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Last updated on April 20, 2014 at 17:20 EDT

Beach Levies New Rental Inspection Fee

June 14, 2008

By JEANNE MOONEY

By Jeanne Mooney

The Virginian-Pilot

Virginia Beach

Owners of rental units in parts of Virginia Beach will be asked to pay $50 per maintenance inspection starting July 1.

The city instituted the fee to cover the cost of providing the inspections, which check single- and multi-family structures for compliance with state code, said Lynn Rountree , administrator of the Department of Housing and Neighborhood Preservation’s Code Enforcement Division.

The inspections are required of rental properties in the Rental Inspection Districts, a patchwork of neighborhoods that lie along the city’s midsection. They include Lake Edward, Green Run, Princess Anne Plaza, Windsor Woods, London Bridge and Oceana Gardens, according to a map on the city’s Web site at www.vbgov.com/ file_source/dept/housing/Document/RentalInpsectJ9.pdf. The districts are home to about 33,000 rental properties.

The city previously did not charge for the initial inspection or the first follow-up, Rountree said.

“We’re one of the few Hampton Roads’ cities that haven’t charged,” he said.

Chesapeake charges $35 per inspection and $10 for a follow-up check if violations are cited. Portsmouth charges $40 for the inspection and a recheck if it’s needed. Suffolk charges $50 for an inspection and recheck. Norfolk charges $50 if a follow-up check is needed.

Tim Gifford , broker and owner of Gifford Management Group in Norfolk, said his firm manages properties in the Beach’s rental inspection district. The fee will hurt people who have tried to sell their homes, but can’t, and now are trying to rent them.

“It’s just another expense they don’t need,” Gifford said. He predicted the fee, which is capped by state code at $50, will rise eventually.

Joe Wilkey said the fee will be a burden on renters.

“The landlord is going to end up passing this to the tenant,” said Wilkey, who is one of three brokers and several owners of the Virginia Beach-based Re/Max Alliance. He also leases to recipients of Section 8 vouchers, a rental subsidy.

“The poor people are going to end up paying this,” Wilkey predicted.

Rountree took a different view. Units that comply with state code will receive an exemption from inspections for four years.

In such cases, a $50 fee spread over the 48 months would amount to a $1.04 cost per month, he said.

Rountree described his department as an ally of renters. If a leaking pipe is reported to a landlord and not repaired, a renter can call the code enforcement division at (757) 385-4421.

John King , Chesapeake’s administrator of environmental code enforcement, said the inspections conducted in that city since 1990 have been an asset to landlords.

Some request the inspection before renting to a new tenant to avert possible squabbles later over how sound the unit’s original condition was, he said.

Beach rental unit owners may call the division and request an inspection.

The city instituted the fee to offset cuts in community development block grants, Rountree also said.

The $50 will pay for an initial inspection and a recheck if it’s needed.

Jeanne Mooney, (757) 446-2043,

jeanne.mooney@pilotonline.com

in other cities

Chesapeake charges $35 per inspection and $10 for a follow-up check if violations are cited. Portsmouth charges $40 for the inspection and a recheck if it’s needed. Suffolk charges $50 for an inspection and recheck. Norfolk charges $50 if a follow-up check is needed.

Originally published by BY JEANNE MOONEY.

(c) 2008 Virginian – Pilot. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.