Everett City Council puts brakes on rental-house inspections

EVERETT — The City Council on Wednesday night decided to postpone voting on a sweeping anti-slum program that would allow regular inspections of rental homes and apartments in the city.

The proposal was created to clean up the city’s small percentage of substandard rental homes. Landlord groups and some tenants fired back, saying proposed inspections are a violation of privacy and place a burden on responsible landlords and property managers.

City Councilman Drew Nielsen called for a delay of up to 90 days to give landlords and tenants time to review the proposal. The council was scheduled to vote on the item at Wednesday’s meeting.

“It’s a significant public policy change if we adopt it and it is something that we need to get a lot of public input on,” Nielsen said.

The council is expected to hold a public workshop on the issue in the coming weeks.

Diane Ferguson, vice president of the Snohomish County Apartment Operator’s Association, was among a handful of people who met with city staff members behind closed doors on June 3.

Ferguson said she hopes the city can create an alternative proposal that more narrowly focuses on problem landlords who rent unsafe homes to people.

“It will give us an opportunity to try to work something else out,” she said. “There are codes that are already out there, they just need to be able to locate substandard housing, which I suspect housing inspectors already know.”

David Chircop: 425-339-3429, dchircop@heraldnet.com.

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