Improving the health of residents and the safety of rental housing in San Mateo County
Since January 2016, the San Mateo County Augmented Housing Inspection Pilot Program, approved by the County Board of Supervisors in 2015, has hit the ground running and is showing positive results. In just six months 76% of the health and safety violations reported at 348 apartment complexes targeted by the pilot have been resolved.
The pilot program funding of $450,000 enabled these successes by allowing Environmental Health staff to conduct more frequent inspections at targeted apartment complexes where frequent violations have occurred due to pests, maintenance, weather protection, and fire safety.
The pilot program also includes an outreach component. Tenants and landlords received technical assistance to address and correct violations in a timely manner. Outreach to address pests, one of the top violations, includes a bilingual outreach coordinator who works directly with tenants to eradicate pests using a sustainable strategy called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). This approach utilizes less toxic and preventative methods to deter pests, keep families safe, while helping tenants stay in compliance.
Over the course of the 18 month pilot program inspection staff will continue the enhanced frequency of inspections and the outreach coordinator will continue providing technical assistance directly to tenants along with conducting outreach events.
Environmental Health Services’ Housing Inspection Program is responsible for enforcing the State’s health laws at all multi-unit rental properties with four units or more. For more information about the housing program, visit www.smchealth.org/housing
The pilot program is funded through Measure A, a countywide half-cent general sales tax passed by voters on November 6, 2012, to support essential County services and to maintain or replace critical facilities. (Editor's note: Voters extended the sales tax for an additional 20 years in a proposition listed as Measure K on the November 2016 ballot.)
This article first appeared on July 27, 2016, in the San Mateo County Environmental Health Services Blog.