Berkeley Postpones Vote on New Apartment Inspections Following Deadly Balcony Collapse - NBC Bay Area
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Berkeley Postpones Vote on New Apartment Inspections Following Deadly Balcony Collapse

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    The Berkeley City Council on Tuesday will vote on a new inspection policy for the city's apartment buildings. Michelle Roberts reports. (Published Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015)

    A vote on a new inspection policy for apartment buildings in Berkeley was pushed back to Nov. 17.

    City council members were scheduled to vote on the new rules during a meeting Tuesday, but were unable to get to the item and postponed a decision until next month. 

    The proposed inspection policy comes several months after a tragic balcony collapse that killed six students. The city over the summer passed stricter inspection regulations requiring all balconies in rental units to be inspected frequently.

    Next month's vote will be on similar regulations focusing inside the apartment units.

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    All apartment units in Berkeley are supposed to be inspected annually by the owner for things like plumbing and electrical. But the inspections currently run on an honor system because owners do not have to report the inspections to the city.

    If the proposal is passed by the council, inspections will have to be made public.

    City Councilman Jessie Arreguin is also proposing the city hire more inspectors to follow up with the buildings where issues are discovered. The city currently has five inspectors on staff.

    The proposal would also increase building violation fines to help pay for more city engineers.

    "The proposal that I introduced would not only require more inspections of apartments in Berkeley, but would also make sure we focus our attention to apartments that have major issues, and would make sure we do a better job to make sure housing is safe in our city," Arreguin said.

    The new wave of legislation was spotlighted by the deadly balcony collapse in the city in June. The collapse killed six people, including five Irish nationals.

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    On Wednesday, Irish President Michael Higgins will visit the collapse site to pay his respects before attending an event to honor the first responders who helped treat the injured from that collapse.

    NBC Bay Area has reached out to the property management company that oversees the Kittredge apartment building for a comment on the housing code proposal. The company did not respond on Tuesday.

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