Supes Approve DBI Fee to Save Housing Inspectors

by Paul Hogarth on June 10, 2009

By an 8-3 majority, the Board of Supervisors voted yesterday to extend a $52-a-year fee to rental property owners of one and two-unit buildings – to maintain current funding of City Housing Inspectors. Landlords of other properties have been paying such a fee for years, but the Mayor’s budget now cuts the Department of Building Inspection by 20% – which means five Housing Inspectors stood to lose their jobs. At last week’s Budget & Finance Committee, tenants from the Mission and Tenderloin (whose field inspectors are both facing layoffs) offered compelling testimony about the need to ensure adequate staffing, and the real consequences of lay-offs on their homes. In these tough times, everyone has to pitch in – and this fee requires small landlords to pay less than $5 a month, or half of what Muni has proposed in fare hikes. Even if Mayor Gavin Newsom does not support the proposal, Supervisor Bevan Dufty cast the eighth vote along with the measure’s seven co-sponsors – making the legislation veto-proof.

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