LCI’S RESIDENTIAL LICENSING PROGRAM SAVES FAMILY FROM CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING
(4/21/2008) HAVEN- At a news conference today, Andrew Rizzo, Executive Director of the City’s Livable City Initiative (LCI) joined Nicole Wesley in front of her Foster Street home to talk about how the findings of a recent inspection conducted by LCI officers helped to save the lives of Wesley and her family. On March 12, Wesley and her son were in their home when their carbon monoxide detector went off. This detector was only installed after an LCI officer suggested she do so during a standard LCI residential rental licensing inspection. Wesley and her son had begun to experience carbon monoxide exposure at potentially hazardous levels but thanks to the warning given off by the detector, they were able to evacuate the home and seek treatment in time.
“After issuing 1,500 licenses and inspecting nearly 1,800 buildings and 15,000 units, knowing that we’ve saved at least two lives makes every inspection, every man hour and every dollar invested into this program truly worth it,” said Rizzo. “We don’t carry this program out to make money. We do this to achieve a safer city, to save lives and to eliminate hazards in people’s homes. It’s rewarding to know that we’re making our difference and that our work touches peoples’ lives.”
Rizzo honored his staff for their success with the Program and for the efforts they’ve made to guide property owners in making safety improvements in the City’s rental units. In May of 2006, this program was launched in an effort to identify housing code violations in the City’s rental properties and ensure that landlords make the necessary repairs to make units safe for occupancy.
In order for landlords to obtain the mandatory licenses, allowing them to rent their property for occupancy, they must agree to these inspections and make any repairs cited by inspectors within 30 days. For violations that present immediate hazards, less time is given for repairs to be completed. After the allotted time for repairs has expired, inspectors return to homes to ensure that all work has been done. When a unit fails a second inspection, a new timeline is given to the landlord at which time the inspector will return to re-evaluate the unit. Property owners are required to purchase these licenses ranging in cost from $75 for 2-3 unit multi-family homes to $350 for buildings with 20 or more units.
Since the program’s launch, 1,787 buildings and 15,000 units have been inspected. Inspectors find that the most common violation involved smoke detectors with missing batteries and faulty or malfunctioning smoke detectors. Inspectors carry batteries to every evaluation and replace those in smoke detectors whenever necessary. Common problems found in buildings and units that fail the inspection include:
1. Smoke detectors missing batteries
2. Smoke detectors missing or not working
3. Electrical Hazards
4. Obstruction of egresses
5. Trash and debris on yards
6. Water heater discharge pipes missing
7. Exposed electrical wiring
8. Exit signs not working or emergency lights not working or missing (multi family)
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