San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said Thursday he’ll increase funding to go after problem landlords after a Voice of San Diego and KPBS investigation showed tenants aren’t getting much help from the city fighting cockroaches, mold and other substandard housing conditions.
One landlord, Bankim Shah, owns nearly 90 properties, many of them in disrepair despite dozens of formal complaints against them.
“We have to send a very strong message and very strong enforcement that that kind of stuff will not be tolerated in any neighborhood in San Diego,” Faulconer told KPBS’s “Midday Edition.”
Faulconer also said he’d take a look at the city’s code enforcement strategy, which has left tenants in the lurch even after they’ve filed complaints with the city against their landlords.
Neighborhood Code Compliance Deputy Director Mike Richmond told KPBS and Voice of San Diego last fall his department doesn’t have enough resources to build big cases against problem landlords. Instead, it clears isolated complaints as they come.
Richmond also said inspectors can’t help with roach and rat infestations despite a law written by state Sen. Ben Hueso that says otherwise.
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
Congratulations to Megan and VOSD! When a news organization's work helps better peoples' lives, it has really accomplished something. I hope VOSD will keep an eye on this issue, to see that the City follows through.
Awareness and resources
California consumer affairs
Paying for the staff needed to enforce these codes and inspect possible violations is always a challenge. In 2010, after serving as Chair of Housing/Community Development, I proposed a way to provide funding for more inspections and prosecution of negligent property owners, and authored AB 2317. It would have allowed local governments to recoup some of the costs of going after slumlords, by using liens and other financial measures.
"AB 2317, Saldaña. Local government: nuisance abatement. Existing law authorizes the legislative body of a city or county to establish a procedure to use a nuisance abatement lien or a special assessment to collect abatement costs and related administrative costs.
This bill would authorize, until January 1, 2014, the legislative
body of a city or county to also collect fines related to the nuisance abatement using a nuisance abatement lien or a special assessment."
However, Gov. Schwarzenegger vetoed the measure:
BILL NUMBER: AB 2317 VETOED DATE: 09/30/2010
To the Members of the California State Assembly:
I am returning Assembly Bill 2317 without my signature.
It is important that the due process rights of homeowners are
balanced against a local government's right to collect a nuisance
abatement fine. The current system that requires a local government
to seek judicial approval to impose a lien properly balances these
For this reason I am unable to sign this bill.
And so local taxpayers continue to foot the bill as property owners continue to flaunt the law.
Way to go, Megan! Nice to see the news have an effect on the city. Let's hope they straighten out the priorities of the code enforcement division to ensure that extra money is not spent on matters of less importance.
@Felix Tinkov Like I said in another comment, it's not about spending more money, it's about establishing policies and priorities and seeing that they're carried out. You know, leading. You cannot lead when you're being led around on a leash by organizations like the Lincoln Club, the Chamber of Commerce, or the San Diego County Hotel Motel Association.
"Neighborhood Code Compliance Deputy Director Mike Richmond told KPBS and Voice of San Diego last fall his department doesn’t have enough resources to build big cases against problem landlords. Instead, it clears isolated complaints as they come."
Sounds like NCC needs new management who can prioritize rather than just address complaints "as they come".
"Deputy Chief Operating Officer of Neighborhood Services David Graham said that’s because the department has been in transition, and because the existing workload (Richmond estimated inspectors went on 6,000 calls in 2014) and a backlog of medical marijuana cases have kept staff busy.
Development Services Director Bob Vacchi estimated that certification could be completed in the next six months."
That says it all. "In transition". Besides putting the evil weed ahead of ensuring that people have a healthy and safe place in which to live, it takes the city entirely too long to address organizational issues. For example, look at the org chart of the IT department. Half of the management are interim assignments (including the Director) or outright vacant. They've been that way for a year. Unbelievable.