tv [untitled] April 20, 2012 2:00am-2:30am PDT
putting an emphasis on code enforcement. we have had one person up there and we have switched to another inspector to freshen about. there will be more added emphasis on code enforcement. i can answer the emphasis on any questions that you have. >> can you walk us through, like if we get a complaint from someone who comes in, what is the process through our department to the completion of resolving it. most of the complaints are coming in on the 558 #. whether it goes to the sixth floor or the third floor. it goes to the fourth floor and they sort them and put them to the correct division. they are all reviewed and
assigned. going through a lot more complaints than i would care to over the last month, yes, they all give received. it is very few where someone actually did not go out there. most went out there twice. mica said, we have a pretty good record of gaining entry. getting back to your question, the complaint comes in and gets routed to the pop -- to the proper division. if no one is home, they are expected to reschedule or go back out. we have a little paper that you can stick on the door, saying -- i was here. please call the following
number. the second time did you go out and you do not gain entry, you send a letter. with action you stop and investigate. once we issue a notice of violation, it is all time specified. the building permit will go to planning. often it is structural damages. having those plans reviewed by staff, some of these can take a long time. if we do not feel that the property owner -- and it is always the property owner, not
the contractor, is not taking enough, this is where changes. housing is more like a case management. they do like a landlord tenant. a long time ago it was decided that it was destined that the housing inspectors take that case from the complaint to the order of abatement. on the third floor of inspection services, being the building district inspector, you are out there and kind of more with the lay of the land. you know a certain contractor, certain houses. they will notice the second notice of violation. when it gets to the second enforcement, it is scheduled for the directors hearing.
at the directors hearing, you are to show cause for why or why not you have complied with the notice of violation. if the hearing officer does not feel you have a compelling arguments, he will issue an order of abatement and one is issued. it is very difficult to sell your property, even more difficult to refinance. finding the complaint notice violated. we are in the process of getting one right now.
a judge is going to ask them, okay, there is a room upstairs and if he did not see it, they would not get an inspection warrant. we have to have pretty good proof for probable cause. inspection warrants are costly and time-consuming. we do not like to get them, but we will, if we feel there is a life safety issue at the property. if you have a complaint or a notice of violation, there is no condo version allowed. there is a stick, it just takes some time. we are constantly churning through them. put >> is the process for
tracking this complaint updated on the computer tracking system so that the public can at any point check that project to get the information? >> that is what we are doing now. we started in the southern part of the city in districts 7, 9, and 12. >> 11? >> and ddi districts. -- seven is the b i districts. we have -- >> we have completed nine, seven. 12, all but i can say is that that is more work than anything else. they give us more work. >> that is 12? >> 12. five that is the first area right now. the geographic area is
visitation valley. >> first, thank you for putting the numbers into context. the complaints and violations over the last 20 years, but in the context of that, i guess i am worried about the perception of the public. i am looking forward to you guys coming back after thanksgiving, whenever folks have the time to sit down. where the work has already been done. >> we are not going to wait until thanksgiving. >> wonderful. i wanted to make sure that that got put out to the public. it is kind of demoralizing for the folks in the neighborhood with a few complaints and nothing is happening, or tenants who may complain and they do not see it moving, then they read 5000 or 10,000 in the paper. the perception vs. reality,
thank you for putting the numbers in context. i look forward to the follow-up of weeding out plays paperwork that has not been properly checked off against things that we still need to tackle. it is important to take that and put it out to the public. >> within 60 days it rarely looks different, but get to put expect everything will -- every single thing in there is not realistic. >> thank you, deputy director. i am also looking forward to how many of these can be addressed in the next 60 days. hopefully you will be able to come back with a harder number. >> just one question, so i understand, i know that you were working to read a lot of them diligently over the last couple of weeks. it is the focus of the 15 new
members of this commission. could we get someone of authority to pull the trigger on this? >> you go to the list and you hit the complaint tracking. that 12 -- tells you the address. after that you get into the button that tells you every permit ever pulled on that property since 1982. if you have a 2004 complaint, of what it should say is that it is
to comply with. if you have a complaint, you do not have to say comply. you can still say that if there is a rear deck in the complaint. adding addition in the rear, six months later it was final by the district building inspector. the building inspector was in the rear of the property, saw the original construction and the new deck with a plan the proposed existing and he made the decision to put more emphasis on the district building sector. remember, there was a complaint
attached to this. but for them. >> if there has obviously been no activity, no one complaining, it is another sign that it is past and gone. >> the complete tracking system we have. there is a query that you can do. that is when you go uh-oh. >> ok. >> thank you. >> with respect to the code enforcement process, a couple of things that might be helpful.
this process is somewhat the same for both divisions and sections of housing. for the code enforcement section, it has been said that the housing division has approximately 5000 open complaint cases. that is not quite true. we have 4700 open cases. only a portion of that is related to complaints. systematic enforcement is what we would typically call routine inspections for other divisions. then there is what comes to the complaint or referral of another agency. something like that. 2700 open cases that are complaints with 1900 that are routine inspections. 1600 are open because of the no
show on the part of the property owner. all of the information and a list of all we would like to look at. since we are charged with dealing with the complaint portion within a few business days, as they come in, we have to be able to address them. sometimes it takes a little while to get back to the circle within the space. we do that periodically, but we still have to maintain incoming cases. we have been looking at open cases since january. we could not do much before that, because there were a lot of complaints around heat, rain, things of that nature. under a certain period of time we go back to look at this number. let me tell you that we average
about 3200 complaints per year. we have got another 626 new complaints, because frankly it is a wonderful and convenient system. we have to take those and put them in complying tracking that is labor-intensive. we have to go back through to make the case for the assessment of costs. the code says that through july of 2010, the current assessment of cost in the hourly basis and our the rate, there is extended
code enforcement that does not charge for the initial inspection on the routine. they are to that time because not every case it's a violation and is right for the assessment as written. in the house in case we have well over $3 million since we started the program in 1995. we still have maybe a couple of hundred thousand where if the property owner does not pay, we go before the boat -- the board of supervisors. the property is put on the tax bills of the we get that money as well. but we were not satisfied with that. even though we were waiting for a new computer system, and took every possible type of thing that we take action on that could be billable, and we came up with a whole spreadsheet on
that. we gave it to the mis division. here it is. it was approved. there were the fault times because of the assessment of costs for administrative costs. and we have the typical actual times, so those of the defaults. if it is more or less, the inspector can change that. the property owners are getting that. here's a sample of what one looks like. this is just what one of those bills looks like. as you can see, it is not a significant amount now. using the tools that we have, they are somewhat manual, automated, and we are working closely with the director and the team to make sure that this becomes a much more efficient
situation in the future. we take this very seriously and i would say that because of staff shortages and inspector classifications with reduced numbers, we're hoping to increase the outcomes in the future. that would be helpful. >> any questions? since 1995 you talk about $3 million, collectively. >> that is the hourly rate for administrative costs, and i can tell you, $400 average, those were a lot of cases we had to build to be able to get up to that amount. >> on a yearly basis, that was how many each year -- >> more, depending on how the property owners have reacted.
we started with 35 cases back in '95, building support with the board of supervisors. now and we go before them, once per year in the summer, we get a very typical amount of support that it's taken off the list by the board. >> commissioner of them up wax thank you for this presentation. it is fair to say that we are all really focused on prioritizing the code enforcement process, getting it up to speed -- up to speed and understandable by the public. in the past we have had a huge amount of problems with old cases. speaking with someone from the litigation committee, it is difficult to deal with a case that is 10 years old in said that there is an urgent need to act oni am hopeful that the new
computer system as going to help with this process, to be able to just quickly eyeball a report of those things outstanding at any one given time. that's one of the hopes of our new system of being able to monitor this better. >> there is one more thing i should mention and it's very critical. the director did this and there was legislation approved by the board, signed by the mayor in 2010. it change the requirement for when the assessments of classes -- he needed to get the interpretation of the department to get an order. that's no longer the situation. as of that ordinance, when the time frame for compliance of the notice of violation has told. we can start assessing not only the hourly wage but a fee --
>> where is that on your chart? >> this represents before the ordinance went into effect. the time for compliance which would be about time of the reinspection, if the work is not done, we can assess the assessment of cost which is much earlier in the process. on our boiler plate, we changed all of the boiler plate to make it clear. there are warnings telling the property owner you have to comply or you'll be subject to these fees and they will accrue more quickly. in our warning letter we used to send out, we now send that out after the time frame of compliance. it very clearly tells the property owner that you are beyond the time frame for compliance. we are seeing the results.
people are complying more quickly. that was your legislation. but we had to get the information out to the people. the boiler plate and a warning letter -- we only issue one. there's no reason -- building inspection does it differently and it works for them but because we're dealing with housing issues, we are trying to get compliance much more quickly and this is working. this just went into effect and started to apply to notice of violations issued in january of last year. we are seeing the effect because it will accrue to thousand dollars very quickly. we would sooner see people put that into the property and not have extended enforcement, but when that happens, we would like to be reimbursed. >> when they call you and say
they have complied, how fast do you verify? >> very soon. we won't schedule it for an administrative hearing. we're not going to build them if we could not get out there for a week or so. the billing is organized. say a tenant called 50 million times on something. if something is legitimate, we're going to charge it to the property owner but it depends on what it is. we're using good common sense. a property owner is not being responsive and they're calling us several times that we have to walk them through the process, we will have to charge them. but we try to balance that out on each individual case. >> any more questions? >> is there any public comment on item number eight?
item number nine? a discussion on what dbi can do to help small businesses put a plan in place. >> good morning, commissioners. i'm the deputy director -- i would like to mention that we always enforced title 24, but that is including about 9% of the requirement. starting this year, we will enforce the requirement but we have to upcoming training regarding the requirements.
it is a five-day training. we also have a technical service to help the public regarding the requirement. generally for small business, what we feel is on bourbon street, most of them is due to certain people complain about the requirement for entrants even if they don't have construction. we may have upcoming when we have more training for brown bag lunch to the public. i don't know what else the commission want update on those -- >> i think one of the issues that came up among small
businesses in different communities is there has been a lot of lawsuits in richmond and my neighborhood -- i think it is a small group of people going in filing lawsuits with different businesses. one of the problems as they have had to hire private specialists to put together a plan which i think some of the businesses did and they were happy to do it and they got a plan but it was only as good as the next lawsuit. so what they had actually discussed -- why can't the building department or some government agency tell us how to comply?
help us -- tell us how to use your inspectors to tell us what to do so that it would make it a little bit easier rather than to have to hire private inspectors and stuff like that -- i don't know if this is possible, but that is what was raised. >> it is difficult. right now we have limited staff but we can come up with a recommendation for the public but we do not have the staff to go out to help the public because we are only dealing with construction or complaint or whatever. we may have something in the future. maybe a brown bag lunch. usually how to do in the future is not what we need to do because all of these lawsuits,
they will say what is your plan? are we going to put down $50,000 to update the entrance and the bathroom? unfortunately, we have a specialist on medical leave right now. once he comes back, we will come up with some guidelines how to do a brown bag lunch to inform the public. >> i have a couple of questions. >> yes. >> it is my understanding the state requires the department to have a certain number of inspectors trained within that department. we have a deadline. can you update us as to what the plans are to get more inspectors certified? >> that was the plan -- those
are extensive training. it is more than 30%. >> we don't have a choice. >> we need to go through the training before you take the test. >> what is the deadline? >> 2014 to have a large percentage of your field inspectors trained so they can exist -- so they can inspect in the field on construction projects and to advise the public in house with a diagram of their property and we can help them but we cannot make the plan for them because it is kind of like a conflict of interest if we are making the plan -- you
are trying your own plans and building your own buildings and inspecting your own buildings and it is a slight conflict of interest. it is it to help small businesses to be able to say i have been inspected and i have a plan to go forward. it's going to take some time and this is my plan and it has in some cases forestalled lawsuits. there are very aggressive people out there wanting access to properties that have steps and has happened lately, we have had many cases where the steps many cases where the steps encroach into the public right