In an effort to crack down on converted garages and other illegal residences, the City Council has approved an ordinance giving the city the power to inspect all houses before they are sold.
The ordinance, approved by a 4 to 1 vote Monday, calls for the inspections to be made at no charge. Previously, city officials had proposed charging residents $40 to $50 for the inspections, but those proposals were criticized by residents.
Council members say the city can no longer afford to subsidize residents who are living illegally in the city. Last year, the city had to purchase $143,000 worth of additional water for at least 20,000 more residents than the city's official population. This fall, 250 high school students may be bused to a school in Watts because of overcrowding in city schools.
The only council member who voted against the proposal, Del Snavely, said he did not think the city should perform the inspections for free. The city has estimated that conducting the inspections will cost at least $50,000 a year.