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Creve Coeur May Reinspect Homes, Condos When Owners Change Hands

The city is looking at a program that would mirror what is now being done before apartments are occupied by new owners.

One year after Creve Coeur began requiring re-occupancy inspections of apartments, city building inspectors say they're ready to take on the task of doing the same for Creve Coeur homes and condominiums.

But city council members briefed Monday on the proposal say they still have questions about the idea.

Read the city staff report on building re-occupancy inspections (starts on page 61)

According to Chief Building Inspector Steve Unser, the move to inspect apartments prior to re-occupancy came from incidents in 2011 that saw residents injured in stairways which failed. Unser said his team found 3,000 violations over the course of 1,854 inspections in 2012.

The St. Louis Association of Realtors asked the city to start a home re-occupancy inspection program at the same time it began inspecting apartments, as a way to ensure equal treatment. The city decided to hold off to see how the first program worked before going with the second.

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Unser said in his staff report—and repeated Monday—that the city is often asked why it doesn't already do re-occupancy inspections, especially by home buyers who have complained that something wasn't caught prior to purchase.

But council members were skeptical about the idea. Ward 3 Councilwoman Charlotte D'Alfonso said she's received two emails supportive of it and 14 opposed.

She also asked Unser if a home buyer could avoid a city inspection if they had a private one. Unser confirmed that this would not be a substitute for a private inspection.

Ward 2 Councilman AJ Wang, a residential property owner in other communities in addition to being a Creve Coeur resident, voiced concern over the idea of government watching over people's homes in this way.

"Council will get calls from angry residents. We'll be stuck in a position between resdients and staff," he said. Wang also wondered if the concept could end up encouraging people to stay away from buying in Creve Coeur. 

Unser will return to council members with more information about what neighboring communities do, and the kinds of things inspectors look for in a checklist, noting that there would be differences in the checklist for a condominium and a home. 

Tell us what you think: Should Creve Coeur conduct re-occupancy inspections in homes and condominiums

David Caldwell February 27, 2013 at 08:55 PM
The extrapolation from apartments to single family homes is a huge stretch. We do not have a history of personal injuries in single family homes, and a home is not a business like an apartment. As a City Council candidate I am opposed to mandatory inspections. But I would go along with voluntary inspections- let the market decide. I will have more discussion at www.crevecoeurvoter.com in the near future.
flyoverland February 27, 2013 at 10:09 PM
I stand by my comment and adolescent? I've got socks older than you.
Bob Jones March 03, 2013 at 08:42 PM
As a retired code enforcement officer I can tell that most, if not all of the comments above are coming from long time, well established residents who own property in this city. It should come as no surprise that existing owners (potential sellers) would not be in favor of a program like this. You may have a strong sense of community but believe me we all put our pants on the same way and your buildings are NOT somehow magically immune to aging, rot, loosening, disrepair and illegal installations. I just hope the local aldermen can see that this is for the long term good of the community and that if a program like this prevents one fire or one electrocution or one bad fall it is well worth it. Look at it this way; if you are an upstanding citizen and have always kept your property in good shape then when it comes time to sell your house your inspection should go smoothly with only a few minor items that will end up protecting you and the next owner anyway. If you have a money pit and want to pawn it off on some unsuspecting person then go ahead, keep on objecting to "doing the right thing."
Stephanie R. March 04, 2013 at 11:44 AM
Sorry Bob Jones but you aren't a resident of Creve Coeur so you have no stake in our issue. flyoverland is right. It's time we get a city council and mayor who gives orders to staff, not the other way around. Frankly, I'd like to see a change in city staff because the people in charge are arrogant and many times insult us with their attitude.
flyoverland March 04, 2013 at 12:04 PM
Last time I checked, Bureaucracy was not one of the three pillars of government.

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