In a Jan. 31, 2016 editorial, we raised concerns about lackluster code enforcement in Santa Rosa and in the county as a whole. The editorial followed a series of articles about the challenges many tenants faced in getting landlords and county inspectors to address problems from mold, rat infestations, sewage leaks, etc. The series pointed out that the time there were more than 250 cases of tenant complaints that had remained unresolved throughout the county. The majority — 170 cases — had been reported in the past 10 years. Roughly 25 percent were opened in the previous year. But the key issue was the lack resources available to address the growing problem.
As the editorial stated, “it’s clear that greater accountability will require an investment in resources — more code enforcement officers and other officials tracking these problems and making sure repairs get done.”
We’re pleased to say that last week, the county did just that. The Board of Supervisors approved a series of steps focused on reducing the backlog of roughly 1,000 code enforcement complaints received annually by the county. The steps included hiring a new enforcement manager, allocating more funds for prosecuting code violators and speeding up the process of prosecuting major offenders. It’s still not enough. But it’s a good start. Slumlords, take note.