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NLV Proposes Rental Enforcement Plan| Oct 21 2004

If you rent a home or apartment in North Las Vegas, city officials may come to inspect it to see if it's up to code. The problem is they don't have to let you know when they plan to do the inspection.

It's called PREP, or the Proactive Rental Enforcement Plan. City officials say it would eliminate or significantly reduce substandard housing. But others say the proposal violates the constitution.

Alan Bassett and his family purchased the Mountain View apartments three years ago. "We've revamped the landscaping, put in a parking lot, repainted exterior of apartments."

Soon Bassett and other rental property owners in North Las Vegas may be forced to open their doors to city inspectors who North Las Vegas City Manager Gregory Rose says will be looking for health and safety code violations.

"What we will be looking for is things such as insect infestation, hazardous situations such as frayed wiring," Rose explained.

But under the proposal landlords may also be cited if tenants do not keep the inside of their apartments or homes clean and sanitary as well.

Alan Lichtenstein says, "This truly is big brother." Lichtenstein with the ACLU says the proposal is an invasion of privacy because the city will only notify landlords when inspections will tale place. And if renters turn inspectors away, they will apply for a warrant.

"This proposal puts no limits on what inspectors can look for and it says that anything they find they can give to police," Lichtenstein added.

Landlords will pay $50 per unit to cover inspection costs. And with 32 units, that equals $1,600 a year for Bassett. "With an older building there's always going to be something to fix," he said.

And it's being forced to fix things that do not violate code that Bassett says he's worried about.

Inspections would be mandatory once a year at all apartments and rental homes that are at least 10 years old. Before the North Las Vegas city council votes on this proposal, they will take public input at the November 17th City Council meeting, which begins at 6 p.m.

The ACLU plans to fight the current proposal until changes are made.