Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Harrisburg Ordinance 13-2010

Harrisburg Ordinance 13 is up for amendment tonight before the vote on final passage. The City Council agenda does not say what the amendments will be.

Click here for details on the Ordinance.


8:25 PM

Harrisburg City Council did not vote on Ordinances 13 or 14 this evening. Council did not discuss the Ordinances or the reasons for the delay.

Prior to the announcement of the delay, I spoke in opposition to the ordinances on behalf of CARPOA and AACP. I spoke briefly of lawsuits filed in other jurisdictions resulting from public comments from city officials. City officials in Pittsburgh had stated publicly that inspection ordinances and rental licensure would serve to raise revenue for the city. Such a revenue raising purpose is illegal and those statements resulted in legal action against Pittsburgh. I pointed out similar statements made by Harrisburg officials in support of Ordinances 13 and 14 in recent weeks. (Click here for a fuller discussion of those statements.)

There was no response to my comments.

In addition to prior statements stressing the need to raise revenue from Ordinances 13 and 14, it is significant that tonight's council meeting was devoted almost exclusively to the City's financial problems. Council's final act tonight was to adopt Resolution 72-2010, which reads as follows:
A Resolution authorizing the engagement of professionals to study the advisability of authorizing the filing of a petition under either the Municipalities Financial Recovery Act (Act 47) or Chapter 9 of the bankruptcy code.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Apartment Association of Central Pennsylvania; Best of Living Awards (BOLA); Senator David Argall

On September 23rd 2010, Senator David Argall (R-29) spoke at the annual Best of Living Awards (BOLA) of the Apartment Association of Central Pennsylvania (AACP). Aside from speaking briefly about Senate Bill 900 (the blight bill), Argall made a recommendation to property investors looking to deal with increasing municipal regulation such as inspection ordinances. Investors should get to know their municipal officials before any such municipality proposes legislation that will impact investors.

By becoming a constant presence in municipal affairs, investors can head off damaging legislation and avoid needless disputes.

Senator Argall is currently running for Congress in Pennsylvania's 17th Congressional District.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Harrisburg Ordinances ## 13 and 14

I have written earlier about Harrisburg Ordinances ## 13 and 14 and the City's illegal attempts to profit from investment property licensure and inspection as well as new residency requirements for owning investment properties within the City.

These ordinances are currently scheduled for a vote by Harrisburg City Council on Tuesday, September 28, 2010 at 6:00 PM at the King Center downtown. Public comment will be allowed and may alter the outcome.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Harrisburg to raise revenue through inspection ordinance.

Harrisburg City council members press on in their attempts to pass Ordinances 13 and 14.

On September 7, 2010, Council member Brad Koplinski and codes officer David Patton spoke at the Boys and Girls club on Berryhill avenue in support of the ordinances. They estimate that the City will raise roughly $200,000.00 per year from enforcement of these ordinances and the resulting inspection fees.

Koplinski and Patton admitted that the prior inspection ordinance was not enforced.

On September 1, Councilman Koplinski stated that the ordinances would raise "upwards of $100,000" for the City.

Meanwhile, Pennsylvania's Governor has pledged 4.3 million dollars to help the City meet payroll and other obligations.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Franklin County Landlords Association

A new landlord's group has begun operation in Franklin and Fulton Counties this year. The Franklin County Landlords Association meets monthly and provides all of the benefits of PROA affiliation.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Harrisburg rental inspection ordinance revisions; residency requirement; Ordinances ## 13 and 14 of 2010.

The City of Harrisburg is proposing to revise its rental inspection ordinance. This is the same ordinance that was passed in 1996. The proposed revision is the same ordinance that denounced the quality of rental properties within the City, despite 15 years of City inspections.

The new revisions will impose residency requirements on investors or require investors to hire resident property managers.

City officials will hear public comment on September 7, 2010 at 6:00 P.M. at the Harrisburg Boys & Girls Club, 1227 Berryhill Street.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Mortgage fraud indictments in Pittsburgh; S & P Mortgage

For those who might be tempted to inflate their income or asset numbers in order to obtain a residential mortgage, the following story is a reminder of how bad an idea it is to engage in such deception:
James C. Platts, a one-time Pine home developer currently living at a federal halfway house after a 30-month prison term for tax evasion, and Deean Haggerty, a former broker with S&P Mortgage of Warrendale, were accused of arranging fraudulent mortgages for unqualified buyers.

Apparently an attorney was involved also, but was not named in the indictment.

The fraudulent activity involved several individual lies:
The charges match a pattern described three years ago when Mr. Platts and his associates were first mentioned in the Post-Gazette. He would locate properties in or close to mortgage default, arrange a buyer who often earned little or sometimes no money, then, using Mr. Haggerty's office, submitted inflated or occasionally fictitious income statements. In several instances, he deposited money into a prospective homebuyer's bank account, as he did in the West View home sale to produce the illusion the person had savings. In some instances, according to the indictment, he would generate fraudulent documents showing the purchaser had been paying rent for several years. He is accused of doing just that in the case of 101 Governor Drive, one of the three properties named in the indictment.

The indictment involved only three properties, thus proving that no fraudulent scheme is too small to result in charges. No one is immune, including the attorneys who conduct settlements for such schemes.