What is really behind Torrington’s proposed landlord fees/apartment inspections?

What is really behind the proposed landlord fees/apartment inspections?

Once last night’s (9/13/11) BRC (Blue Ribbon Commission) meeting adjourned for the evening, a lively discussion took place between BRC members and property owners who
attended the meeting. The discussion that took place was rather eye opening as property owners tried to learn the reasoning behind the proposed landlord fees/apartment inspections.

At first the property owners were told the reason for the inspections was to improve the quality of Torrington’s rental stock and to ferret out and eliminate illegal apartments. After some discussion, it was revealed that the city only receives about 10 housing complaints per year.
This, in itself is not a very compelling reason to add a whole new layer of city government.
Further, the BRC’s claim that mandatory inspections will help eliminate illegal apartments seems to be rather flawed. The property owners pointed out that the city is only going to be able to inspect those apartments they know about, that is legal apartments. Generally speaking, an illegal apartment is an apartment the city doesn’t even know exists. So how is the city going to inspect an apartment they don’t even know exists?

The real reason behind the proposed landlord fees/apartment inspections finally comes out…..

Finally, one member of the BRC came out and said what is really behind this, is that there
are too many children in the Torrington school district. Further, that BRC member believes the source is from over-crowded rental units. The proposed fix…..enacting a city ordinance limiting the number of people that can live in a dwelling unit. This most likely would be based on square footage, number of bedrooms or a combination of the two. This would be enforced through mandatory apartment inspections with the cost being passed on to the landlord by way of inspection fees.

My concerns as a landlord……

  • What happens if a tenant denies the city entry? Is the landlord going to be penalized?
  • What if an apartment fails the inspection due to tenant caused conditions? Again, is the landlord going to be penalized?
  • What if the tenant moves additional people into the unit without the landlord’s knowledge or consent? Is the landlord going to be forced to evict the additional occupants? A process that can be very costly.

Lastly, the BRC has no facts to back up the claim that over-crowded apartments are the reason for over-crowded schools. With the technology available today, it should not be difficult for the city to search their enrollment records by home address and quickly determine if this is a real problem or simply a perceived problem with no basis. I believe they will find the later to be the case. Case in point, the total number of school age children living in the six apartments I own is zero!

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