Rental Property Inspections
The City of Huntington went through a multi-year process to ensure all rental housing is maintained in good, safe, and sanitary condition.
In 2018, Huntington City Council adopted an ordinance that aimed for all rental units to meet all applicable building, fire, health, safety, and zoning codes, and to provide an efficient system for compelling both absentee and local landlords to correct violations and keep their rental units in proper condition. Click here to read the ordinance in its entirety.
Why Inspections of Rental Properties are Needed
According to a 2020 report on Huntington’s housing stock that was conducted by a research fellow with the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative for the City of Huntington, 63 percent, or 6,050, of the city’s 9,603 rental units were in decline. The report also estimated that approximately 60-80 percent of all rental units were code non-compliant.
The city’s initial focus following the adoption of the ordinance was to register rental property owners and their properties. Establishing and adding units to this rental registry was the focus well into 2020.
In December 2020, three housing inspectors were hired for the ongoing review of the registry, identifying properties that need to be added to the registry and conducting licensing inspections for one- and two-family residential dwellings.
Since the three housing inspectors began inspecting one- and two-family dwellings in April 2021, 1,230 inspections have been completed. These include routine inspections, complaint-based inspections, and follow-up inspections. The housing inspectors will inspect one- and two-family residential dwellings no more than once in 12 months for each rental unit, according to the ordinance.
How Inspections Occur
Two primary ways to trigger inspections. First, property owners complete an application packet to ensure the property is registered. Second, a complaint-based trigger by tenants by contacting the City of Huntington. If landlords do not voluntarily register, the city will use other methods to ensure their property is registered and inspections occur. The inspection process for all residential rental properties is similar in that electrical safety, heating, smoke alarms, handrails, and general maintenance issues are inspected.
Multi-family dwellings are apartment buildings with more than two units, dormitories, and lodging and rooming, which are inspected by the building inspector, electric inspector, plumbing inspector, and the City of Huntington Fire Marshal due to the code regulating the occupancy type.
Where to Obtain Rental Registry Application
A rental registry packet for rental dwellings can be obtained by calling 304-696-5540, Ext. 2306 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to Register a Complaint or Request an Inspection
For one and two-family unit dwellings, call 304-696-5540, Ext: 2201 or Ext. 2202. Email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
For multi-family dwellings, call 304-696-5540, Ext: 2003, or email email@example.com.
Tenants of residential rental properties, regardless of whether it is a one- or two-family dwelling or multi-family dwelling, have the legal right to request an inspection directly from the City of Huntington without the permission of the property owner or landlord. For more information about renters’ rights, read the West Virginia Attorney General's Office’s online brochure here.