Candidate Forum
Question 5: Most of the homes in the L Street - Pole Line corridor are close to 50 years old and have many built in problems. Two of the big ones are that they grow mold and they waste energy. Improvements in roof and wall insulation, double pane windows, heating, and other investments can solve both these problems and improve the health of residents and reduce energy consumption. Unfortunately, many of the homes are owned by absentee landlords, too many of whom do not invest in these improvements. The tenants suffer. What would you do as a city council member to help with these problems?

Charlesworth / Forbes / Saylor  / Greenwald

JJ Charlesworth:
As a house painter, I've worked and painted in many of these homes, and have been apalled at conditions that are allowed (or that sneak by). I've also seen some of these landlords do much to improve their tenants homes as well. The biggest problem was the horribly cheap ways the original developers built the homes in. Because of Davis expensive home building price these developers who built on the vast tracks of orchards cut on costs to maintain a high profit margin. And don't kid yourself if you think it's changed. Many of the 70's and 80's homes are built even worse and are showing the cracks and signs of wear that in another ten years will involve more serious and noticable repairs. The many homes between L st. and Pole Line have termite problems. This is caused by the building over of the orchards, without proper removal of the tree trunks. The termites have now developed colonies on whole blocks and are spreading down Drexel. I will not tolerate bad developing, or bad landlords. Many of these property managers (which will remain nameless, for I've worked for them {there aren't many here}) don't tell their owners all of the problems of their homes, and charge the poor tenants for the home repairs that are not normal wear and tear, just a decay of poorly designed buildings. This cannot go on, I will hold landlords and Rental-mangenment property companies to a higher standard. And their costs will be on them not at the price of the poor students who rent, who are more affected by these sometimes tyrants than any of the middle class families of Davis. (This'll have to be done by setting a rental rate for Davis.)

Stan Forbes:
I would have an inspection program funded by fees levied on the landlords to insure that Davis rental housing meets appropriate standards.

Don Saylor:
Again, I love the Dr. House web resources. DMNA has done a great job of focusing the issues for you all and providing resources for you.

This same theme exists in my neighborhood. The houses were built within a year or two of each other and the same problems occur in all the houses at about the same age. One neighbor lets us all know what to expect and gives us tips on how to address the problems.

So, I think for homeowners and others with a commitment to the homes in the neighborhood we should support your efforts to share information on repairs and tips, work with Davis Energy project on approaches to conservation and insulation. And explore a grant or loan program for homeowners based on reduced energy costs from insulation and improved conservation.

We should explore an increased role for the city in inspections at time of resale and requirements for repairs -- turnover averages every 7 years.

There is ongoing discussion at the City/UCD Student Liaison Commission about a rental inspection program. While we may be limited in what we can require - we can definitely require full disclosure so that renters are aware of any problems identified in inspections and we can certainly shine a light on health and safety issues caused by inattention to maintenance.

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Sue Greenwald:
I am in favor of rental inspection programs and concomitant reasonable upgrade requirements.

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