SOUTH OF THE 10 - As Inglewood continues to scramble for loose change in the couch cushions, residents are steadily making their way back to the Main Library’s lecture hall to participate in the weekly city council meetings.
This week the City’s enforcement of rental housing registration fees reopened old wounds pertaining to the Housing Protection Department (HPD) and the City’s continued violation of Ordinance 21-09.
The City amended the Municipal Code to include Section 2-152.88 which creates a Rental Housing Board consisting of five members who are all appointed by the Mayor. The City has begun enforcement of the program without the requisite board that was supposed to be seated as of Oct. 1.
Emails to Mayor Butts have not been responded to as to why the City is forcing residents to be in compliance without the mandated board being in place.
Over the weekend, property owners with rental units began receiving notices in the mail demanding they register their units , and if they didn’t, they wouldn’t be able to collect rent and would receive monthly fines of $500 after July 1 until they did. Where is the rent board?
Several residents likened the exorbitant fee as an undercover tax and submitted inquiries to the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association questioning if it is in fact a tax.
“Why, for one, do some units pay double? How is rent control in buildings with 5 or more units twice as costly to administer?” said HJTA Staff Attorney Laura Dougherty. “If there is no basis for this doubling, that is a violation of the last paragraph of Proposition 26. And why is rent control administration that much more expensive than code enforcement?”
Last September, the City appeared to have consolidated HPD with the Inglewood Housing Authority which further complicates dissecting of the costs to run the department or to determine if the positions the City claims to need the fees to cover personnel or also being billed against federal grant dollars (HUD).
A gentleman comes to the council meetings regularly to demand an explanation as to the status of the rent board, and for the City to prove they are not exceeding administration costs with the fees they are charging.
The public will not know the full cost of the housing protection department until September of this year when the 2022-2023 budget is presented.
The housing protection program was never about registering the properties, it was always about generating revenue. Staff already existed to process the registrations and if they are now under the housing authority, what happened to the five extra personnel added to process the rent relief applications? Why aren’t they processing the registration applications considering HPD is now under the housing authority? The City appears to be billing HUD and residents for the same duties.
These programs (housing protection and permit parking) aren’t well thought out, and because they lack public input they become a nightmare for residents.
Another example of the City not benefitting from the NFL coming to town.
This could be headed to a courtroom near you. Stay tuned.
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