Chesterfield property owners could pay for mandatory inspection

By Melissa Correa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - To date, there are more than 9,000 rental properties in Chesterfield. Not all are well groomed. So in an effort to take hold of the problem, the county is stepping in at the homeowner's expense.

"And if the property is a rental property, then they would be subject to an annual inspection," said Bill Dupler with Chesterfield County's Building Inspections Department.

Right now in Chesterfield complaints drive rental property inspections, but under the new proposal they'd be mandatory.

"We would name specific rental districts in the county by the ordinance."  Dupler said.

Then amendments would be made to include other areas.

"In a rental home, we'd be looking to see that the property is maintained in the condition that code required it be in when it was built. We'll be looking for safety items: smoke detectors, hand rails, guard rails, surface of the walls, plumbing leaks, (and) electrical system issues," said Dupler.

The exterior will be evaluated also for safety and zoning violations. By law, inspectors couldn't just barge in and charge the proposed $100 fee. Property owners would be notified to schedule an appointment.

According to Dupler, notifying the homeowners ahead of time reduces the chance of finding a violation by 50%. If a property is free of violations, they won't be checked for another four years. Otherwise, they have one year to meet requirements, then a second inspection will occur at no added cost.

"I've fallen in love with it because it makes the bad landlords take care of their properties," said property owner R.L. Dunn.

And he means it. R.L. Dunn is ready for inspectors to walk through all of his homes.

"I have over 100 pieces of property. They need to be inspected because then I can say, hey I'm in tip-top shape," Dunn said.

The Board of Supervisors will discuss the proposal September 23. It's expected a public hearing will take place October 14.

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