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Council Study Session Will Focus on Inspections

County Realtors group opposes inspections saying they are already covered by state law. Fire Department officials say they are more concerned with repairs.

The South San Francisco City Council will hold a study session Wednesday evening to consider a proposed Residential Point of Sale Safety Inspection Program. 

The San Mateo County Association of Realtors (SAMCAR) is opposed to the ordinance that would codify a practice that has been in place for 30 years.  In a written statement on SAMCAR’s government affairs web page the group says the inspections are not needed because state law already requires them. 

The city says it’s a matter of public safety and welfare and that the city’s ordinance would require identified problems be corrected. 

“They want to disclose and they do a good job of disclosing problems,” said South San Francisco Fire Marshal Luis Da Silva who noted that just because a problem has been disclosed it doesn’t mean it is being corrected.  “What we want to do is we want to get it fixed.” 

According to Da Silva, the point of sale inspections won’t stop home sales from going through.  The city offers buyers and sellers options for getting the homes repaired. The fire department is responsible for the point of sale inspections.

“We would venture into an agreement with the buyers,” said Da Silva.  “That agreement would spell out the problems that need correcting and a timeline for getting the work done.” 

According to Da Silva, the city charges $125 for the inspections but doesn’t charge a second fee to confirm that identified problems have been corrected. 

The city preformed 454 inspections from mid 2011 to October 2012 and only about 5 percent of buyers and sellers refused to correct the issues identified during the inspections. 

“Total fines for the approximately 20 homes where repairs were not made amounted to about $5,000,” said Da Silva.  SAMCAR claims some homeowners have been fined as much as $80,000 for not repairing identified problems. 

One possible area of confusion is with sewer lateral inspections.  Sewer laterals are the lines that connect buildings to the city’s sewer system.  South San Francisco requires sewer lateral inspections at the time at the time of sale for any building but that is covered by a separate ordinance. 

According to Da Silva the sewer lateral is on the inspection check list as a courtesy to buyers and sellers so they know the inspection needs to be done even though the Fire Department has nothing to do with the inspection or enforcement of sewer laterals. 

The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 6:30 p.m. in the Municipal Services Building, 33 Arroyo Drive. 

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ConcernedHomeOwner January 15, 2013 at 02:17 AM
Where are the explanations, concerns and quotes from real estate agents and home buyers and sellers? This seems like a press release from the fire department.

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