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Housing Department Good at Building Homes, Lousy at Collecting Money

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Photo by f-go via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr

Photo by f-go via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr
Details of new audit today released by City Controller Wendy Greuel show that the Los Angeles Housing Department (LAHD) "does a very good job helping to build housing," but "they’re not good at collecting money," according to a release issued by the City Controller's office. Greuel's audit, part of an ongoing series of audits aimed at ensuring the city's funds are properly administered, looked at how more than $43 million in Special Revenue Funds are managed at the LAHD.

The core findings of the audit, according to Greuel, are as follows:
- The Housing Department had at least $48 million in uncollected fees owed to its Code Enforcement Trust (SCEP) and Rent Stabilization Trust (RSO) funds. $36 million in fees that are owed were at least five months delinquent.
- LAHD has collected $11.2 million more in SCEP and RSO funds over the past five years than they’ve expended.
- The LAHD has 10 funds with a balance of $10.4 million that did not expend any money for at least two years.

The SCEP and the RSO are the two largest funds the LAHD administers; the goal of the SCEP is to ensure rental units are in compliance with City laws, while the RSO was established in conjunction with the 1979 passage of Prop 13, which regulate the amount a landlord is allowed to increase the rent each year.

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Greuel is hoping her audit will help the LAHD in collecting funds, as well as spending the funds they have on hand for their intended purposes, or transfer them for use as otherwise deemed necessary in their department. Says Greuel: “I’ve talked about the need for improved collections many times, while the City will never achieve a 100% collection rate, City Departments must do a better job of sending these delinquent accounts to agencies more equipped to collect the outstanding funds.”