No Occupancy Permits, Health And Safety Program Instead

The Greenville City Council met Tuesday night and passed a Health and Safety Program aimed at educating renters about their rights, including the right to safe housing.

The city will take several steps in a Tenant Rights Campaign to educate renters and landlords alike. The Health and Safety campaign will take the place of the proposed occupancy permits the city had been considering. The permit would have required a city safety inspection to be passed prior to a new occupant living in a home or apartment. One of the goals of the Health and Safety Campaign is to inform renters of their right to ask the city to inspect property they believe to be unsafe. Councilman Roger Sanders said he thought the city would be asked to do more inspections as more people become aware of their rights.

It’s hoped more requested inspections would lead to safer housing. The city will also supply a voluntary checklist to landlords and renters for a self-inspection that would then be turned into the city. City Manager Dave Willey has said the city is working to improve the safety of housing in Greenville, and hopes this more voluntary program will allow people to fix this problem on their own. Councilman Mike Heath called the new program a fair compromise.

The vote to approve was 4-1 with Mayor Alan Gaffner voting no. Gaffner said he would have liked to hear public feedback about the campaign and consider the program in the June meeting.