Manassas Park to certify rentals

Starting Jan. 1, all rental housing in Manassas Park must be inspected to insure it meets state and local regulations.

The Manassas Park City Council voted 7-0 Tuesday night in favor of amending the city’s zoning code to create a mandatory Certificate of Compliance. The ruling requires the owners of rental houses and apartments to obtain the permit, which must be renewed every three years. The city’s goal is to protect the public by ensuring safe rental units.

“This has been through many review processes, and it will be a very effective tool for the city to see that rental properties are safe,” said city attorney Dean Crowhurst.

Mayor William J. Treuting Jr., echoed Crowhurst’s sentiments. “This finally gives the city the ability to regulate this. It was something we were serious about and insures the safety of our renters and neighbors,” he said.

When owners apply for certification, a city code official will inspect the dwelling and make sure it meets with state and local regulations. To make the determination, the official will inspect the inside of a structure including all apartments, the grounds and accessory structures. A change of tenants will not require a subsequent inspection, according city officials.

The city will not charge for inspections for initial certificates, but there will be a $50 fee upon renewals. Reinspection of property following a failed inspection will cost $25. If the rental unit fails inspection, a code official will give a written notice of violations and a deadline for the owner to remedy the problems.

According to the amendment, the certificate may be suspended if owners or occupants violate the provisions of the law, or if the owner does not comply with the time specified in the notice of violation. The certificate can be revoked for two violations within six months.

City manager David W. Reynal urges owners apply for the certificate as soon as possible by calling the city inspections office at (703) 335-8816.

“The idea for this originated with the city’s governing body, but the subject has been around a while,” said Reynal.