Local News

Durham On Mission To Clean Up Rundown Houses

Posted February 4, 2004

— City inspectors started hitting the streets of Durham Wednesday to see who is in compliance with housing codes.

"The roofs, the foundation, chipping paint -- over the years, you get an accumulation of vehicles that are stored in neighborhoods for periods of time," said Reginald Goodson, of the Durham Housing and Community Development Department.

Two teams of nine city workers conducted the inspections.

"We're going to walk up and down each street in the community. We're going to knock on each home and if the resident or tenant is home, we're going to ask permission to go in and inspect the dwelling," Goodson said.

"We're just trying to upgrade the neighborhoods and their appearance and their livability, so to speak," said Gray Dawson, of the City of Durham.

City workers can also apply for a warrant to enter the house if a neighbor complains or if the team sees a violation from the outside.

While the inspection of homes is designed to improve the overall well-being of everyone in Durham, some residents are concerned about how the city will use the power.

Patrick Chu worries inspectors may look for other things. He is concerned low-income people will be targeted.

"If they're looking for substandard housing, they should use laws pertaining to that rather than using this as an entry," he said.

The teams began in neighborhoods near North Carolina Central University. On Thursday, team members will concentrate on the Trinity Heights Community near Duke's East Campus.

Owners have to fix the problems the inspectors note or risk being fined.

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