Los Angeles Systematic Code Enforcement Program Update

Property owners in Los Angeles have a tougher time than owners or landlords in other states because of a wide variety of rules, regulations, and programs like the Los Angeles Systematic Code Enforcement Program (SCEP).

SCEP ensures that rental properties in Los Angeles are inspected like clockwork, every four years with the goal of making sure that they are compliant with all safety and health codes in Los Angeles and the State of California.

When an inspector comes to inspect a property, they will be specifically looking for substandard or poor conditions like water damage, peeling paint, worn out flooring, substandard carpet or cabinetry, cracked tiles and more.

Problems with The Systematic Code Enforcement Program

Although this program sounds good, the reality is that it’s not been uncommon for tenants in Los Angeles to be happy to point out to inspectors what they consider to be “substandard” conditions which other landlords would consider to be “normal” wear and tear.

Following the inspection, the owner of the property is then mailed a “laundry list” of things that have to be repaired in the property along with a re-inspection date for the inspector to come back and verify that the repairs have been made.

What’s even worse is that if the list calls for structural or electrical repairs, the owner will have to pay for permits to get those repairs completed. If the property fails the first two re-inspections, the landlord will have to pay for more inspections, out of pocket, and those inspections can cost up to $201.50 each.

As of May 2019, some economic analysts have said the SCEP program generates an estimated $29 million dollars in revenue for the city per year so it’s easy to see why they are eager to inspect rentals and have re-inspections because those fees add up.

A Cash Cow That Has to Go

The Systematic Code Enforcement Program is a bloated revenue-generating a program that has to go especially if landlords in Los Angeles have any hope of not falling victim to inspectors who require them to make unnecessary improvements to their rental properties.

Thankfully, more landlords in the Los Angeles area have been fighting back against the City of Los Angeles over SCEP and since 2017 a group of landlords and tenants have been in a class action lawsuit against the city because of their unlawful and often unnecessary inspections.

Because of the lawsuit, as of May 2019, landlords and tenants in Los Angeles have the right to deny entry to inspectors.

By refusing entry, the city must obtain an inspection warrant or “administrative warrant” before they are allowed to enter the property.

What’s even better is that landlords/owners have the right to request a judicial review of that warrant before the inspection. This will add another legal step in the process that may motivate some inspectors to move onto the next rental property on their list of inspections if they are denied entry to a property.

Note – This article is provided for informational purposes only and cannot be considered legal advice. Please consult with your own attorney first before denying an inspector the right of entry to your rental property.

Contact MW Real Estate Group

To learn more about the Systematic Code Enforcement Program, or to speak with us about our property management services please contact us at (213) 927-2117 or click here to connect with us online.