Austin code enforcement officials are trying to crack down on unsafe rental properties by adding more properties to its repeat offender list.
The Austin American-Statesman reports that city officials have more than doubled the number of properties designated as repeat offenders in an effort to force property owners into making needed repairs.
There are currently 38 properties listed on the Repeat Offender Program registry. The city recently sent notices to 46 properties that meet the list’s criteria.
In order to qualify, rental properties must have received multiple code violations that pose a danger to residents within a two-year period.
After enrollment, the properties are listed on a public database and must submit to follow-up inspections. They must also post signs alerting residents to their status on the registry. Properties that don’t fix violations can face additional fines.
The program was created in 2013 to encourage delinquent landlords to fix code violations in the wake of a walkway collapse at an apartment complex in Southeast Austin in 2012, which prompted a study by a University of Texas law clinic on how the city could be more aggressive about dealing with rundown rental properties.
A follow-up study by the clinic earlier this year, said the program had largely failed to protect tenants because of lax enforcement, and that some properties that should be on the registry were not listed.
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