Local jurisdictions across the nation have adopted ordinances requiring inspections of rental properties by government officials with high fees to cover the costs of the program. These programs are designed to address health and safety issues, although properties that operate in a professional manner subsidize the overall program. Local governments generate millions of dollars each year by assessing a per unit annual fee, usually $30-$50 per unit, on rental owners to hire new employees.
Rental owners with properties in the unincorporated areas of Sacramento County are not subjected to a mandatory rental inspection program run by local government. Instead, rental owners have the option to conduct self-inspections, designate another individual or have a county official conduct these inspections. As a result, beginning January 2010 rental owners have saved millions of dollars in fees that could have been paid to local government.
With the exception of the property owner, whoever conducts the inspection must 1) attend a two-hour course that explains how to comply with the ordinance and 2) obtain an official certificate of completion of the training. Only the actual property owner may conduct an inspection without attending the certification course. RHA is the only organization approved by the County of Sacramento to provide this training.
To register for the certification training
As a public service, RHA is offering a certification course approved by the County. Click here to check the RHA education calendar for the date of the next course or call the RHA office at (916) 920-1120. To enroll in the online certification course, visit the RHA online learning center at www.RHACampus.com.
Forms to help owners comply with the ordinance
RHA has available several forms to help rental owners and property managers comply with the new rental inspection ordinance.
Resident’s Rights Form:
This form fulfills the requirement that residents receive general information about their rights and responsibilities. The form is approved by the County of Sacramento.
Property Maintenance Service Consent Form:
This form allows the owner or his/her agent or other authorized representative to obtain consent from a resident to conduct an annual inspection for maintenance issues during the tenancy.
Property Maintenance Service Consent Form Instruction Sheet:
This instruction sheet provides details on how to use the property maintenance service consent form.
RHA property inspection booklet:
Although not required by the County ordinance, this handy 28-page booklet was created by RHA to help members conduct efficient and thorough property inspections. This booklet will likely be updated shortly. Check this website to download the most recent version.
Inspection checklist from the County of Sacramento:
A copy of the inspection checklists must be provided to residents of the property within 10 calendar days from the completion of the inspection. The County of Sacramento has completed its official checklist of the items that must be inspected on the interior and exterior of the rental property.
Click here for the Exterior Inspection Form.
Click here for the Interior Inspection Form.
Registration form from the County of Sacramento:
The County of Sacramento requires rental owners to register each of their properties using this form.
The County of Sacramento Board of Supervisors adopted the rental inspection ordinance on December 18, 2008. RHA continues to work with county staff on implementing the new law, including the mandatory certification training.
Every rental property owner must pay an annual Rental Housing Code Compliance Fee on each residential rental unit. The existing fee is $15 per unit annually. The county mails all rental property owners a bill beginning in January of each year.
Every rental housing property must be registered with county, including owner and emergency contact information. Any change of information must be reported to the county within 60 days. Registration information is not available to the general public.
All residential rental units in the unincorporated areas of the County of Sacramento must undergo an inspection. In inspection must be performed by the rental owner, property manager, county inspector or another qualified individual. To exercise the right of self-certification, the owner or manager must select the self-certification option on the registration form. An inspection must be performed by the rental owner, property manager, another qualified individual or by a county inspector. A rental owner who is entitled to self-certification can choose who will conduct the inspection. Inspections must be done at the inception of every tenancy and at least once annually using a county approved checklist. Prior to performing an inspection, the individual, other than the owner of record or county inspector, must be certified to conduct the inspection by taking a county-approved training course on how to perform inspections.
Newly constructed properties of five years or newer and rental units subject to periodic government inspections are exempt from the inspection requirements but must continue to register and pay the fee.
Resident Rights Information
Prior to the commencement of a tenancy, an owner, manager or agent of the owner must provide each resident with information concerning their rights and responsibilities. The form must be approved by the county.
County officials may conduct compliance audits of rental properties including a review of the inspection checklists and an exterior inspection from the public right-of-way. County officials may conduct a physical inspection of the property if there are problems with the documentation or visible code violations on the property exterior.
Mandatory County Inspections and Education for Problem Properties
Any rental property subject to a Notice and Order more than once in any calendar year and where corrections are not made within the time permitted is deemed a problem property. The owner of a problem property may not opt for self-certification when the property is registered. Only county inspectors are authorized to perform inspections of problem properties. The county may require an owner of a problem property to attend mandatory landlord education classes. A property is no longer considered a problem property once it consecutively passes two County inspections.
Changes to Policies and Procedures by the County of Sacramento
The policies and procedures for the Rental Housing Inspection Program are subject to change and interpretation by the County of Sacramento. As a result, information provided by RHA may not reflect recent changes. When advised of any changes by the County of Sacramento, RHA will post such information below:
1) RHA is not aware of any changes to the policies and procedures at this time
Contact Information for County of Sacramento
The Rental Inspection Program is administered by the County of Sacramento. Use the following information if you need assistance from the County of Sacramento staff.
Phone: (916) 876-9020
Fax: (916) 874-8409
County of Sacramento Rental Inspection Ordinance
County of Sacramento Residential Permit Requirements
RHA Key Elements of the County of Sacramento Rental Inspection Program
RHA Special Alert - County of Sacramento Rental Inspection Ordinance
Recommended Action by RHA Members
With the exception of the property owner, whoever conducts the inspection must
attend a County-approved course that explains how to conduct a rental inspection. RHA offers two courses: one for single-family properties (1 to 3 units) and one for multifamily properties (4 or more units). Enroll in the appropriate course. If you inspect both single-family and multifamily, enroll in the multifamily course. Only the property owner may conduct an inspection without attending the certification course. RHA is the only organization approved by the County of Sacramento to provide this training.
For questions regarding government affairs issues, contact: Cory Koehler, RHA Senior Deputy Director -Government Affairs at (916) 920-1120 ext. 206 or Cory@RHA.org