The new law requires annual inspections of Sandy Springs apartment complexes
The Sandy Springs City Council unanimously approved development code amendments requiring annual inspections of all multifamily rental housing units in the city.
“Currently, the law and third-party inspections are spread out over five years, making it difficult for all parties to keep track of which buildings have actually been inspected,” Community Development Director Ginger Sottile told the City Council at its Sept. 6 meeting. . “Furthermore, due to the large number of older apartments without sprinklers, there is an increased risk of fires and potential loss of life,” Community Development Director Ginger Sottile told the City Council at its Sept. 6 meeting.
The fire department, law enforcement and building department will jointly administer the program. Apartment complex owners or property management companies must schedule and pay for annual third-party inspections.
In addition to annual inspections, a separate inspection of the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems will be necessary every five years to ensure the equipment is properly maintained and operating within manufacturer specifications, she added.
All property owners and property managers must undergo training on the new law. A Certificate of Code Compliance, Property Manager Certificate, and Certificate of Insurance must be submitted with the application for a new or renewal professional tax certificate.
Councilwoman Melody Kelly questioned why apartment complexes were required to show their insurance coverage to the city.
“We believe this is to protect the occupants of the apartments themselves. If, God forbid, a catastrophic event occurs and there is a loss of life and the families of the missing, they will be compensated. Also in the event of a loss of housing, the housing can be rebuilt again so that Occupants will at some point return to the apartments they previously occupied.”
City Attorney Dan Lee said staff feels the requirement is another level of inspection because a property cannot obtain insurance if it does not meet code.
During public comment before the code amendments were presented to the City Council, Steven Davis of the Atlanta Apartment Association asked for time to return the proposals to members for review.
He said the insurance requirements were not something other cities asked to see. The requirement for third-party inspectors, owners, or property managers to attend a class was also unique and the association wanted to learn more about the classes.
The city has 98 apartment complexes, with two more under construction, according to Sutil’s report to the City Council. More than 25,000 units for rent in approximately 1,300 buildings. Of these buildings, its report stated that 47 percent lacked an automatic sprinkler system, 25 percent were partially covered by sprinklers, and 28 percent were completely covered.