Housing problems being addressed | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Housing problems being addressed

If a system can be run more efficiently, then why not make the change?

That is exactly what the Housing and Urban Development Division and the Building and Safety Division for the city of South Lake Tahoe are planning on doing by consolidating paperwork efforts – previously shared by both divisions.

City Council will decide today on a change in the city housing code that will allow the Building Division to take responsibility for sending notices to landlords who are suspected of failing to comply with city building codes.

Most cases are looked into on a complaint basis, said Lars Sterner, South Lake Tahoe building officer.

“It’s more convenient for the Building Division because all of the records are already there, and it will make the process less time consuming,” said Cathy Kope, Housing and Urban Development Division assistant.

The convenience is in legalizing illegal housing units by bringing them up to code, a process that is carried out through the Building Division.

There are currently more than 100 illegal units, according to Sterner.

Units can be considered illegal for various reasons such as an insufficient number of parking spaces, problems with electrical systems or heat, lack of smoke detectors and violations of land-use regulations.

While the Department of Housing and Urban Development will be relieved of its duties of sending notices – if council approves the change – it would continue to send an annual survey to 10 percent of the landlords who own legalized units.

Once a property is legalized, landlords must comply with affordable housing regulations.

“It ensures that we will have affordable housing for people that have a low income,” Kope said.

This means that landlords must comply with rent limits and income limits set annually by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The rental limits are based on 60 percent of the median income and incomes of renters cannot exceed 80 percent of that income.

If City Council approves the change, Housing and Urban Development would continue to keep a record of deed restrictions set forth as a part of legalization, and inform entities such as the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, South Tahoe Public Utility District and South Tahoe Refuse when a unit is legalized.

Since 1993, 20 housing units have been legalized, according to Kope.

Current maximum income to rent legalized affordable housing as directed by the U.S. Department of Housing

one person: $29,600

two people: $33,850

three people : $38,100

four people: $42,300

Maximum rent including utilities:

Studio: $550 – maximum of 1 person

1 Bed: $650 – maximum of 2 people

2 Bed: $700 – maximum of 3 people

3 Bed: $800 – maximum of 4 people

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