work force housing and affordable housing is just hot air that the city blows when they think

the good folks of SLO are listening.


Workforce housing is being taken away by student rentals. See the LUCE article in current SLO Life magazine for a down to earth explanation of what’s going on with workforce housing conversion to student housing.


Yes I realize that but they keep talking about it work force housing it is the buzz

word when elections come around.There is no incentives for the landlords not to

rent to students they are willing to pay whatever the market price demands and

the workforce gets to try compete for the very same rentals

The city is just finding other ways to make money pure and simple.


You could’ve had 1000 people come and speak out against this insane tax disguised as a fee, Jan Marx, Carolyn Christianson and John Ashbaugh wouldn’t be swayed from their quest for power and money no matter how many residence voiced their opposition.


You are right! They don’t give a rat’s a** about the 62% of us that can’t afford to buy home/

property that just need a reasonable priced place to live that doesn’t take half of their take

home pay before you try to pay the rest of your bills.

Rent Control would better alleviate the overcrowded homes if rents were reasonable there

would be no need to have 4-6 people living in a two bedroom home.


Of course the fees will be passed on to the renters. They’ll be written right into the leases.

Help Wanted: Residential Rental Inspector, requires basic knowledge of building construction. Salary $100k/year with bennies.

Rich in MB

Once again the SLO Ciy took aim and Fired right at the Middle Class and lower class renters. They just raised their cost of renting by $100/yr and what do they care…they just got more power, taxes, and golden pensions hired. SLO gets what it deserves…I’m shopping and buying elsewhere….voting with my tax and spending dollars!

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