Russell said if the property is not up to code the owner will be responsible for making the necessary corrections to the property before its approved by the city, or buyers can choose to take responsibility if corrections are needed. Bill Ruh, a strong advocate for affordable housing and the director of government affairs at Citrus Valley Association of Realtors, said initially he was concerned about the new law’s effect on low-income families. “I think the fact that the buyers now have the option to pay for the work will really help low-income families who otherwise would not be able to afford it,” Ruh said. “The city has also agreed to meet with some of us Realtors on a quarterly basis in case any problems arise in that community.” Russell said the goal of the new code is intended to increase safety not to place undue hardships on residents. El Monte officials said last year the city had a violation caseload of about 160 cases per month, which included converted garages and unpermitted room additions. They hope the new ordinance will cut that number down. EL MONTE – There’s a new rule for sellers and buyers of properties in the city that cracks down on illegal conversions and additions. As of today, the city is requiring an inspection to be made by city staff on all residential and commercial properties at the point of sale. City officials said high prices for homes has left residents finding cheaper ways to upgrade their homes and have resulted in more than one family living in a single-family home. “So many people bring family members or friends in to help offset the hefty mortgage payments,” said Charles Russell, the city’s chief building official. “We are just trying to make sure everyone knows the rules.” “The problems with conversions is many of them are generally not done to code. They are bootlegged in because they are cheaper that way,” Russell said. The Occupancy Inspection/Real Estate Inspection Program carries a $195.50 fee for residential properties and $252.50 for commercial properties, which may increase as the size of the structure grows, city officials said. City spokesman Matt Weintraub said the new ordinance helps both the buyer and owner of properties. “One of the problems is we have people buying property thinking the existing uses are permitted and a lot of times they find out they are not,” Weintraub said. Applications are available online at www.ci.el-monte.ca.us. Questions about the new ordinance should be directed to the city of El Monte Building Division at (626) 850-2050. [email protected] (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2109 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!