SOUTH OF THE 10 - Inglewood residents have taken to social media in protest of annual home registration fees that are being assessed to property owners and landlords through the Housing Protection Department (HPD) in accordance with provisions under the Housing Protection Ordinance.
Residents are upset that regardless of whether they have a tenant, they are required to pay registration fees to subsidize the new department.
According to the city’s website, “if your property type is exempt according to the Inglewood Municipal Code (IMC) Ordinance 21-09, YOU MUST STILL REGISTER your property and/or units and claim the exemption(s) with the HPD”.
“If you are a homeowner and you rent out your home, you are only required to register, and as long as you do so before the deadline, you will not have to pay fees,” said Yakema Decatur, director of HPD. “Single family homes that are rented out are exempt from housing protection laws, but all residential properties are required to register annually.”
The City will waive registration fees completed between January 7, 2022 and March 31, 2022, will be waived.
The city will issue a business tax certificate for the registration fees, which must be produced to any revenue inspector and/or code enforcement officer, requesting verification.
The city will begin enforcement May 1, 2022, against any Property Owner and Landlord who fails to register a residential property/unit pursuant to Inglewood Municipal Code Section 8-126.
The City was pressured into enacting rent control as a means to stop rent gauging that residents complained were occurring as a result of gentrification fueled by new developments.
Discussions began in 2019, with an emergency rent ordinance that became permanent Oct. 2020.
The ordinance provided certain actions the city could would take to recoup administration costs, including assessing fees, and creating a housing board, which residents complained had not been done.
An Inglewood property owner attended the Sept. 21, 2021, regular city council meeting to challenge information provided to him from HPD, regarding evictions, but also inquired why the city wasn’t following their own ordinance when it came to establishing a rent board.
“You don’t have a board setup that was supposed to be done last Oct. and how do you make an ordinance, setup a board and not do it,” said Greg Essery.
He repeatedly asked the mayor when he was going to setup the board, Butts deflected to calling the resident “frustrated”, and never offered an answer.
During the FY 2021-2022 budget presentation, another resident submitted public comment regarding the appearance of the City consolidating the Housing Protection Department with the Inglewood Housing Authority (IHA).
“It appears that the affordable housing dept is consolidating with housing protection,” wrote Marvin McCoy. “Since the budget proposes consolidating both departments will the housing protection operating administrative costs such as salary and operations to the affordable housing program’s budget?”
The belief is if the departments are in fact consolidated, wouldn’t administrative costs be absorbed with federal dollars?
In 2016, the Inglewood Housing Authority was made to pay back $797,000 for unauthorized personnel costs.
According to the Office of Inspector General’s audit of IHA, “…we recommend that the Director of HUD’s Los Angeles Office of Public Housing require the Authority to (1) provide supporting documentation or reimburse its program $796,186 from non-Federal funds for unsupported allocated overhead and personnel costs charged.”
When the department was created, the initial funding came from the City’s reserves, and the staff report identified registration fees as a way to recoup these costs.
Now residents are up in arms with the fact they have to pay an additional annual “fee” that is nothing more than a thinly veiled tax.
“I am retired property owner on a fixed income and I knew that if rent control was implemented it would be disastrous,” said Pearson Lynell. “My taxes have already increased by more than $400 per year, which may not seem like a lot, but it is if you’re on a fixed income.”
Some blamed the mayor directly.
“Mayor Butts you’re not watching out for the very people who voted for such a capitalist as yourself,” said Kimberly McKay.
Others say the city isn’t safe so why the continued increase of cost to live here?
“They want to create all these fees and squeeze money out of people for what,” asked Ana Brown. “For my car to be stolen? My house to be broken into? City of Champions, huh?”
As residents prepare for 2022 elections, where Mayor Butts, and Council members George Dotson and Alex Padilla are on the ballot, when exactly do the spoils from the NFL, Forum reopening, and the coming Clippers Arena actually kick in?
We are paying to park in front of our homes, stuck in increased traffic congestion, are facing multiple lawsuits related to the mayor’s reckless behavior, an officer allegedly mowing down a pedestrian, and unforeseen potential litigation related to the police department being allegedly connected to drug trafficking, makes for more money going out of 1 Manchester Blvd. than is coming in.
To add insult to injury, a crucial tax ballot measure failed, when residents rejected an increased, tiered tax system on real estate transfers.
Residents have a LOT to think about.
(2UrbanGirls has been cited in CityWatchLA, Compton Herald, Daily Breeze, Daily News, Inglewood Today, Intersections South LA, KCRW, KPCC, Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly, LA Watts Times, Mercury News, Orange County Register and The Atlantic.)