Code Section Group

Health and Safety Code - HSC

DIVISION 13. HOUSING [17000 - 19997]

  ( Division 13 enacted by Stats. 1939, Ch. 60. )

PART 1.5. REGULATION OF BUILDINGS USED FOR HUMAN HABITATION [17910 - 17998.3]

  ( Part 1.5 added by Stats. 1961, Ch. 1844. )

CHAPTER 8. Code Enforcement Incentive Program [17998 - 17998.3]
  ( Chapter 8 added by Stats. 2000, Ch. 664, Sec. 1. )

17998.
  

The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:

(a)  The Department of Housing and Community Development reports that one in every eight dwelling units in the state is substandard and that unless health and safety problems are corrected, habitability conditions generally deteriorate until the units become life threatening and uninhabitable and must be removed from the housing stock through closure or demolition.

(b)  California is experiencing a housing shortage of significant proportions, particularly in the affordable housing sector. The state and many local governments are funding affordable housing from a variety of sources at substantial costs. It is ill advised to neglect timely code enforcement responsibilities and, as a result, to lose housing that could have been retained.

(c)  The lack of code enforcement on a single dwelling unit can lead to the deterioration of an entire neighborhood as the substandard or abandoned unit becomes a magnet for crime, vandalism, fires, and other activities that rapidly infect the surrounding homes and neighborhood.

(d)  Many local governments endeavor to fulfill their statutory responsibility for code enforcement. However, local governments with a higher percentage of lower income households with families, living in older, overcrowded housing stock, exacerbated by the neglect of absentee slumlords, bear a disproportionate code enforcement cost and responsibility compared with more affluent communities.

(e)  Existing law provides building standards to assure decent, safe, and sanitary housing for all Californians.

(f)  Resources for code enforcement at the local level are frequently allocated to construction-related code enforcement activities, which generate fees to pay for regulatory services, including building and permit inspections, rather than housing maintenance activities that prevent or abate substandard conditions.

(g)  The enforcement of housing maintenance codes for existing housing is frequently performed only on a complaint-by-complaint basis and frequently there is insufficient funding for the abatement of existing violations through timely and effective administrative or judicial proceedings.

(Added by Stats. 2000, Ch. 664, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2001.)

17998.1.
  

The Department of Housing and Community Development, upon appropriation by the Legislature for this purpose, shall make funds available as matching grants to cities, counties, and cities and counties to increase staffing or capital expenditures dedicated to local building code enforcement efforts. The funds shall be subject to all of the following provisions:

(a)  Grants shall be made to grantees that operate local building code enforcement programs for more than three years.

(b)  The city, county, or city and county shall provide a cash or in-kind local match of at least 25 percent in the first year, at least 50 percent in the second year, and at least 75 percent in the third year.

(c)  The maximum grant to a single recipient shall not exceed one million dollars ($1,000,000). The department may establish minimum grant levels and lower maximum grant levels, depending on the amount and uses of funding sources.

(d)  Funds may be used to supplement, but shall not supplant, existing local funding for code enforcement related to housing code maintenance. The applicants shall demonstrate an intent to ensure cooperative and effective working relationships between code enforcement officials and local prosecutorial agencies, the local health department, and local government housing rehabilitation financing agencies.

(e)  Within six months after completion of each program cycle approved by the department and funded by the Legislature, grant recipients shall submit a report to their local legislative bodies and to the department regarding the results of the expanded housing maintenance code enforcement efforts and recommendations for changes in state or local laws and regulations related to code enforcement. The department shall summarize the results and transmit the reports to the Legislature within six months after the grant recipient’s submission date. The department may require submission of interim progress reports.

(f)  The department may use up to 5 percent of the funds appropriated by the Legislature for administering the programs authorized by this chapter.

(g)  The department shall award the grants on a competitive basis with criteria to be established and specified in a “Notice of Funding Availability.” The criteria shall be weighted for local government applicants with neighborhoods populated by high percentages of lower income households, with significant numbers of deteriorating housing stock containing reported or suspected housing code violations and often owned by absentee owners. The criteria shall also be weighted for applications that propose to identify and prosecute owners with habitual, repeated, multiple code violations that have remained unabated beyond the period required for abatement. In addition to those criteria, the department shall attempt to award grants to cities, counties, and cities and counties in order to obtain a wide range of population sizes and compositions and geographical distribution. Eligibility criteria, applications, awards, and other program requirements implementing this chapter shall not be subject to the requirements of Chapter 2.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Part 1 of Title 2 of the Government Code.

(Amended by Stats. 2002, Ch. 723, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2003.)

17998.2.
  

(a)  It is the intent of the Legislature in the enactment of this section to do all of the following:

(1)  Initiate a coordinated active community approach to code enforcement.

(2)  Create a pilot program in which the department awards grants to communities that develop a code enforcement program pursuant to the criteria established by this section.

(3)  Substantially reduce the incidence of substandard housing through the use of creative and coordinated techniques of code enforcement involving an interdepartmental approach at the local government level.

(b)  The grant program established pursuant to this section shall be known as the Community Code Enforcement Pilot Program. The Department of Housing and Community Development shall administer the Community Code Enforcement Pilot Program.

(1)  The department need not adopt regulations for the program. The department shall publish and distribute a Notice of Funding Availability that contains application forms and instructions, eligibility criteria, criteria for the rating and ranking of applications, outcome evaluation criteria, interim or final reporting requirements, and other information that the department considers necessary or useful for implementation of the program.

(2)  The department shall review, rate, and rank applications based on its evaluation of the information provided pursuant to subdivision (e), and their projected program performance as measured by all of the following criteria, considering the size of the applicant community:

(A)  The minimum number of housing units affordable to lower income households that will be rehabilitated or otherwise brought into compliance with applicable building and housing codes.

(B)  The estimated amount of grants and low interest rehabilitation loan funds, from sources other than this program, that will be made available to the owners of housing units affordable to lower income households that are determined to need rehabilitation or repair pursuant to the program.

(C)  The incidence of poverty and deteriorating housing or housing code violations in each target area.

(3)  In addition to the other criteria in this subdivision, the department shall attempt to award community code enforcement pilot program grants to cities, counties, and cities and counties with a wide range of population sizes and compositions and geographical distribution.

(c)  The department shall award community code enforcement pilot program grants for programs that shall operate for more than three years. The grants shall not exceed four hundred fifty thousand dollars ($450,000), which shall pay for costs incurred over the life of the program. The department may establish minimum grant levels and lower maximum grant levels, depending on the amount and uses of funding sources.

(d)  Each city, county, or city and county receiving a grant shall develop a code enforcement team consisting of a least one full-time code enforcement officer and a part-time city planner, health officer, or comparable specialist. Each grantee shall provide, and fund at its own expense, at least one city planner, health officer, or comparable specialist for the duration of the pilot program, for a minimum of 20 hours per week. The grant funds shall be used for the code enforcement officer and related program costs, which may include full-time or part-time personnel, in addition to the grantee’s contributions, or for capital expenditures.

(e)  Grant proposals shall include all of the following:

(1)  Demonstration of serious, current housing code enforcement deficiencies within each target area, whether those code deficiencies are in violation of locally enacted ordinances or state codes.

(2)  A plan to have high visibility of code enforcement staff and to create close and frequent communication and interaction with residents and property owners of the target area, including in the evenings and on weekends.

(3)  A plan to convene community meetings to inform residents of the pilot program.

(4)  A plan to conduct ongoing frequent informal and formal community meetings with the code enforcement team and residents of the community involved in the pilot program.

(5)  A plan demonstrating an intent to ensure cooperative and effective working relationships between code enforcement officials, local health department officials, local prosecutorial agencies, and officials operating local programs providing public funds to finance affordable rental housing rehabilitation and repairs.

(6)  A plan for timely and effective administrative and judicial enforcement of code violations.

(f)  The administrator of each grantee’s pilot program shall evaluate the pilot program and report the findings and other criteria requested by the department indicating the effectiveness of the pilot program to the department within six months after completion of each program cycle approved by the department and funded by the Legislature. The department may require submission of interim progress reports. The administrator shall evaluate the pilot program based on criteria including, but not limited to, the following:

(1)  Results of a participant survey, including owners, residents, and active community leaders.

(2)  Comparison of each targeted area with similar neighborhoods with respect to repeat calls for service and other criteria testing the effectiveness of the pilot program.

(3)  The extent of any perceived or actual property value change between the commencement and the completion of the pilot program.

(4)  The number of cases opened and the number of cases closed, identifying the nature of code violations, the necessity of formal proceedings, the cost and nature of abatement violations, or other factors influencing the effectiveness of the pilot program.

(g)  The department shall review and report to the Legislature within six months after the grant recipient’s submission date on the findings of the pilot program administrators.

(Amended by Stats. 2002, Ch. 723, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 2003.)

17998.3.
  

In implementing the programs governed by this chapter, the department has all the general powers granted to it by Division 31 (commencing with Section 50000).

(Added by Stats. 2000, Ch. 664, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2001.)

HSCHealth and Safety Code - HSC