Landlord violations show steep drop in West Carrollton

The number of violations recorded by West Carrollton’s rental property inspection program dropped by more than 50 percent from 2017 to last year, records show. STAFF

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The number of violations recorded by West Carrollton’s rental property inspection program dropped by more than 50 percent from 2017 to last year, records show. STAFF

Rental property violations dropped by more than half in West Carrollton in the past two years, including a stark decline in outdoor storage citations, city records show.

Data from the West Carrollton inspection program that started in 2017 also shows fines for non-registration or non-compliance falling by more than 60 percent to near single digits.

Those are among the findings in the latest report of the program initiated after a survey found the majority of West Carrollton residents said they wanted the city to improve and maintain the housing stock, and curb blight.

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“Program effectiveness speaks for itself with the decline in the number of violations,” West Carrollton Code Enforcement Officer Bob Bobbitt said in an email.

“The establishment of productive relationships between the inspectors and property owners has been essential in obtaining compliance as well as educating tenants on violation prevention,” he added.

The city started inspecting rental properties after it was found that nearly two-thirds of all local code violations came from those units, which number about 2,500 and constitute more than 40 percent of the housing in West Carrollton.

Total violations went from 268 in the first year to 127 in 2019, according to the city. Outdoor storage infractions dropped from 55 to eight — the steepest decline of any specific violation — in that same period.

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Improved relationships between inspectors and landlords have helped cut the number of infractions by increasing pre-inspection preparations, Bobbitt said.

“Additionally, education of all involved parties and in some cases, owner transition to private ownership has also led to the decrease in violations,” he said.

“Properties are better prepared for inspection and continued monitoring throughout the year has been very successful,” Bobbitt added.

The most common specific violations recorded last year involved: general maintenance and drainage (23 each); overgrown weeds (15); accumulated rubbish (14); and smoke detectors (10), documents show.

The city’s communication with rental property representatives has been a key part of the program’s success, a member of the Greater Dayton Apartment Association has said.

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Industry association members were skeptical of the program at first. But said it “has proven to be a worthwhile effort to ensure the properties are well-maintained.”

Since the program started, the number of cases either sent to court or resulting in a fine imposed by the city has gone from 55 in 2017 to 16 last year, records show.

The city issues fines for re-inspections after violations are found or for property owners failing to register for the program.

Property owners are provided a notice to register – a one-time only registration, according to the city.

Owners have complied “in an expedient manner due to the relationships cultivated between the owners and city personnel,” officials said.

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PROPERTY VIOLATIONS

The city started a rental property inspection program in 2017. Specific violations which dropped the most from the first and third years of the program include:

•Drainage: 71 to 23; -48

•Outdoor storage: 55 to 8; -47

•Peeling paint: 35 to 8; -27

•Tree branches: 14 to 0; -14

Source: City of West Carrollton.

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