The city of Fresno this week has started mailing out nearly 25,000 letters officially directing property owners to sign up for the online rental housing registry or face penalties.
Once the letters are received, owners have 30 days to register for free at fresno.gov/rentalhousing. Late fees range from $100 to $1,000.
The registry is part of the city's Rental Housing Improvement Act passed by the City Council nearly a year ago to tackle substandard housing problems. The act includes a database of properties, tenant education and a routine interior inspection of rental units.
The city launched the registry in January and asked property owners to voluntarily sign up. About 13,000 properties are already registered. That's about 15 percent of the city's 90,000 rental units in the city.
In May 2016, The Bee highlighted substandard housing in Fresno in a special investigative report called "Living in Misery." It found that units all over the city were unlivable, and landlords were going without penalty because of the city’s lack of oversight.