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NEPA Landlord Tenant Homeowner Association Blog

 

 
 

Commentary on issues regarding property rights, this blog relays information on events past, present, and into the future in Northeast PA (USA). While facts are presented, an opinion may be thrown in the mix to make things more interesting. Corrections are welcomed by using the comments -  as long as we see documents to back it up.

As far as the comment part of this blog, we appreciated hearing from people literally all over the world! We generally don't publish the comments though because this is a local blog. Even so, comments published are rare unless they add to the story or a correction is needed and information sent was confirmed. Glad you're enjoying it though! We STILL have some freedoms here and intend to exercise them at will!




Inspections...safety, revenue, a third way?

Some people could not care less...even a red light doesn't get their attention. If they only killed themselves careless individuals would only keep responding agencies busy. But the fact is that the rest of us have a target on our backs. 


And so is the initial thoughts of why we need safety inspections and government to enforce the concept (like health insurance - just kidding). The secondary thought is, hey, my brother-in-law needs a job and the state is offering a course. Let's also keep in mind tertiary motivational thinking such as fines for non-compliance brings in much needed revenue and finally property confiscation via condemned for urban renewal. (Eminent Domain doesn't work well in PA for this).

But what about the rest of the responsible landlords? What did they do BEFORE government stepped in with code enforcement beyond property maintenance? 
To make money, (which really IS a good thing!) one needs to offer a great product. He/she buys property, then remodels it which does four things:
1. Generates income for other businesses (supplies/labor) and government (permits/inspectors)
2. Allows for higher tax assessment via higher property value
3. Attracts tenants most likely well employed (NOT section 8) to afford the higher rent which
4. Pays local income tax - something Wilkes-Barre apparently doesn't want while playing whack a mole...but I digress.

So chances are good that landlords HAVE been been self-inspecting to get the best paying client in the apartment/house. It has been in the best interest of the landlord to keep an eye on the property so the tenant doesn't destroy it, AND to inspect it after the tenant leaves to see if the security deposit needs to be kept to help get the place back in top shape for a new tenant. In addition, insurance companies that want to stay in business are doing their own safety inspections.

But alas, we still have the "careless" types who, like in any business, gives everyone else a bad name. Renting is a business of course, and like a hot dog stand still one must be subject to rules since it only takes ONE bad Wiener...

Our humble suggestion:
A Rental License program within the jurisdiction of a borough, issues licenses to landlords who have met requirements the license mandates. One major requirement is Self Inspection Certification. The federal Public Housing Authority has a list of concerns each dwelling must meet for Section 8. Adopting the same list assures that:
1. Federal standards for renting are met.
2. Landlords won't have to deal with Code Enforcement who some at times sees all landlords as criminals looking for an opportunity.
3. The need to get unnecessary administrative warrants disappears.
4. Landlords may be covered in the event of lawsuits and/or prevention of. It may also help in the case of evictions. If a landlord follows the city's program faithfully, how will the judge view the landlord?
5. The cooperation between government and landlords is enhanced.

QUESTIONS
1) But what about urban blight? 
That's what the borough's adopted version of the Property Maintenance Code (custom fit for the region) is for, and BTW, it's for all properties/businesses.

2) Will landlords actually be able to inspect items on the list? 
Absolutely - it's not like "the code of codes" where only the Rosicrucians could decipher and for those who still can't inspect, independent building inspectors could be hired to "certify" the results or not until something is fixed. But the PHA inspection list is easy common sense stuff. Doesn't pass? No penalty - just don't apply for the license until you have it fixed.

3) How will the borough know that the landlord inspected? 
Landlords will sign a notice of inspection completed certifying requirements met.

4) Do you honestly think landlords will self-inspect? 
Not all, (again, most do anyway) but signing that one "certified" means if they lied they committed fraud which the law penalizes and there are several ways to get caught...i.e - a potential renter may NOT be who you think which probably will be an invitation for code enforcement to perform the inspection...yeah, oh no.

So in closing, we again push for better living standards, higher quality landlords, while keeping government honest by not using a rental program to raise revenue and impose inspections when not necessary. It also makes for a great business atmosphere that a government can facilitate.



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