Rizzo amends his SLO rental inspection lawsuit

November 14, 2016

justice 2By KAREN VELIE

Local activist Kevin Rice has joined a property owners association and several landlords in filing a lawsuit against the city of San Luis Obispo over its controversial rental inspection program.

On Oct. 28, attorney Saro Rizzo filed an amended complaint which includes allegations by Rice that the rental inspection ordinance violates his Fourth Amendment protections and right to privacy. Specifically, that under the Constitution the law should treat similarly situated people alike.

Because Rice rents a single family residence, his domicile falls under the rental inspection ordinance where buildings of three or more apartments do not.

Rice’s landlord has asked him to comply with the rental inspection program and allow city inspectors into his home. Because of this, Rice is fearful he could be evicted if he denies the city inspectors access, according to the lawsuit.

“The right to privacy includes the right to be left alone in one’s home and the home is the place that is traditionally protected most strongly by the constitutional right of privacy,” the lawsuit says.

Rice joins the San Luis Obispo Property Owners Association, Steve and Janine Barasch and Matt and Jean Kokkonen in the suit that claims the city’s rental inspection program violates equal protection rights and the Fourth and Fifth Amendments.

In May 2015, the city council voted 3-2 to adopt the ordinance that allows an inspector to enter and examine rental units to determine if the properties are safe and habitable. The ordinance also requires landlords to pay a fee to fund the program.

Landlords with rentals of two or less units are subject to the inspection program while buildings with three units or more are not subject to inspections.

City officials argue that buildings of three or more units are subject to inspection through a statewide program. However, the state does not require an inspection fee or have mandatory, routine inspections.

The lawsuit seeks the elimination of the rental inspection ordinance, the cost of the suit and attorney’s fees.







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4 Comments

  1. womanwhohasbeenthere says:

    Go Kevin! The rental inspection ordinance is nothing but another attempt to rake in money for the city. Many rentals will end up being sold (it is actually happening already), causing fewer rentals to be available and prices to go up.

    Tenants have a right to privacy. If they have a problem they can call the landlord. If he doesn’t do anything they can contact the city for help.

    This system has worked well until the city decided it needed more money to pay for its debts – $150 MILLION to CalPERS and another $92 MILLION in long term debt. The interest on the CalPERS debt is $1 million a month.

    I hope this lawsuit succeeds. Meanwhile Kevin Rice and Stewart Jenkins (complete opposites on the political spectrum BTW) and others are circulating an initiative petition to overturn the ordinance: call (805)242-2619 or e-mail info@SLOVoice.org to sign on or get petitions to collect signatures. This is a no-brainer.

    (16) 18 Total Votes - 17 up - 1 down
  2. UncleCharlie says:

    Haha go get’em Kevin Rice, you da man! That program is BS!

    (21) 23 Total Votes - 22 up - 1 down
  3. kayaknut says:

    Any bets now that Mayor Marx won re-election when she will again change her mind of the inspection program? Now again she will think its a good idea, right?

    (41) 49 Total Votes - 45 up - 4 down
    • Kevin Rice says:

      BARELY won. Rasor-thin. In fact, there’s a small chance Marx loses. Really. You’ll entirely read about it in the Telegram-Trombone. If they feel a 25 point voter reverse is news.

      (22) 34 Total Votes - 28 up - 6 down

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