Local News

Raleigh officers receive housing code training

Posted August 30, 2009 6:12 p.m. EDT
Updated August 30, 2009 11:17 p.m. EDT

— Raleigh police say requiring landlords to register rental properties is helping to curb crime and identify code violations.

As of January, the Probationary Rental Occupancy Permit, or PROP, ordinance has required landlords to register every rental property in Raleigh with city inspectors. The registration fee is $30 for the first rental unit in a building and $10 for each extra unit in that building or complex.

The ordinance was designed to help alert officials of minimum housing, zoning or nuisance law violations, and of recurring criminal behavior. A training session was held Sunday to help officers more easily identify those violations.

“We did this in an effort to make every officer in the city very familiar with the revised property ordinance, particularly the noise violations and the nuisance party violations,” said Capt. J.C. Perry, with the Raleigh Police Department.

Officers at the training said they often get loud party calls near North Carolina State University. With the expanded PROP ordinance, officers can track which addresses citywide get the most nuisance calls.

The ordinance also helps with identifying repeat areas of  “prostitution, gambling, alcohol violations, weapons violations and things of that nature,” Perry said.

Officers said the ordinance also alerts landlords of what is really going on with their renters, and helps city inspectors keep up with code violations, such as structural, electrical and front-yard parking.

“It's just another set of eyes. There's only 20 of us inspectors for the whole city, and of course we have 800 (police) officers out there, so it does help,” Raleigh city inspector James Riggs said.

Failure to register a property can lead to fines of up to $2,000 per month.

Tenants can be fined $100 for noise or nuisance violations, and some crimes they commit can be held against the landlord's permit, under the ordinance.

Landlords who receive several violations can be fined and forced to attend management classes.

Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker said 90 percent of rental properties in the city have been registered. It is estimated that rental fees could generate more than $800,000 a year for the city.

The city initially adopted the PROP ordinance four years ago. Last year, the Raleigh Police Department pushed for the tougher regulations to crack down on bad landlords.