Meetup in AA County: New Baltimore City Rental Inspection Regime

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This event is brought to you by:
  • 08/22/18 07:30PM - 09:00PM America/New_York
  • Keller Williams Office, 231 Najoles Rd Millersville, Maryland 21108
  • Free

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Join us on Wednesday night (Aug 22nd) for a free meetup attended by many local BPers. We'll be discussing the new Baltimore City rental inspection requirement.  We'll also present a local market update.  As always, the event is pitch-free with no selling or guru courses offered. Just good discussion and opportunities to learn and meet local investors.

The meetup begins at 7:30pm. Location details are on our meetup.com page here. Bring your notepad and questions! Hope to see you there.

P.S. There is free beer.

Anyone in the area ought to be there. This is a greate group and an important topic for all landlords in Baltimore city.

@Matt Schelberg I would love to come but I have work till 9pm. Will you have a recording of the meeting on Google drive or YouTube perhaps? I know this is a very important topic that involves Baltimore City landlords. Thanks! Vina

Wasn't able to attend, what were the top 2-3 takeaways? I've had one rental license inspection done, last Friday 8/24. Passed but had to make a quick update to switch out 3 hard wired smoke alarms that were dated 2007, and thus >10 years old. Was able to do it same day so I passed. $160 for the inspection. Took about 40 minutes for a 2BR, 1BA rowhome in Patterson Place (1 block north of Patterson Park).

@Mike Williams and @Vina Real the top takeaways were:

  • Some items on the inspection checklist that are beyond the landlord's control may result in a fail. Pest infestation and rat burrows are the big ones. When I inspect rentals in Baltimore City I talk with landlords upfront about possible issues to navigate those trickier items. So talk with your inspector about that beforehand if it applies to you.
  • Several items on the inspection checklist are being reconsidered/refined by the City because they are overly broad and have unintended consequences.  (e.g. All outlets are required to be properly grounded...this basically mandates that all 2-prong outlets be upgraded to 3-prong.  And technically, that means a new circuit should be run because grounding to the box is not a proper ground.)  City is reconsidering items like that so stay tuned for updates.
  • Peeling, flaking, chipping paint will result in a fail...even if the property is lead free.  Baltimore City is reconsidering that item so stay tuned.  Hopefully they will waive properties certified lead free.
  • Red tape creates winners and losers.  This new requirement stinks but it will provide opportunities to the enterprising buyer.  The new law will create sellers. Be ready to capitalize on that.
  • Inspections are required for registration.  And registration is required for evictions.  You can bet your last dollar that smart tenants will learn the new inspection rules and use it as a way to delay/prevent eviction.  

And finally, Baltimore City has some helpful FAQs and brochures at their website to answer other questions.

My tenant went ahead and called the city for an inspection of the property.  Some where legitimate such as medicine cabinet loose and roof deck rail loose.  However It was mostly a long list of cosmetic violations.  

  • Bathroom tub needs grout repair
  • Baseboard has gaps around it
  • Brick wall needs point up
  • Roof deck planks are split 

As some of these are opinion was any of this discussed?  Looking for help.

@David Norfolk None of the items you mentioned would cause a fail ***unless the brick wall is structurally unsound or if the rooftop deck planks are unsafe.

What do you mean that your tenant called the city for an inspection?  Who did they call? What type of inspection did they request?  The rental inspections are conducted by private home inspectors registered with the City...not by city inspectors.

I received a Code Violation Notice and Order from a Housing Code Enforcement Official.

I have tried calling the office of housing and community development but the inspector is on vacation and the supervisory is too busy.  

@David Norfolk If you received a violation notice you should go ahead and fix all items identified by the City housing inspector and then contact them for re-inspection.  If Housing is unresponsive, send written request for re-inspection to document your efforts.  Your liability for things like the deck railing are higher since they have been identified by a third-party and you've been notified that they exist.

But your question brings up a great point about the City rental inspections:

As a rental inspector my interpretation of the rules would be that this house should only pass the rental inspection after the violation notice has been lifted.