SCEP is an acronym for ‘Systematic Code Enforcement Program’. Through the SCEP program, LAHD housing inspectors conduct a site visit to every single Los Angeles rental income property with two or more units on a three-year revolving basis. LAHD has roughly ~175 inspectors. In addition to their regularly scheduled SCEP inspections, LAHD inspectors also respond to tenant complaints they receive (LAHD recieves approximately ~15,000 tenant complaints each year and responds to 87% of them within 72 hours).
SCEP was created in 1998 to ensure that the Los Angeles rental housing stock is safe and habitable. SCEP is basically an anti slum lord program. Many multi-family property owners are upset by SCEP because LAHD’s inspectors routinely write citations for minor cosmetic issues and misquote building codes that they do not understand. LAHD inspectors are not LADBS inspectors– and they usually do not have a construction background.
LAHD inspectors will be checking that the property meets Section 1941.1 of the California Civil Code, the Uniform Housing Code of the State of California, or the Los Angeles Municipal Code.
Since SCEP’s introduction they have reported more than 3.6 million code violations and have accounted for more than $2.6 billion in capital reinvested in the City’s housing stock. LAHD wrote a SCEP Pre-Inspection Guide that gives some advice for landlords on preparing for a SCEP inspection.
- Lack of proper maintenance or unsanitary conditions in a building or on its premises, including any infestation of termites, roaches, rodent or other such nuisance conditions.
- Deteriorated or defective interior walls, ceilings, floors or floor covering.
- Broken or missing windows, window screens.
- Lack of quick-release mechanisms on security bars over sleeping room windows.
- Defective, missing or improperly installed smoke detectors.
- Lack of required light, ventilation, required minimum floor area, or required ceiling height in a habitable room.
- Defective or missing required light fixtures, electrical outlets, switches, etc. or exposed/unsafe electrical wiring
- Deteriorated, leaking, or missing plumbing items. Lack of required hot water. Lack of required heat.
- Illegal Units, and unpermitted construction.
LAHD will try to mail apartment owners SCEP inspection notice 30-days in advance of the regularly scheduled inspection. Shorter time frames may be imposed for properties referred by a tenant complaint or other enforcement agency such as the Health Department, the Department of Building and Safety, Los Angeles Housing Department Code Enforcement Unit, or the Fire Department.
A secondary notice is posted at the site 5-7 days prior to the inspection to inform the tenants of the date and time to anticipate the arrival of the inspector. If the inspector finds that a property does not meet City and State codes, a “Notice to Comply” is issued. Property owners are given 30 days (or less depending on severity of the violations) to have the needed repairs completed. If you get one of these, As a landlord you are best off doing anything on this list right away. A re-inspection is done afterwards to verify that the corrective work was done.
If deficiencies are not corrected in the time specified on the Notice to Comply, you will be summoned to an administrative hearing (known as a “General Manager’s Hearing”) to determine the reason for non-compliance. At the hearing an LAHD employee puts on a robe and pretends to be a judge. They are not a judge. They usually are very bias in favor of tenants rights and will probably place your property in REAP, and may sentence you to mandatory property management training classes.
The SCEP fee is $43.32 per unit, per year. As landlord you will have to pay this fee upfront, but you can recover 100% of this cost by passing it along to the tenant in the form of a monthly rent contribution of $3.61- just write this is additional charge in your lease when you are writing it up.