As any Philadelphian knows, when it comes time to report an issue to L & I, they often do not have the resources or staff to respond in a timely fashion.
That’s why L & I has pledged to begin spot checks of buildings to ensure they’re up to code. Councilman DiCicco and Councilman Kenney also sponsored a bill on September 17th that would require that the exterior of any building six stories or higher be privately inspected every five years.
“The spot inspections should begin by mid November,” said Fran Burns, L & I Staff Commissioner, explaining that the agency will conduct the inspections “according the highest density of inspection licenses as well as the highest density of complaints.”
“If a violation should result,” when the spot checks are conducted, continued Burns, “the penalty will be determined by the severity of it [the violation].”
By a large measure, the severity of the penalty would reflect whether or not people are safe or not to stay there.
“If we don’t think people are safe to stay there, we will want them to vacate,” said Burns.
Though L & I tries to avoid scenarios that cause renters to become homeless overnight, said Burns. In the case of certain violations, such as those pertaining to fire code said Burns, for example, “We could put a fire watch in place if the landlord agrees to have someone fix it the next day.”
Under the tenants of DiCicco and Kenney’s bill, property owners would be required to have their buildings inspected by an engineer or registered architect on either scaffolding or another type of observation platform. Once the inspection concludes, property owners must then file a report with L & I, which categorizes the building as either, “safe,” “safe with a repair and maintenance program,” or “unsafe.”