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barristerinky, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 37855
Experience:  Attorney over 16 years, landlord 26 years
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City stopped by today to tell tenant he needs a guardrail on

Customer Question

City stopped by today to tell tenant he needs a guardrail on the front porch and steps. the house has not ever had a railing or at least for the last 20+ years that I have owned the house. The city over the past few months has been all over this property almost harassing the tenant about issues such as the grass being cut, garbage and cars (not the tenants or anyone visiting tenant- overflow from a parking lot across the street) illegally parking on the shoulder of the road in the yard. On several occasions, I have had the tenant send me photos and the grass is not manicured but is definitely not out of control to warrant any letters from the city. Also, the time the city inspector complained about the garbage, the city's service failed to pick-up (there are only two houses on this particular block) the same goes with the recycling that the inspector issued a letter on. How should I handle the pissed inspector that has issues with my tenants that's bordering on harassment?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  barristerinky replied 2 years ago.
Hello and welcome! My name is Barrister and I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can..I am sorry to hear that this inspector has apparently chosen your tenant as a target for some reason. Having been a landlord for over 26 years and having to deal with Code on numerous occasions, I can tell you that your best approach is to "kill them with kindness" because the old saying that "you can't fight City Hall" is fairly true. If you object to the complaints and challenge the inspector, that may irritate them and for a little city employee, they have a lot of power to make a landlord's life miserable..So I would suggest contacting the inspector personally and introducing yourself and then telling them that the tenant let you know that there were some issues and you wanted to call and see what you could do to resolve them. If you act like you genuinely want to comply, that can satisfy the inspector's Napoleon complex and make him feel important while keeping him in a helpful mode rather than a critical one. I learned very early on that being aggressive with them is the worst possible method as they will have the city ordinances on their side and unlimited money and resources to fight you..So asking for the inspector's help is your absolute best recourse here and if you don't agree with something, try and explain it like you don't understand rather than challenging their authority. For example, about the cars... I would say something like "I completely understand your concerns and agree with you that it gets crowed down there, what would you suggest the tenant do if there are random cars parked on the street due to the parking lot being full? That puts the ball back in their court to suggest a solution about the cars...which really isn't your problem to begin with....thanksBarrister