|The town of Apple Valley, located in California, discriminates against non-owner occupied property owners by: |
A) Charging a $75 annual inspection fee to non-owner occupied property owners, but not performing the same service on owner-occupied property owners.
B) Writing code violations citations on non-owner occupied properties, while completely ignoring owner-occupied violations. Even when being made aware of the fact.
C) The town has ambiguous ordinances/codes which use words like "stuff" and "junk", which have no definitions as to what these terms refer to. What is stuff and what about junk? Basically, the codes are poorly wrighten so the town can interpret them how they deem fit.
D) The code enforcement officers commit perjury. Every tenant I've run across in the town has been cited for overgrowth/dead vegetation. It's a default item code enforcement puts on there citations, whether it exists or not. They sign the citation under perjury that the foregoing is true and accurate.
As to what occurred. I was a tenant living in Apple Valley. I had 2 goats and 1 dog on a little over an acre lot. I had the 2 goats as pets for weed abatement. As anyone who has live stock knows, you have no weeds. I receive notice from the owner that they received a citation for overgrowth/dead vegetation and non-operable vehicles. That I needed to correct the problem. I asked the owner for a copy of the citations and went to the town hall the next day. I asked for a copy of the city codes and was told that they don't have them there, but I can download them off there website at www.applevalley.org.
So, I went to the website and viewed the alleged violations. First of all, the code enforcement offericer wrote the citation as overgrowth/dead vegetation. The code on the website says overgrowth and mentions nothing of dead vegetation. The code has no specifics other then the property needs to be free of overgrow vegetation. I had 4 trees that where hibernating (it was Winter) and no ground vegetation (not even weeds).
The second violation was for non-operable/dismantled vehicles. I had two trucks parted in the backyard that I wasn't using. Both where complete and registered non-op, since in CA it's required to have insurance on current tag vehicles. They ran and drove, I just wasn't using them. Other then being dirty due to the high sediment level here.
Since I still don't see there there are any code violations, I call the code enforcement officer. As to the overgrowth, he took a look at the pictures of the violation and after he-hawing for a couple of minutes, he says he doesn't see any. He then says well theres this little pile of junk on the ground near the front of the house, between the two windows. It was a small 3" tall by 4" wide pile of sediment (dirt) that collected by the wind against the house. I told him to give me a break...where is the overgrowth? He finally admitted that there was none.
As to the non-operable vehicles, I had to prove by showing repair bills or with pictures that the vehicles where operable. I asked him how he knows if a vehicle is operable or not. He basically mumbled, I dunno what and what I really came down to is if they think a vehicle isn't drivable. So this is a bunch of baloney. I could see if the vehicle has it's wheels or doors missing, but by my trucks where complete. So how is this guy qualified to tell whether a vehicle is operable or not? He isn't.
Oh and since the code enforcement officer had me on the phone, he wanted to come out to the property and walk the property line to check for more violations. Gimme a break..so writing up all this baloney wasn't good enough. No doubt, he wanted to come out so they could charge another $75 inspection fee.
While I had him on the phone, I also asked him why he did write all the other clear and obvious violations on the surround properties. He said that unless a complaint is filed, they wont do that. He said I could file a complaint if I wanted to. So, you only write the rental property violations and not the surround properties. What a joke. I told him if I do file a complaint, it would be against him, not other people in the neighborhood and hung up.
I went back to the website and looked at more of the codes and wow. These codes are a bunch of ambiguous garbage. Really...code violations like your yard must be free of junk. In the codes, it mentions the purpose of the codes where to keep surround property owners from degrading property values. Obviously, this isn't true.
I'll post a link to the codes shortly.