Rental fit premises ordinance: Friend or foe?
by Jim Coleman, REALTOR®
RENTAL FIT PREMISES ORDINANCE, FRIEND OR FOE
Housing, shelter and the American Dream seem very common-place to most, especially those who would be readers of this column. Implicit in the foregoing sentence is the characteristic of meeting certain creature needs and comforts. But also implied in the statement is the condition of hope, of a dream, of desire to have the "needs" aspect fulfilled with ownership; hence the notion of the American Dream.
While home ownership is extremely high on the priority wish-list and many programs are created to assist in the process to facilitate the ability to buy and the enhancement for acquisition of one's home, it is also recognized many in this great land of freedom where dreams are made, and dreams DO come true, are not able to achieve the goal of home ownership, for one reason or another. These folks are known as renters or tenants. This was the case of my family until my mid-teens and has been the case at various times during my adult and married life.
It is an unfortunate fact that many people reside in facilities that most likely the owner would not occupy. Living conditions often do not meet codes and living standards of reasonableness; many situations are deplorable.
The City of St. George passed the St. George City Rental Fit Premises Ordinance, Ord. 2005-12-002, 12-1-2005, eff. 3-1-2006. Essentially, the purpose for this ordinance is to apply legal requirements upon landlords to assure minimum standards for living conditions for occupants of rental units, including homes and apartments.
The ordinance stipulates various items of construction including landscape that need proper maintenance and attention to assure that the dwelling unit is "fit for habitation." The owners of these units must have a city business license.
Along with specifying certain items of equipment, furnishings, decoration, etc, for basic recognized living quality of today's standards, the ordinance provides a rather extensive list of Property Owner's Duties for Maintenance of Dwelling Unit and Tenant's Duties for Maintenance of Dwelling Unit and Premises. To make sure the facility and general premises conform to the legal requirements, the city enforcement personnel may make physical inspections.
The inspection itself is quite detailed. There are some 40 items or areas of attention considered fundamental to the well-being of occupancy in the living or dwelling unit. They have to do with fire, safety, health and sanitation conditions which relate to the quality or "fit" condition for habitation.
So, is this ordinance a good thing? It is friend or foe, depending upon one's status or position: tenant or landlord, and whether matters would normally, prudently and reasonably be maintained with a careful regard for the people and the property that are part of the tenancy relationship.
St. George REALTOR® Jim Coleman is Associate Broker and Partner/Owner of ERA Brokers Consolidated. He works with Buyers and Sellers and Specializes in Residential, Investment and Commercial Real Estate, including Resort and Second Home properties. He holds National Designations of Accredited Buyers Representative (ABR), Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) and Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES). You can contact him by e-mail at Jim@RealtorJimC.com. Call: (435) 674-0600; or write: Jim Coleman, 201 East St. George Boulevard, St. George, Utah 84770. This and other columns are available at www.RealtorJimC.com/articles.
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