On September 4, 2012, the Mayor and City Council passed an ordinance that requires all apartment complexes and other multi-family dwellings consisting of at least 4 units to have the interior of each unit inspected to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all potential occupants. The first milestone date of the program is January 1, 2014, by which all properties subject to the ordinance must have 100% of their units inspected.
AFter the adoption, Staff hosted an information seminar regarding the ordinance and invited all property owners/managers to attend. The seminar served as a forum for questions and answers regarding specifics of the ordinance. The following is a list of Frequently Asked Questions (with answers) that was distributed at the meeting:
1. Q: Who does the ordinance cover?
A: The ordinance is applicable to all rental properties within the City consisting of four (4) or more individual units available for lease and meeting the provisions of O.C.G.A § 48-13-5 for having a management office either on-site or off-site (all such properties are required to carry an occupational tax certificate issued by the City).
2. Q: What are the basics of the ordinance?
A: All properties subject to the ordinance are to have 100% of their leasable units (either occupied or available for lease) inspected and certified by a Certified Building Inspector by January 1, 2014. Thereafter, at least 20% of the units at each subject property must be inspected every five (5) years, so that 100% of the units at each subject property will have been inspected every 5 years. A Code Compliance Certificate which certifies all units passing inspection is to be submitted to the City coinciding with the annual renewal of each subject property’s occupational tax certificate. Property owners are also required to keep a detailed inspection record for each unit noting
3. Q: How often are the inspections required?
A: At least 20% of the units at each subject property are to be inspected and certified annually, so that 100% of the units at a subject property are inspected and certified after five (5) years. Code Compliance Certificates require the units that are inspected to be listed individually. This helps ensure that no single unit is certified more than once within a five-year inspection cycle.
4. Q: When am I required to have my inspections completed?
A: For the initial 100% inspection/certification requirement, January 1, 2014 is the deadline. Thereafter, the deadline coincides with the deadline for the renewal of occupational tax certificates.
5. Q: What are the qualifications for an inspector?
A: A person inspecting for compliance with the various adopted codes who is a licensed design professional (architect or engineer) or holds one (1) of the following certifications from SBCCI (ICC): Property maintenance and housing inspector, housing rehabilitation inspector, building inspector, building plan examiner or commercial combination inspector.
6. Q: What do I have to turn into the City?
A: Property owners/managers are to submit a Code Compliance Certificate for 100% of their units by January 1, 2014. A sample Code Compliance Certificate form (for example purposes only; actual form will vary in appearance) is attached to ordinance, a copy of which will be provided along with this handout.
7. Q: What if I have a lot of issues that need to be repaired before I can get my inspection---will I be given additional time to come into compliance?
A: The City’s chief building official (in this case, the Planning and Development Manager) can grant an extension of up to one (1) year to complete repairs necessary to bring units into compliance.
8. Q: If so, what will be the process--will I need to file a formal plan and have it reviewed by the City?
A: An inspection report listing any observed violations and a renovation plan must be presented to and approved by the Planning & Development Manager before an extension can be granted. Furthermore, no life-safety violations will be granted an extension under this provision and must be corrected immediately. Such units cannot be made available for rent until they are brought into compliance.
9. Q: What items are being inspected?
A: At minimum, the following categories are to be addressed: flooring, bathroom privacy, hot/cold water supply, heating, garbage disposal (if present), smoke detectors, windows, plumbing, electrical, doors, stairs and railings, walls and ceilings. A sample inspection report form (for example purposes only; actual form will vary in appearance) will be provided along with this handout.
10. Q: I have to have an annual HUD inspection which is much more detailed than the city's requirement--will you accept an alternate inspection?
A: Properties that have had HUD inspections no earlier than October 1, 2012 can utilize said inspections to meet the requirements of this ordinance. Any property choosing to utilize such inspections must still provide a Code Compliance Certificate signed by a Certified Building Inspector; provide a list of each individual unit inspected and keep an inspection report for each unit on file.
11. Q: On what code is the checklist based?
A: The checklist items are based on the 2012 International Property Maintenance Code. Details can be found online at https://law.resource.org/pub/us/code/ibr/icc.ipmc.2012.html
12. Q: What happens if I fail to comply?
A: Failure to comply with the provisions of this ordinance can result in fines ranging from $200 to $1000 for each unit subject to inspection, for each day that compliance has not been met. Additionally, the City can inspect the units at a non-compliant property if necessary. If this occurs, the property owner will be responsible for the cost of the inspections, and failure to pay said costs could result in a lien being placed on the property.
13. Q: Can I have someone on my staff that is qualified (meets the required certifications) do the inspections?
A: Yes, this is permissible.
A copy of the ordinance in its entirety can be found here: Ord 369- Multi-Family Licensing & Inspection
If you have any questions, please contact:
Shwanna Qawiy, Planning and Development Manager; (404) 296-6489 ext. 421 email@example.com
Steve Davis, Quality of Life Officer; (404) 296-6489 ext. 416 firstname.lastname@example.org