Red-tagged | Urban Living

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Red-tagged

Posted By on February 20, 2019, 4:00 AM

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Imagine living in an apartment building in such bad condition that the city "red tags" it and you have to move out within 72 hours for your own safety. It just happened to the tenants who lived at the Georgia Apartments on 2100 South. The landlord received multiple enforcement citations for noncompliance of housing and zoning codes. Just this past December, one inspector found that the fire escapes were not up to code and some doorways were blocked because of couches, tires, mattresses and various debris. Missing windows and doors, non-functioning heat systems, missing fire extinguishers and smoke detectors and exposed electrical wiring were among other deficiencies.

The mayor's office, SLC's Division of Housing and Neighborhood Development, SLCPD, the city attorney's office and other nonprofit and government organizations joined to assist residents with interim housing needs. The low-income tenants' lives have been uprooted in a time of very cold and wet weather. Meanwhile, the landlord, Carol Lunt, faces massive fines and now, criminal charges. Ironically, the owner of these approximately 42 apartments had been a member of the city's Good Landlord Program up until September of last year, when the city suspended her status and fined her more than $20,000 in delinquency fees.

The Good Landlord Program was established in 2009 to help landlords save money on apartment-unit licensing fees after many other cities found similar programs helped reduce crime at apartment buildings. City officials created a database of landlords, where they track whether they are following city ordinances. In return, code-compliant owners and landlords who typically have to pay licensing fees of $342 per unit to SLC can reduce the amount to $20 per unit by taking landlord-training classes. The fees (which vary from city to city) are intended to recoup costs associated with extra police, fire and code-enforcement services most freqently used at slumlord properties. They also pay for the four-hour training about current housing codes and other issues that affect rental properties. Landlords in the program must take the course every three years.

It's rare that a large apartment building is red-tagged in SLC, so you know this property had to be in pretty crappy condition. The landlord's lack of response to the city officials hasn't helped her case, and the fines just keep growing.

As a tenant or prospective renter, you can call the city's Business Licensing Department at 801-535-6644 and see whether a building is licensed as a rental and up to code. Sadly, with so few rentals available, many tenants are forced to take what they can get—especially low-wage earners. 

About The Author

Babs Delay

Babs Delay

Bio:
De Lay is realtor/broker/owner of Urban Utah Homes and Estates. She is a former member of the Utah Transit Authority's Board of Trustees.

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