Council Approves New Presale Self-Certification for City's Real Estate Occupancy Inspection Program

New ordinance simplifies home presale inspection process

Published : Wednesday, January 30, 2019 | 5:41 AM

Easing a long-time headache for local realtors, the Pasadena City Council Monday approved a staff recommendation to modify the City’s longtime Occupancy Inspection Program (OIP) by creating a new presale self-certification program and new fees.

The self-certification program will allow eligible property owners to acquire a Presale Certificate of Completion via submittal of a self-certification application. Applications for a Presale Certificate of Completion will be automatically reviewed for eligibility and completeness. A proposed fee of $26.97 has been established for the program.

Should a City inspection be required for a home sale, the fee would be $146.00.

The Inspection Ordinance was first adopted in 1973 and revised again in 1991. The new amended ordinance, which was approved in its first reading Monday, would take effect immediately, said Planning and Community Development Director David Reyes.

In May of 2018, the City Council considered four options for the Occupancy Inspection Program — streamlining it by reducing the scope of inspections and exempting condominiums/townhouses from inspections; discontinuing inspections and requiring a City-issued property records report; discontinuing the Program altogether; or keeping it the way it was at the time..

According to a staff presentation by

Daniel Del Toro, assistant code compliance manager, said the City Council first considered a new self-certification option in August 2018.

The new ordinance also took shape out of meetings with representatives of the Pasadena Foothill Association of Realtors (PFAR) in December 2018 and earlier this month.

Said Deasy Penner Podley Office Manager Adam Bray-Ali, “We are excited, as realtors who work with the public buying and selling homes in Pasadena, that the city processes are being improved. State audits and our own experience with the programs have shown that there are many important improvements that need to be made.”

“My own experience with the staff and city employees has been positive and efficient, but there are numerous subtle nuances to the program now that cause significant challenges for property owners in Pasadena that can and should be improved,” Bray-Ali said.

According to a City report, the new ordinance “is consistent with City Council’s direction and will address the most critical life and safety violations while minimizing adverse impacts to the real estate transaction.”

The new ordinance would limit the scope of the program to clearly defined life/safety issues only.

The new Presale Self-Certification Program establishes eligibility if there are no open code compliance cases on the property and none of the following conditions are present: unpermitted additions or conversions, unpermitted accessory structures over 120 square feet; non-compliance with fire safety requirements; and the actual square footage of the living area is not 10% or greater than the square footage recorded with the Los Angeles County Tax Assessor, according the City report.

A seller may still request an inspection by Code Compliance for the same life and safety items, if desired.

The new ordinance would also develop an online submittal and payment portal to facilitate its implementation, according to a City document.

Del Toro said Pasadena’s Planning and Community Development Department is also proposing a new application review fee for a Presale Certificate of Completion, required as part of the proposed Presale Self- Certification Program.

The proposed amendment to the General Fee Schedule will result in approximately $50,400 in annual revenue to the General Fund, according to the staff report.

The new ordinance would effectively take place in March 2019.

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