SLO Council votes to repeal rental inspection ordinance

March 9, 2017

A stack of 1,560 pages of signed petitions.

Faced with a looming special election, the San Luis Obispo City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to repeal the city’s controversial rental inspection ordinance. A second vote at an upcoming council meeting is necessary for the ordnance to formally be repealed.

In May 2015, the previous city council voted 3-2 to adopt an 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.

Many city residents have opposed the program, arguing it constitutes government intrusion and a tax on rentals. Since its passage, renters have been removed form homes during repairs and some property owners have been forced to pay the city’s high permit fees.

Supporters of the program, which include city management staff, contend there are deteriorating neighborhoods in the city where landlords do little to maintain their properties.

In recent months, former councilman Dan Carpenter, attorney Stew Jenkins and Dan Knight led a petition drive to overturn the ordinance. About a third of the city’s registered voters signed a petition to eliminate the controversial inspection program by way of a ballot measure. If passed, the ballot initiative would replace the rental inspection ordinance with a non-discrimination housing ordinance.

Carpenter, Jenkins and Knight say the city’s rental inspection ordinance violates the First, Fourth and Fight Amendments. The ordinance discriminates between renters and homeowners and dictates an unconstitutional invasion of privacy, they said.

The signature drive left the city with the choice of adopting the ordinance proposed by Carpenter, Jenkins and Knight or holding a special election on the matter within 180 days.

Last month, the city held a public forum on the rental inspection ordinance, during which the council and staff were met with more public outcry. The council then voted to suspend the rental inspection program.

On Tuesday, the council took the next step of voting to repeal the ordinance. The council is expected finalize the repeal at its upcoming meeting.


Supporters of the program, which include city management staff


So Govt. officials and management supported a program that hugely increased govt. size and power?



I want to be reimbursed for the money that I was forced to pay. If they don’t reimburse, then we will find those who did pay these fees and we will take collective action.


How about refunds and justice for those who have already had their rights violated?


I feel fortunate to live in a country that has been blessed with our Constitution. Elected representatives need to ask themselves if what they are doing is constitutional. Our local politicians and the Un-elected bureaucrats such as the apcd for example are making our state a banana republic.


What a thought the council finally did what the people wanted not what they wanted. The hassle, expense, and heartache this ordinance caused is beyond measure. The people that shoved this ordinance down our throats should be tarred and feathered and run out of town including the staff that supported it.


The staff hired for this program must be let go.

Jon Tatro

Once again this ordinance was a violation of the 5th and 4th amendment to the Constitution of the US as was proved in Ohio 4 years ago but yet a completely lawless city government knowing this passed this bullshit ordinance anyway to yes illegally steal more money from the citizens.


Perhaps some toll roads are in order to enter the republik of SLO. Visualize the revenues to be had for every car traveling up and down Marsh.


And all the staff brought on board to support this now repealed program are going to be??? fired? Doubtful, more likely they will just be transferred to other departments, they don’t want to trim their staff or costs.

beacon of light

The city has a five-year fiscal forecast of a budget shortfall of more than $5 million by the 2021-22 fiscal year if no changes are made in current spending patterns.

If past city history proves anything, the staff brought on board to support this now repealed program will be transferred to other departments!


Not “fired”, laid off. And no, the City of SLO won’t do that either, SLO has more employees per capita than any city in California except Palm Springs.