Fresno cracks down on landlords who refuse to fix problems

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The City of Fresno is cracking down on landlords refusing to make changes.

"It is not okay for people to live in roach-infested apartments or have leaky roofs or mold," said Fresno City Council member Esmeralda Soria. "That impacts someone's health."

Currently, any one of these violations would set back a property owner $250. For some it is cheaper to pay the fine than to fix the problem.

Those fines are now about to get a lot more expensive.

A new ordinance unanimously passed by City Council is allowing code enforcement to come down even harder on repeat offenders.

"What we found were that there were a number of slumlords in our community and that our fine structure was not deterring or encouraging those landlords to fix their property," said Soria.

The ordinance applies to landlords with ten or more properties, and ten or more violations within a year. The first fine starts at $1,000 and can go all the way up to $10,000. Soria said if landlords cannot pay, they can make it up a different way.

"They can rectify it as well, so we do not want to be punitive," she said. "We want to encourage people to fix their properties."

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According to Soria, certain landlords are already on their radar. They are also asking tenants to report any violations. For those who tenants who fear retaliation after making a report, the council has developed a failsafe.

"We did put some dollars aside for tenant-based relocation to be able to help someone move into a different location that is affordable," she said.

Soria said a lot of work still needs to be done to fix Fresno's housing issue.

To make a report people can call code enforcement or they can call their council member directly.

The new ordinance officially goes into effect on November 11.
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