In an effort to get landlords to comply with property maintenance codes, the city of Littleton will begin charging a rental reinspection fee of $100 …
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In an effort to get landlords to comply with property
maintenance codes, the city of Littleton will begin charging a
rental reinspection fee of $100 per unit.
City council unanimously passed a resolution establishing the
fee at its Feb. 16 meeting.
Under the new resolution, the first and second inspections are
free. The city will begin charging for the third inspection.
“If we are not getting anywhere, we will take them to municipal
court and they can explain to the judge why it’s impossible for
them to meet those minimum standards,” said Jim Thelen, Littleton’s
director of codes and inspections. “We just get frustrated with the
amount of time we are spending.”
The city began a rental housing inspection program in November
2008 after receiving complaints from tenants about bed bugs,
cockroaches, corridor lighting, damaged carpet, inconsistent heat
and other things. The goal of the program is to inspect all rental
properties with three or more units within three years. Littleton
has a total of 4,723 rental units in 240 buildings. So far, 918
units in 82 buildings have been inspected, mostly in the city’s
northeast neighborhood, with 62 certificates of compliance
Thelen said the fee is not meant as a revenue stream for the
city. It is simply a way of ensuring people will get their rental
units up to the city’s minimum standards that ensure public health
“All I want to do is provide motivation to get into compliance,”
Thelen said. “I don’t want to take away money they could be using
to clean up their apartments.”
Thelen said he settled on $100 because it is a fair amount. But
not everyone thinks the rental reinspection program is a good
John Measner owns a rental property at 5635 S. Bannock St. that
has 21 units. City records indicate that he has had eight
reinspections since November 2008. Measner said he has since
received a certificate of compliance, but city documents list the
final inspection date on that property as still pending.
Measner said he spent about $4,000 on a special fire resistant
door the city required, among other improvments. But he says the
real cost is the vacancy that was created. Measner blames
Littleton’s rental reinspection program for his 30 percent vacancy
“I think it’s grossly unfair,” he said. “The city is trying to
do everything to keep people from making a profit.”
Measner said his tenants do not like it when city officials come
to inspect their apartments, leading some to move out because of
it. He said he hopes to sell the building and get out of the
Littleton real estate market as soon as the economy improves.
“I’m unhappy with Littleton’s policies,” he said. “It an
inconvenience. It’s really a climate that is not conducive to
profitability in Littleton.”
Other rental property owners may see the reinspections and
subsequent fee as an inconvenience, but recognize they don’t have
much choice in the matter.
George Koclanes owns a total of 45 rental units in two buildings
in Littleton. The city lists his property at 5605 S. Bannock St. as
having had three reinspections with a certificate of compliance
“I guess it’s a good idea, it’s alright,” he said about the
city’s $100 reinspection fee.
Koclanes has owned property on South Bannock St. for about 30
years. He said he has recently spent around $12,000 on improvements
city officials told him he had to make.
“I had to put big money into getting the place up to code,” he
said. “I fixed it because the city said I had to. Whatever the city
wants, you do.”
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