By Jordan Fisch
Many do not know the average day of a local house inspector. With over 27,000 rental units in Allentown, checking each home or apartment can become a time consuming process.
“We have 12 rental inspectors who have the duty of doing four to six systematic inspections, which involves checking the interior of the house and to make sure the systems are working properly, from smoke alarms to the boilers. These are done every five years,” said Heidi Westerman, the director of Building Standards and Safety for Allentown. “These inspections can take from one to two hours.”
However, that is just one aspect of the job. They also have to deal with complaints from tenants, which can range from a fire alarm needing to be fixed to a broken window. “We have been flooded with complaints. While some can be quick, some inspectors have to deal with multiple issues, which can really take onto their day.”
Those are not the only inspections needed. Whenever someone purchases a new house, a presale inspector has to check the house to make sure everything is in order. However, there are only two in the entire city of Allentown. “The housing market has been booming, so we have gotten swamped with requests for inspections. It’s really hard to get them all when you only have two people who specialize in presale,” said Westerman.
And the COVID pandemic has caused a major setback in inspections. “We were forced to put standard inspections on hold for four months when the pandemic started because families did not want us coming in, they were sick, or workers were sick,” said Westerman. “We could only do the exterior, which obviously does not cover everything we need to do.”