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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The City of Dallas wants to crack down on slumlords by taking steps towards updating the city’s housing codes.

Monday the housing committee voted to move forward on tougher standards related to mold, bedbugs and broken air conditioning units in rental properties.

The proposed updates to the city’s housing codes would be the first in decades.

Several tenants, along with members of the Dallas Area Interfaith and local doctors, attended Monday’s committee meeting to shares stories of what they say are deplorable living conditions in Dallas.

Local pediatrician, Dr. Barry Lachman, visited several apartments in the Bachman Lake area and said the living conditions are making people sick.

“In every apartment we visited there were people with respiratory problems,” he said. “It’s a public safety issue as well as a health risk to the people that have to live in those conditions.”

Councilman Scott Griggs, chairman of the housing committee, said, “There’s no doubt about it we have an issue with slumlords.”

The city also wants to inspect single-family rental properties. Currently, just multi-family rentals are inspected about every three years.

The extra cost of inspections and enforcement the city has proposed could come from a tax on vacation home rentals, a tax similar to the hotel/motel tax.

“We want to give more powers to the City of Dallas to deal with slumlords,” Griggs said. “When we hear these complaints from tenants and when we see the bad living conditions, we want to be able to take action.”

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