This came over the transom yesterday from Anaheim Councilwoman Kris Murray:
Anaheim to Pursue Quality Rental Housing Program
City Committed to Ensuring Quality of Life for Most Vulnerable Residents
Just this week, Prevention Magazine listed Anaheim as 4th among the 25 Happiest, Healthiest Cities in America – ranking above Honolulu, Hawaii! Prevention Magazine evaluated 100 of the Nation’s largest cities based on 48 measures of health, happiness, and well-bring to find the healthiest, happiest cities in America. Their findings were based on well-researched facts, including access to green space, farmers’ markets, levels of disease, unemployment rates, and crime statistics.
Anaheim is a beautiful city with many wonderful attributes that reflect years of thoughtful planning and compassionate leadership – but there is still much work to be done to address some real challenges. Unfortunately, there are many residents in our community living in deplorable, substandard housing conditions. These residents are hardworking individuals and families being taken advantage of by disreputable landlords and left to live in dangerous conditions that violate state and city health and safety codes.
A year ago, I joined Code Enforcement staff to inspect a one-bedroom housing unit occupied by a family of eight after a complaint was filed by neighbors. The conditions we witnessed were so terrible and dangerous that the building had to be yellow-tagged meaning that no one could occupy it until repairs were made. This family is just one of many in our community living in conditions that include vermin infestations, crumbling walls, damaged stairways and ceilings, exposed electrical wires, mold, and much, much more.
Over the past year, I’ve worked with community leaders and city staff to draft an Anaheim Quality Rental Housing program to improve the quality of living of all Anaheim residents. Yesterday, the City Council held a public workshop, where staff presented the details of the proposed program. If approved by the Council, this program will give city Code Enforcement the tools they need to protect residents and would be fully funded through minimal fees paid by rental property owners. This program would include new resources for the City to work with property owners, including:
- Authorization to enter and inspect substandard properties.
- Tools to enforce municipal codes and abate violations.
- An education and training program for landlords and management.
- And if all else fails, the City Attorney will be authorized to prosecute property owners who flagrantly refuse to operate and manage their properties to basic health and safety codes.
Under the program, owners of quality rental housing and owners of buildings five years or newer will be given the ability to self-certify their units and the City will conduct courtesy spot inspections if needed to ensure compliance. Anaheim’s proposed Quality Rental Housing Program is based on the best-practices of successful programs across the state.
With the full support of my colleagues on the Council, city staff has been asked to draft an ordinance to be voted on by the Council later this year.
In the meantime, the City will continue to reach out to community stakeholders, local and regional apartment associations, and business organizations to receive input on the draft ordinance. Please take a moment to watch the full workshop or download the powerpoint presentation prepared by city staff, and share your thoughts with the City Council and staff by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
City of Anaheim
This is a sensible, proactive and cooperative approach to a serious problem, and Councilwoman is to be commended for her initiative. I think it is also worth noting that this program is happening at the behest of a city council that has been elected at-large, and will most benefit those Anaheim residents whose interests are supposedly not being represented, according to interest groups advocating for single-member council districts.