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Henry Fernandez's Plans to Improve Housing Code Enforcement in the City of New Haven

Henry Fernandez's Plans to Improve Housing Code Enforcement in the City of New Haven

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Published by fernandezformayor
Henry Fernandez's Plans to Improve Housing Code Enforcement in the City of New Haven
Henry Fernandez's Plans to Improve Housing Code Enforcement in the City of New Haven

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Published by: fernandezformayor on Sep 06, 2013
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Henry Fernandez’s Plan to Improve Housing Code
Enforcement In the City of New Haven
The Problem:Recent disturbing news reports have brought the issues of housing code enforcement back into the public eye.Most New Haven landlords work hard to maintain their propertiesin a safe and healthy condition, ensuring that their tenants areable to live in quality housing. Unfortunately, there are stilllandlords in New Haven who believe it is acceptable to makemoney off providing low quality and even dangerous housing totheir tenants, while becoming rich off the backs of poor people.An essential role of New Haven City government is to aggressivelyenforce the housing code to protect tenants in these problemproperties and to ensure that neighbors are not forced to livenext to dangerous, unattractive, crime ridden buildings.It is also important that New Haven continue to remove lead fromhomes currently occupied by children and from homes which maybe occupied by children in the future. Lead remains prevalent in
homes built before 1950, which includes a significant portion of New Haven housing stock. Lead negatively impacts almost allbodily functions and is particularly detrimental to thedevelopment of the nervous system and brain for children.Background:While directing the Livable City Initiative and then overseeing LCIas Economic Development Administrator, Henry Fernandez
developed significant improvements in the City’s enforcement of 
the housing code. These included computerizing housing codeenforcement, training housing code inspectors, and dramaticallyincreasing the total number of properties inspected every year.Principles:
New Haven residents deserve quality housing that respects theirhuman dignity, provides decent shelter, and ensures that they aresafe from crime. Quality housing protects individuals, familiesand neighborhoods. A slumlord on a block destroys propertyvalues, encourages crime, and reduces public health.
The City of New Haven has a fundamental responsibility tomaintain quality housing, including enforcement of its housingcode, responsiveness to complaints from residents and protectingrenters.
No contracts will be given to and no bids will be accepted fromreal estate owners and/or managers who have significantoutstanding housing code violations or a track record of operatingas slumlords.
The City needs to ensure that potential tenants are aware of properties that have been cited for lead paint violations but havenot yet been remediated.
The City will aggressively enforce housing code laws in allinstances but particularly in those instances where taxpayerdollars, including Section 8 project based funds, are paying therent.
None of these principles will be ignored in any way for any reasonand certainly not for political considerations, who someone mayknow, or who they may be related to.Strategies:
All housing code violations will be available for review online at
the City’s website
and easily searchable so that potential rentersknow whether a property owner is high quality or has a history of being a slumlord. This will also allow neighbors to track whetherthe City is effectively and timely enforcing against problemproperties and problem landlords. Transparency andaccountability are important tools to remedying housing codeviolations.
The City will create a new designation of “Problem Landlord”
which will be assigned to residential property owners whorepeatedly maintain properties in such a fashion as to raiseserious life safety or health issues for tenants or who maintainproperties in such a fashion as to invite crime. The City will makea list of Problem Landlords available to the public and will requirethat their buildings be inspected at a minimum of every year

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