A Primer on Community Preservation (aka Code Enforcement)

Residents who rent in Beverly Hills and had a housing problem likely came into contact with a code enforcement officer. The rent increase seemed too high; or property maintenance was lagging; or perhaps an eviction notice was posted. For decades those inquiries went to code enforcement. But today we have a Rent Stabilization Program to handle most calls. So where does code enforcement come into the picture now?

Code enforcement officers are part of a Community Development department program called ‘Community Preservation.’ It has a broad remit: “Community Preservation is responsible for providing code compliance guidance and enforcement of the Beverly Hills Municipal Code, local and State laws,” the program website says.

Community Preservation long fielded tenant inquires about rent increases and eviction notices, lease questions and aged furnishings because there was no alternative: it was the agency tasked with inspections and enforcement relative to Chapter 5 and Chapter 6 sections of the Municipal Code related to rent stabilization.

But Community Development also had a wider purview than rental housing. It enforces city laws regarding tobacco regulation and smoking, animal keeping, and violations of any building code or standard. While building codes, exterior maintenance, and issues related to the safety of rental housing was squarely within the responsibilities of code enforcement; issues concerning the administration of rent stabilization arguably should always have been handled by a housing division within Community Development.

In fact, most tenant inquires did not concern the traditional responsibilities of code enforcement. The city received more than 2,400 calls related to rent stabilization from July 2017 to June 2018 (excluding calls about the then-new registration program). But only 191 (8%) were referred on to code enforcement for investigation.

Tenant inquiries 2017-2018
Just 191 our of 2424 total non-registration calls were referred to code enforcement that year.

The rest of the calls concerned rent increases, evictions, leases, and, most commonly, “general inquiries.” Today the RSO office fields many of those calls on topics such as:

  • Rent increases
  • Eviction notices
  • Rental unit registration and rent amounts
  • Lease provisions
  • Mediation of disputes
  • Interior and exterior property maintenance
  • Means and Method plan related to remodeling
  • ‘Tenantable’ requirements like functional plumbing, heating, electrical

Reach the Rent Stabilization Program office at (310) 285–1013 or by email at bhrent@beverlyhills.org. The office will refer some of those calls to Community Preservation for inspection and enforcement.

Key Community Preservation Responsibility Areas

Some inquires or complaints are beyond the scope of rent stabilization specifically. Contact Community Preservation for an inspection and/or enforcement about:

  • Gas-powered leaf blowers;
  • Maintenance of the public right-of-way;
  • Unpermitted construction or renovation work;
  • Any safety issue related to a multifamily building exterior; and,
  • Animal control.

File a complaint online for matters related to rent stabilization administration (topic: renters issues) or Community Preservation (topic: code violations) through the Ask Bev online system. Read our primer, How to File A Code Complaint.File a Report Online.

Interior Maintenance Gets a Pass

Tenants often complain about old paint, worn carpet, aged appliances and other in-unit conditions that reflect under-investment by the landlord. But understand that the city has no standards for habitability, so Community Preservation has limited enforcement responsibility in this area. (Renters Alliance explains the constraints in Habitability Code Violations: What You Need to Know.

Interior conditions only becomes the concern of Community Preservation when it comes to health and safety: Is the paint peeling? Is the carpet rippling? Does some aspect of the unit interior present a safety hazard?

Health and sanitation is more complicated though. State law requires the permises be free of vermin, mold and insect infestation, but these health-related issues fall to the County for enforcement. Our Rent Stabilization Program should be the gateway for those reports.

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