The Phoenix Reporter and Item (http://www.phoenixvillenews.com)

Letter to the Editor Spring City Rental Inspection Ordinance overdue


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Poorly maintained and/or unsafe rental properties are major threats to public safety in the Borough of Spring City and yet, there are currently no ordinances in place that effectively address this problem.
Spring City desperately needs a Rental Inspection Ordinance that contains the following provisions:
- Mandatory inspection of recently vacated rental units
- Establishing enforcement guidelines and creating Rental Occupancy Permits which are renewed periodically contingent upon the property being in compliance with building codes and prompt payment of any associated fees
- Property owners must reside within 15 miles of the Borough OR designate an agent/manager to act on their behalf who either resides or has an office within 15 miles of the Borough
- Section regulating Disruptive Conduct of occupants and sanctions imposed upon property owners who fail to adequately act in response to said complaints
- Require landlords to submit tenant names and contact information to code enforcement department
Successful implementation of a Rental Inspection Ordinance has the potential to reduce crime, raise property values, protect public safety and attract businesses to the Borough of Spring City. If landlords are required to apply for rental permits, and know their properties will be subject to periodic inspections, they will be more likely to keep better track of not only the condition of the property itself but also the conduct of their tenants (i.e. recurring problems requiring police intervention including but not limited to drug trafficking, prostitution etc.) which would in turn could reduce crime.
A key element of an effective rental property ordinance is consistent enforcement. Simply put, the Borough needs a full-time code enforcement officer and/or department. Yes, having a full time enforcement officer would require a sizeable amount of funding but isnít it worth investing in the general well-being your community? Also, there are other supplemental options for funding in the form of Federal, State and County grants that could help reduce the cost of getting this program up and running. Another option to alleviate some of the financial burden of maintaining a functioning code enforcement department is to pool resources with another municipality.
Cooperation from Borough Council is another essential aspect of implementing a successful Rental Inspection program. If I am elected to Borough Council, I pledge to work tirelessly toward revitalizing Spring City which would include pursuing the enactment of a Rental Inspection Ordinance.
Erica Redahan Weiherer
Candidate for Spring City Borough Council