Sandy Springs plans to improve apartment inspections process

Sandy Springs is considering adding an apartment inspection unit in its code enforcement department to manage annual inspections.

Currently only 20% of all apartment complexes are inspected each year, city officials say.

While fire inspections take place each year at apartment complexes, it can take a cycle of seven to nine years for all complexes to receive maintenance inspections, according to a report by the Community Development department.

Sandy Springs has 96 apartment complexes and receives 400 tenant complaints per year related to mold, water leaks, rodents, heating or air conditioning problems, illegal business activities and other issues, the report reads.

City Council will vote at a future meeting on text amendments to modify code requirements for inspecting common areas outside apartment communities and inside residential units. Council will also consider hiring two additional code enforcement officers.

A meeting date has not yet been scheduled. Community Development Director Ginger Sottile suggested adjustments to the code enforcement policy during a City Council meeting presentation Aug. 16.

Councilwoman Melody Kelley recently said the changes in apartment inspections were prompted by concerns expressed by residents and officials during public meetings for Sandy Springs’ Next Ten Initiative.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigation series Dangerous Dwellings also played a role, she said.

“In these measures we are addressing the majority of our community, “Kelley said of Sandy Springs planned changes to code enforcement. “It’s proactive. Fifty-two percent of the (city) population resides in multi-family communities.”

City Council will consider approving a requirement in which apartment communities must have a third party conduct inspections for all units. A third-party has handle inspections carried out at 20% of apartment communities that are normally inspected annually.

In addition, the code enforcement department would have a program to educate the public on apartment maintenance and complaint options.

Residents who talked to the AJC in 2020 about extreme mold problems at the former ReNew Sandy Springs apartments said they didn’t know the city could help with the issue when they received no resolution from apartment management.