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Dovetail Greene
Dovetail Greene, General Contractor
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 378
Experience:  Licensed Building Contractor & Certified Building Designer
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I need to compensate/tip someone to review a buiding inspection

Resolved Question:

I need to compensate/tip someone to review a buiding inspection I got. Can someone help me?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Home Improvement
Expert:  Dovetail Greene replied 4 years ago.

Good evening.

My name's Kel.


What sort of review would you like?

Would you ship me the inspection?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
sure id be happy to. what email/

this is a rental we spent 40k in rehab over last 2 yrs. city wants to shut it down for things like an access panel in kitchen ceiling is screwed on and not drywall, porch ceiling soffit is a little saggy, and they want the divider in the attic firewalled ...a storage, non habitable attic.

i feel they are angling to shut me down, and are to put it nicely...reaching.

trying to see if i have any defense or what is the logic in a rip in kitchen floor linoleum being a code violation.

these are 600/month 3 bedroom units. middle to lower mid class tenants and we do new furnaces, paint, laminate, roof, windows....etc.

the city manager has told them to 'hold landlords feet to the fire'. my busness partners are considering running.
Expert:  Dovetail Greene replied 4 years ago.

The items you've listed are maintenance, building and fire code issues.

Are all pertaining to the health, welfare and safety of the tenants.


The Code refers to the need for a hygienic surface in a kitchen. Meaning one that won't absorb spills and is easy to clean.


My experience with some inspections departments is

they'll work with you to find reasonable ways to fulfill the code.

If cash flow's an issue

if you propose a reasonable schedule to complete the work over a period of months they'll usually accept it.


Perhaps something along these lines --

fire code work in attic first month, maintenance code issue of flooring in kitchen the next month, the sagging ceiling the third month.


In my experience these issues would not be considered reaching to shut someone down.


If you make a good faith proposal and maintain the schedule I don't see the need for your partners to run.


Does my response make sense?


Customer: replied 4 years ago.
how are ceilings in kitchens a sanitation issue? If we have a complete ceiling, no holes, but have opted to screw a panel in under the bathroom (for access to pipes) why can they choose that it isn't acceptable?

If a builing has been operational for decades (built in 1920) without a firewall in attic, where do they get to change that?


Is there no limit to how far they can go? buildings built in 1890 are simply not up to 2013 code. Never will be.

I fear they will (since this is the 6th round of "new violations", we have done everything so far) keep doing it until we're bankrupt...take the property and sell it to the mayor's cousin, a landlord. Yes, this is Northeast PA. Home of "kids for Cash" (judges sending kids to a detention camp they are part owners of).
Expert:  Dovetail Greene replied 4 years ago.

Northeast PA!

My family used to have a vacation house in the Poconos.

Between White Haven and FE Walter Dam.


Are you in Wilkes Barre?


If the panel's for access to the tub drain then it needs to be removable.

There may be a Fire Code issue.

There may need to be a higher rated panel than what's there to reduce the chance of flames being pulled around the panel to the next floor.


As I say

most of my experience is with Inspections having a policy of slowly increasing the safety standards of the housing stock over a period of years. The local officials may have investigated a number of local fires where there was death, injury or excessive damage due to flame spread through unprotected attics.



your insurance rates will decrease at the safety level of your building increases.

If the inspector is being unreasonable

try the supervisor.

Have you spoken with your city council representative?

There's always the possibility of litigation.

Most jurisdictions enforce the Spirit of the Law not the Letter of the Law with older structures.


When you mention this is the 6th round of new violations --

over how long a period of time?


I don't know if this's any help --

if you and other landlords have a pattern of regulatory abuse

have you considered going to the media?


In short.

You can get legal relief if they're demands are excessive, but that takes time and your money.


If none of my answers are helpful

I'll opt-out and someone else can try and assist.

Let me know.



Customer: replied 4 years ago.
This is Pittston. Your answers are helpful, we know litigation and media...but that would leave the unit empty and costing us money.

Council is 100% (well 80%, 1 of 5 council members think the ordinance is too harsh) in favor

city manager "hold landlords feet to the fire"

code supervisor "this should be a city of homeowners, not landlords" (nice city planning theory, not quite reality in this former coal cracker rust belt)

I have no issue with (as Wilkes-Barre does) "do this before the next inspection in 2's a good upgrade". I have issue with "because of porch soffit, porch ceiling paint, grass height, hedge height, you have to lose 2 tenants, refund their rent, face a possible lawsuit, and walk away from your investment after just re-building a porch which a previous inspector approved a resurfacing of 1 year ago"

love the poconos. My area is a great rental cap-rate....but not so pretty.
Expert:  Dovetail Greene replied 4 years ago.

Hello again.


Have only been in the Pittston area once.

Sounds like the code supervisor should be replaced.


The issue is policy --

that is --

the way the Codes are enforced by the City.

I'd get as many of your fellow land lords together and get on the City Council agenda to discuss how the Codes are enforced for older buildings.

some thing's got to change.



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