COBB COUNTY, Ga. — Cobb County is taking steps to put its tenants first.
Last week, county commissioners approved the Multifamily Rental Housing Inspection Program, a code amendment requiring landlords to annually inspect both the interior and exterior of multifamily rental properties.
Cobb County District 4 Commissioner Monique Sheffield told 11Alive in an interview that the amendment was introduced when multiple tenants came to her last year concerning living conditions at apartments.
“There have just been a handful of owners who were neglecting their properties, and last year, we received an overwhelming number of concerns during our Board of Commissioners meetings,” she said.
According to the amendment, the multifamily housing program will require landlords to have 25% of the units within each complex inspected for interior code compliance and 100% for exterior code compliance on a rolling basis.
This means over the next four years, all units on a property should gone through an indoor and outdoor inspection.
Sheffield explained not all of the apartment communities in Cobb were targeted with this amendment, but the program will make sure landlords are held accountable and tenants have some protections when it comes to the interiors of their units.
“They're not these dilapidated buildings that are boarded and, you know, trash everywhere. I mean, these are nice looking buildings and by all appearances on the exterior, they look great, but the challenge becomes behind the tenants' doors," she said.
Property inspections must be conducted by a certified building inspector and documentation is required to be submitted with the annual renewal of a landlord’s business license.
Any non-compliance with the amendment can result in violations and penalties from the county and even the non-renewal of licenses.
Sheffield hopes the program will give tenants peace of mind when it comes to reporting bad conditions in their units.
“My concern is that we have investors that are purchasing in the community, but they're not investing in our communities, and we're talking about people's safety net,” she said.
The Cobb County leader said with the new rule, they're able to serve families in several ways.
“So it's my hope that with this amendment, we tackle three things: number one, addressing the repair so people are living in clean and livable conditions, right? The second is to minimize this angst in a society in actually reporting the landlords for these poor conditions. And then the third is to help stabilize families,” Sheffield added.
Enforcement of the new Multifamily Rental Housing Inspection Program starts with this upcoming renewal cycle in 2024.