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Inspections: Failing is not an option!

If you own a property in Los Angeles then you know how important inspections are. Inspections could be the breaking point of your profit if you fail, therefore it is important for owners to be informed of the inspection process. The Los Angeles Housing Code Enforcement Divison is cracking down on unapproved construction and unsafe living conditions. It is stated in the their mission statement

"It is the mission of the Los Angeles Housing Department Code Enforcement Division to identify and facilitate the abatement of physical conditions and characteristics of substandard and unsanitary residential buildings and dwelling units which render them unfit or unsafe for human occupancy and habitation and which conditions and characteristics are such as to be detrimental to or jeopardize the health safety and welfare of their occupants and of the public."

n top of the routine inspections given by the Housing department, there is a separate division under it called the Complaint Department. This department's sole purpose is for tenants living in a property who feel their living conditions are unsuitable for them to live in. The city inspection department answers within 72 hours. After, the department has spoken to the complainee, an inspector will come to visit the property and unit of the tenant that made a complaint. In most cases the owner is unaware of the inspection happening because it is not required to inform the property owner until after the inspection is completed. 

If the inspector finds three or more violations in the building, including the common area, the inspector will report the property for an additional inspection for the next available opening. Here are a few tips to make sure your property has no grounds for complaints and that you pass your routine inspections: 

COMMON AREAS:

Make sure that the common area is clean. Meaning there should be no sign of trash, graffiti, or debris.  This should be taken care of by your on site manager, if applicable.

EXITS:

The exits of the property are to be cleared at all times. That means there should be no stored goods in the passageway leading to an exit.

 EVIDENCE OF VERMIN, RODENT OR INSECT INFESTATION:

This one may be harder to maintain because those critters seem to be everywhere, but make sure the units are maintained to lessen their whereabouts. 

SINK & TUB CHIPPING:

The sink and tub should be in good enough condition with no signs of paint chips. 

MISSING AND TORN WINDOW SCREENS:

Window screens for insects should be on every window and undamaged. Meaning, if a screen is torn or not fully on it should be fixed or replaced.SCREEN VENTS: Vent screens are located above the stove in the kitchen. There should be a working screen above the stove. It could be an automated fan  or a mounted hole in the ceiling, but it must have a screen. The screen needs to be clean, with no sign of grease or dust blockage.

FIRE EQUIPMENT AND EXIT DOORS:

There should be fire extinguishers accessible for all the tenants located on the property and the needle should be in the green zone of the dial. If there is a hose located on the property, make sure it’s tucked away. Exit doors need to be accessible to those to unlock and accessible to those who are on the inside of the building to exit.

SMOKE DETECTORS:

All smoke detectors should be functioning correctly. 

DAMAGE CEILING WALLS AND FLOORS:

Look at the ceiling walls of the units, if stained, most likely it is from water damaged from the outside. That should be taken care of immediately! It’s safer for the tenant and might save you money in the long run if the problem is leaky pipes. 

PLUMBING:

All pipes should be tightly sealed to the sink and operational  without any dripping or leaks.CABINETS, DOORS & WINDOWS: The cabinets, doors, and windows should be able to open and close without an issue. In the windows and doors case, it should also be able to lock. 

ELECTRICAL FIXTURES:

All electrical fixtures need a secure cover over them. There shouldn’t be any exposed light bulbs on the ceilings or on the walls. The switches and outlets should also be covered. 

ou should conduct an in house inspection of the units at least once a month to make sure that everything is up to code, and with common area you should do a quick inspection at least once a week. 

his article is based on information found at 

Windrich, Zoran. "How to Prepare for a Code Enforcement Inspection 2008." Windrich Group. Web. 16 Oct. 2014. .

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