Northampton Press

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Rental property ordinance drafted

Wednesday, January 24, 2018 by LINDA WOJCIECHOWSKI Special to The Press in Local News

A new ordinance regulating licensing and inspections for rental properties in Northampton Borough has been drafted. Following council review and public comment on the draft Jan. 18, a number of revisions are expected to be implemented before the ordinance is brought before the council for a vote.

The key elements of the draft, now under revision, are outlined here.

The purpose of the ordinance is to provide a framework with which landlords will be compelled to correct violations, keep rental properties in good condition and promote public health and safety.

• Property owners must register each rental unit with the borough, identifying the owner, tenant, parking spaces and liability insurance. There will be a fee for this.

• The owner must report when a tenant moves out and a new one moves in.

• Once registered, the residential rental registration license may be revoked if the owner is not up to date on payment for real estate taxes and fees for sewer, water and trash collection. Registration must be completed every three years.

• Following the submission of a registration application, the code enforcement officer will schedule an inspection of the unit, and once the unit is brought up to code, a license will be issued. There is a fee for the inspection.

• The code enforcement officer may inspect a unit when occupancy changes or when there are complaints, and an additional inspection fee will be charged.

• If the owner does not make necessary repairs, the borough may make the repairs at the cost of the owner.

• If the property is owned by a corporation, a manager who resides within 20 miles of the borough must be appointed.

A fine of $500 to $1,000 per rental unit will be imposed each month after a license has been denied, revoked or not renewed and the unit not brought into compliance or when an owner fails to register a residential unit being rented.

Fees for inspection and registration are set by a resolution and are not part of the ordinance.