RUCO – Rental Unit Certificate of Occupancy – Since January 1, 2009, a certificate of inspection that is required on all rental properties here in Greensboro, North Carolina. Housing features covered by RUCO include:
- Premises – The housing premises must be structurally sound and must be waterproof and weatherproof.
- Equipment and furnishings – Occupants must have adequate heating facilities, potable water, sanitary facilities, and adequate space for sleeping.
- Sanitation – All rooms used by the occupants must be maintained in a clean and sanitary condition.
New legislation and budget challenges may eliminate mandatory certification this year.
Does every rental property need to be RUCO inspected and certified?
A report in the Sunday, May 8, 2011, Greensboro News and Record sums up a major concern about sub-standard housing this way: “Health care for NC children hurt by living in substandard housing costs well over $100 million per year.”
Dr. David Chenoweth sites asthma attacks triggered by pests and moldy conditions, falls that result from broken steps or unsafe conditions, burns from electrical and combustion hazard, leanrning disorders from lead poisoning, cancers and neuro-behavioral disorders from toxins in homes. All of these, it is believed, can be controlled or eliminated by routine housing inspections. The goal is to prevent problems before they are visibly noticeable or lead to complaints.
At this time, RUCO inspections are required on all Greensboro rental units before they can be rented. Not getting an inspection carries a fine of $250 and an order to repair any violations within 45 days. Once certified, re-inspections occur only if there is a complaint or by random sample selection.
House Bill 554 changes the law to requiring inspections by the city only if there is “reasonable cause to believe that unsafe, unsanitary, or otherwise hazardous or unlawful conditions may exist”. Most inspections would then be done because of complaints, history of non-compliance or location in an officially designated “blighted” area.
The government will take the RUCO requirements that now exist and change them from being mandatory for all rentals to required only on problem properties.
Brilliant, I say. From the beginning, RUCO seemed another example of over-regulation. The city has never had enough inspectors and implementing inspections of all rental properties is very costly to our local government. All of this is done with tax dollars that could well be spent elsewhere.
We have a lot of rentals in Greensboro. After several inspections, one of the RUCO inspectors said to us basically, “I see what you have, I see how you keep your properties, we really shouldn’t need to inspect any more of yours.” We agree! All of our properties are very good homes in very good neighborhoods and we keep them in excellent shape.
I am greatly in favor or House Bill 554. Legislate inspection standards for problem properties or landlords. Every landlord and every rental property does not need to be individually managed.
What do you think? There is great interest in defeating House Bill 554. Let your legislators know how you feel. Click on: North Carolina General Assembly website to tell your legislators to vote for House Bill 554! Save tax dollars!