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Breaking Down the Law: What will the new code enforcement for extended-stay hotels mean?

The new laws come in response to the deadly alpine motel fire.
The new laws come in response to the deadly alpine motel fire.
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The City of Las Vegas has passed a new regulation today regarding code enforcement for aging apartments and extended-stay hotels and motels.

The changes come following last year's deadly alpine motel fire that took six lives. The new regulations call for landlords to fix code violations faster, stricter code enforcement, and penalties for non-compliance.

What could this mean for us here? Matt Hoffmann with Battle Born Injury Lawyers explains

What are the biggest changes in the proposal before the City?

Under these new regulations, landlords would have much less time and fewer warnings to fix issues before they are hit with fines and penalties.

So, instead of a situation like we saw with the Alpine Motel, where citations were ignored for years without recourse, landlords would have as short as 24-48 hours to fix major issues that may deem them uninhabitable, such as heating and air conditioning.

Defective heating is what led to the Alpine Motel fire, where residents were using a stove to heat their apartment.

If a landlord does not fix a major issue within 24-48 hours, the City can evacuate the building, get the repairs done themselves, and then charge the landlord for the repair costs.

RELATED | Alpine Motel owner ordered to not sell any assets for more than $25,000 amid lawsuit

But the biggest change is that extended-stay motel rentals will no longer be able to get around city housing standards. They have to meet the same safety standards as apartment complexes, which is what many of these places are.

There will now be annual inspections to make sure these facilities are up to code. So, in theory, this will raise the safety standards of apartments and extended-stay motels across the Valley.

Do you see any drawbacks or potential unintended consequences as a result of these new regulations?

I think that while all of this sounds wonderful in theory, it is going to place a huge burden on the City, and I have to question where the money will come from to enforce all this. The city is going to have to hire a lot more people and expand its Building and Safety department.

But I also worry that the result of this could be many of these places shutting down. Many owners could decide it’s just not worth it, financially, to get their properties in compliance with housing regulations. And that could impact the ability of these owners to sell the properties.

So the end result of this, down the line, could mean even less affordable housing for those most in need.

Obviously there’s a great purpose behind these proposed changes, but they could end up destroying affordable housing for many, many people in the Valley.

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Not to be cynical, but the City is really trying to save face here for the disaster that was the Alpine Motel fire. Three years before the December fire, LVMPD attempted to have the property shut down as a chronic nuisance. The city opposed those efforts. Three years later, we all know what happened.

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