Once again, Trenton Admin. Takes the Lead

The Douglas H. Palmer administration unveiled a new approach to the city’s housing inspections programs this past week, in a plan that the administration says will improve the capital city’s housing woes.

The plan will realign how the city is divided into geographic inspections areas and allow the city to get more inspectors into so-called “hotspots” of infractions and code violations.

While the overhaul may be a step in the right direction, it still leaves the most serious chink in the city’s housing code armor exposed: frequency of inspections.

City code as it is currently written only provides for inspections every five years in a system that allows absentee landlords to juice money out of a property without reinvesting profit into the upkeep of the housing, creating slums and diving property values.

The City Council needs to use its so-called great working relationship with the administration to develop a plan to increase the numbers of inspections.

At the last meeting Mayor Palmer said the city couldn’t afford to hire any more inspectors, faced with an $8 million shortfall in state funds provided for the programs.

Perhaps the city could cut ties with a redundant legal position frequently seen in City Council chambers, since the man doesn’t yield very many legal opinions to the City Council anyway.

The city could then hire two full-time inspections positions, or several part-time staffers with this attorney’s $95,000 salary.

If City Council did its job and passed legislation instead of simply paying bills and paying the administration lip service, perhaps more of the city’s great housing stock would be saved from the reach of the urban blight creeping around the city.

Malfunctioning governing bodies, they’ll get you every time.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Once again, Trenton Admin. Takes the Lead

  1. investintrenton

    Greg,
    I am a landlord in Trenton and I know I am entering into the lions den, however the truth must be told. For many years I have not taken a profit from the rental properties that I own in the city, all of the profit is reinvested to maintain and improve the properties that I own however it is very difficult to keep redoing properties every year only to have them neglected by unscrupulos tenants. If my property was inspected when a tenant moves in and everything is in order then a year later the place is reinspected and all the smoke detectors are missing and the screens are torn and the stove is dirty and there are roaches and bed bugs donr you think that maybe the tenant is at fault and should be held responsible. The reason the city has so many absentee landlords is not because the landlords are squeezing the juice out of the properties rather its because they cant afford to keep fixing the same problems for tenants who in general do not pay rent.Most investors that bought rental property in the past couple of years have invested alot of time and money have helped many bussiness only to have lost their pants. Today nobody is interested in Trenton try selling a house today, every investor is trying to get out of the city this will only have a negative effect on the future of the city, more and more homes are going into forclosure and the amount of abandaned homes is back on the rise. In general landlords are not littering the streets its the residents landlords are not in gangs and landlords are not shooting people.Lets try and stop deflecting the problems of the city on hard working people that have invested much into the city.

  2. Greg Forester

    You make some very valid points. I think the situation is a very complicated one, and I understand some landlords are not slumlords…but Trenton still has many slumlords, and the best way to deal with them is end the perception that they can come into the city, buy cheap housing and rent it to undesirables who run the property into the ground….all the while the landlord neglects to reinvest into the property.

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