In previous article titled, “L.A. Landlords Win A Major Battle With The City of Los Angeles”, I highlighted how two landlords and one tenant filed a class action lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles housing department. Because of that, the city ended up changing the municipal code to allow L.A. apartment owners to legally refuse unconstitutional inspections.
My blog post got picked up by the search engines and I had a ton of Landlords contact me to ask more about this and how to go about refusing these inspections. I also emailed the article out to my many landlord clients to let them know about these changes. In total I probably spoke to about 60 landlords all wanting to know how to go about refusing inspections.
Well based on the feedback I got from landlords that had started refusing inspections, it seems like the best solution is to send the city a letter refusing to permit entry to your property. In addition to that, there was also some feedback from some of the landlords that said you should also post the letter on the property somewhere on the date of the inspection.
Here is some suggested language that you might wish to incorporate in your refusal letter to the city.
Dear Inspector (name):
I have received your letter requesting entry in to my property at 123 xxxxx Ave for a systematic code enforcement program inspection. However, due to Ordinance 185644, which amended the existing code, I am asserting my right to refuse entry to the property. Thank you very much.
I would also send letters from the tenants as well with the same wording if you have a good relationship with them. I have found that tenants also resent having to open up their units. However, some tenants may not want to do this to help the landlord if an adversarial relationship exists.
Now keep in mind that the city can go to an administrative judge and obtain a warrant to search your property. However, the ten or fifteen landlords I spoke to who refused inspections all said that the city did not get a warrant and come back to do their inspection. However, some landlords reported to me that the city did try to reschedule an inspection for another date and sent another notice to inspect. Some of the inspectors walked around the property and simply did an exterior inspection. Most of the inspectors were pretty nice. Some were a bit belligerent. Some were clueless of the changes in the muni code and had no idea about it.
I am staying in touch with all of the landlords that I spoke with. I am continually getting updates from the ones that are going through the refusal process. If you are a landlord and you have some good intel for me that others might think is important please email or call me. I want to share the info with other landlords and if we band together (I’m am also an L.A landlord) we can help educate other landlords that we know that we can legally refuse these unconstitutional intrusive Systematic Code Enforcement inspections.
The city is on a rampage and is getting very nasty with a lot of landlords, especially about unpermitted issues that were previously overlooked for years by the city. It’s time to put an end to these unconstitutional inspections. And the best way to do that is to refuse entry to your buildings.
Please contact me at 310-308-3174 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.