Currently in Archives. Click here to return to the new CU-CitizenAccess.Org website at any time.

Inspections in C-U: The processes, requirements and penalties

Unit inspections

Urbana inspectors examine each interior floor of an apartment unit to check for working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. They check that windows have screens and can be opened and that doors are in good condition and have proper locks. 

Inspectors also test all electrical outlets for proper functioning and examine the wiring system to make sure it meets standards. 

In addition to these common items, inspectors look for any dangers, such as rodent or insect droppings, leaks or flooding, plumbing problems and heating and air conditioning. 

Inspectors also check the exterior of the building. The exterior must be in good general repair properly painted to prevent moisture and without holes or cracks. The property must be free of rubbish or junk and should be properly lighted.(Champaign inspectors look at all these items, but only if the inspection is based on a complaint. Otherwise, they inspect commons areas.)
Commons-area inspection

During a commons area inspection, inspectors look for fire safety features in the hallways, laundry rooms and exterior of the building. A leasing agent or landlord must accompany the inspector to allow access to the building and to apartments. 

All buildings must have carbon monoxide detectors, and large buildings must have a fire alarm system. Inspectors check to make sure detectors and emergency lighting systems work. 

They also test doors to make sure they have the appropriate fire resistance level and that they self-lock and shut. In doing this, inspectors must open the door of every individual apartment unit to test the door. They also check the exterior of the building for general safety. 

Depending on the severity of code violations found, landlords are given one to 30 days to make the required repairs; this period is based on standards of tenant safety, but is applied at the discretion of the housing inspector.

After the allotted period, an inspector re-inspects the property to check compliance. If repairs are not made, they continue to revisit the property and may eventually file a case with their legal departments in the case of a non-compliant landlord. 

At this point, property owners can face fines of $250 to $750 per violation per day in Urbana, and $155 to $750 in Champaign.

¨ Copyright 2011 CU-CitizenAccess.