The first phase of the City of New Orleans’ Healthy Homes Rental Registry Program went into effect on January 1, 2024. The registry is part of the city’s Healthy Homes Program, which was created by a 2022 City Code and City Council Ordinance to ensure safe and habitable homes for renters within Orleans Parish. The program establishes a list of minimum rental standards, requiring adequate and operable household systems for plumbing and electrical, heating and cooling, and fire and smoke detection, along with a clean, weathertight building envelope free from leaks, mold, rodent infestations, and structurally compromised walls.
All rental property owners will eventually be required to register for an Annual Healthy Homes Certificate of Compliance, but the registry will be phased in, starting with owners of large and mid-sized rental properties in 2024, and smaller rental properties in 2025.
The three phases of the registry process are as follows:
- Parcels with 50+ dwelling units: NOW until Feb. 15, 2024
- Parcels with 4-49 dwelling units: July 1, 2024- August 15, 2024
- Parcels with 1-3 dwelling units: Jan. 1, 2025- Feb. 15, 2025
The application for property owners requires minimal information, including a self-reported declaration that the property has undergone a “reasonably recent” inspection and complies with the minimum rental standards. There is no fee to register but property owners may be fined if they do not register during the required period. They will also be required to renew their certificate of compliance annually.
The proposed regulations drafted for the implementation of the Healthy Homes Program rely on tenants (or concerned citizens), protected by new anti-retaliation laws, to report on locations with substandard living conditions. Complaints will result in a visit from a Healthy Homes Inspector from the Department of Code Enforcement, who will evaluate the property for compliance with the minimum rental standards. As a result of a failed inspection, the owner will be informed that they need to complete the required repairs immediately. The inspector will also submit a report to the Healthy Homes Program administration for enforcement, although the details of that remain unclear.
On Jan. 12 at 9 am, Safety & Permits will present the proposed rules and regulations for the Healthy Homes program, followed by a City Council vote for approval. Public comment can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org or in person in Council Chambers (1300 Perdido St.).
MaryNell Nolan-Wheatley is PRC’s Advocacy Coordinator & Public Policy Research Director.