Proactive Rental Inspection: Addressing Housing Instability and Quality

About this Sprint

  • In the United States, nearly 45 percent of homes in metropolitan areas have at least one health and safety hazard
  • The City of Syracuse, NY implemented the Tenant-Owner-Proactive (TOP) program, a proactive rental inspection program that aims to increase housing quality and housing stability for residents
  • The Proactive Rental Inspection (PRI) Sprint explored how inspection programs can be designed to promote equitable housing outcomes, the role of community engagement and human-centered design in developing inspection programs, and trade-offs between inspection program features within a city’s fiscal and regulatory context

What you'll learn

  • Identify local housing disparities (common health risks associated with housing in your community) and understand equity implications of implementing a proactive inspection program
  • Identify and understood the implication of any state laws affecting the establishment of a local PRI program
  • Identify key local stakeholders (e.g., Legal Aid, tenants organizations, health/housing coalitions, local champions) and begin the community engagement process toward the design and adoption of a program to increase housing quality and stability
  • Assess baseline community need and readiness for the adoption of such a program
  • Identify initial policy and program goals for the inspection program to be vetted by their community
  • Complete a City Action Plan, including community engagement, that outlines next steps and goals beyond the 12-week sprint period

Sprint partners

  • Lead Partners: City of Syracuse Innovation Team and ChangeLab Solutions

The history of the City of Syracuse's TOP Program and strategies to identify priority areas for code enforcement in your city

Solutions to address housing affordability, community and landlord engagement, state restrictions, and other common issues

Information on property identification, rental registries, and other strategies to target your rental inspection efforts

Best practices in enforcing, funding, and evaluating PRI programs

Background on racial equity principles and community engagement strategies and how they apply to PRI policy development

Examples of PRI programs from Tukwila, WA; Brooklyn Center, MN; and Rochester, NY

Approaches to changing the culture of code enforcement departments to align with the proactive enforcement model

An overview of other policies and practices that address health and housing issues