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Santa Cruzans for Housing Privacy

Santa Cruzans for Housing Privacy
CITIZENS FOR HOUSING PRIVACY

Santa Cruzans against Residential Rental Inspection Program
    In 2005, several groups of citizens and the City of Santa Cruz sued UCSC over its expansion plans. UCSC won and so in 2008, UCSC proposed a "settlement agreement" that all the parties agreed to sign. Other people affected by the agreement, tenants, landlords and other third parties, were not contacted, consulted, acknowledged or informed about the proposals of the "agreement" or the effects of the implementation of the settlement agreement.     In the agreement, the University was required to build additional student housing on campus to accommodate the increased number of future students. UCSC wanted to make sure that since they were required to build new dorms that they would be occupied. Since the dorms are expensive many students choose to live off campus in less expensive housing. The official reason that off campus housing is less expensive is that there are many illegal units in the City and students live in converted garages to save money on rent. Therefore, in the settlement agreement, the City was required to adopt an Ordinance, by 2010, enforcing housing standards to eliminate the thousands of rumored "illegal" off-campus units and garage conversions.
    In October 2010 the City of Santa adopted "Residential Rental Inspection Program." The Ordinance requires an inspection of the tenant's dwelling to confirm compliance with the City's CHECKLISTS, data collection tools, housing surveys or City housing questionnaires.



Santa Cruzans for Housing Privacy
    The Court did not address the issue of the tenant's right to privacy because the court stated that a landlord cannot defend a tenant's right. We believe that this Ordinance invades the privacy of the tenants by allowing the City or landlords to enter occupied dwellings, for inspections, which is prohibited by state law (Civil Code # 1953 & 1954).     When the landlord does not live on the rental property, units are subject to an annual registration fee ($45.00) and either self-certification by the landlord or a City inspection. The fee for either self-certification or City inspection is $20 per year. The state Constitution prohibits regulatory programs that generate a "profit" for the general fund. We contend that the Rental Inspection program is simply a money grab to generate a profit for the City's general fund and a smoke screen so that the City appears to be "going after" converted garages and illegal units when in fact the Ordinance was designed to hassling tenants and landlords to increase the cost of off-campus housing.
    The Ordinance was challenged in court. The Court said the Ordinance was valid but that the two Resolutions implementing the Ordinance were not laws and that the CHECKLISTS were simply a "data collection tools." The court stated that the City did not change the state law housing standards (Health and Safety Code # 17920.3), but in fact, the City has adopted CHECKLISTS which identify conditions that are not included in the state law definition of sub-standard dwellings. In addition, the City is not using the required 1997 Uniform Housing Code as its enforcement tool for the local/state housing law as required by the State Housing Law - Health and Safety Code - 19722(a)(1).

Santa Cruzans for Housing Privacy

Santa Cruzans for Housing Privacy



Santa Cruzans for Housing Privacy

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Santa Cruzans for Housing Privacy
Santa Cruz - Residential Inspection Repeal
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