By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
SOUTHGATE – The City Council held the first reading March 3 for an ordinance that would require a house to be inspected on its exterior when it is being sold or transferred.
The purpose of the ordinance is to prevent blight, abate nuisances and help ensure a minimum maintenance standard in the city’s neighborhoods, as well as maintain property values.
City Administrator Dustin Lent said many surrounding communities have adopted similar ordinances, including Allen Park, Lincoln Park, Wyandotte, Riverview and River Rouge.
He said there would be a $200 fee for the inspector to come to the house, with a $50 re-inspection fee if the correction items noted during the first inspection are discovered to be incomplete during the initial followup.
Lent said the city already has an inspection ordinance in place for rental units, which requires an inspection at least every three years.
City Councilwoman Karen George said the ordinance will resolve many of the complaints she hears from residents about exterior house maintenance problems.
Garages, sheds and other accessory structures would also be subject to an exterior inspection as well.
Leases, gifts and owner-occupied inheritances would be exempt from the inspection provision.
If a property is sold without a certificate of occupancy, then the purchaser must agree to bring any violations up to code within six months of the occupancy agreement.
The city inspection will be visual, only, and will not guarantee the structure from physical defects or structural problems.