Op-Ed: Clovis needs its own version of Fresno’s Rental Housing Improvement Act

EDITOR’S NOTE: Letters and Op-Ed pieces submitted by readers do not express the opinions or views of the Clovis Roundup and should not be interpreted as endorsements.

By Ashley Norton

In 2016, Fresno passed the Rental Housing Improvement Act (RHIA), which
essentially reverted the city to a proactive, rather than a reactive response to coding and housing complaints. Simply put, the Fresno Code Enforcement Division could now investigate neighborhoods with poor housing and sue landlords who were improperly managing their rental properties.

This is important because it means that residents could now much more freely report
coding violations (lack of electricity, broken appliances, etc.) to the code department
without fear of retribution. Renters who feared getting increases in their rent amount, being treated poorly by management, or being evicted could now step forward and report safety concerns with their housing to the City of Fresno.

While many argued the RHIA was unnecessary, 100 percent of properties the Fresno code
department inspected in 2017 (the first year the RHIA was in place) were deemed
“unsatisfactory.” These landlords have been informed, and many have started the process of improving their properties up to health and safety codes.

The City of Clovis, on the other hand, still has a reactive response to coding and
housing complaints. While this information doesn’t change the lives of people who own their homes, or have fair landlords who abide by their contracts, it does impact many others.

It’s time for Clovis to take a stand against sitting idly by while people are being hurt by
the reactive policy that leaves neighborhoods looking rundown, lacking security, and bringing neighborhood property values down.