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Ordinance targets Riverside County slumlords

January 5, 2010 12:36:06 AM PST
A new ordinance is targeting slumlords in Riverside County, proposing they cover the expenses of tenants forced to relocate. Under the measure, renters who are forced to move out would receive payments equal to two months' rent, but only if their home is condemned for health or safety code violations.

Riverside County supervisors are expected to advance the proposed ordinance, which would only apply to unincorporated communities.

Under the ordinance, renters qualifying for assistance would be entitled to receive it at least 20 days prior to the date county officials have ordered the premises to be vacated.

If the situation is so bad that residents have 10 days or less to leave a property, the landlord would be required to make a displacement payment within a day of the county's order to vacate.

Property owners who fail to make timely payments would face penalties 1.5 times the amount they're obligated to disburse to displaced renters.

Similarly, a county agency that offers displacement assistance would be entitled to reimbursement by a landlord at an equal amount, with the same penalties assessed for lack of compliance.

The county could place a lien on the property until the balance is paid in full, according to the proposed ordinance.

Landlords would have an opportunity to challenge the county's actions, including the requirement that displacement assistance be made in the first place, through an appeals process that begins with an administrative hearing before the primary county agency involved.

City News Service contributed to this story.