City implements $100 fee for rental reinspections

Posted 2/26/10

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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City implements $100 fee for rental reinspections


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 issued.

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 and safety.

“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 thing.

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 rate.

“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 still pending.

“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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