In Carlisle on July 18, 2011, the Carlisle Task Force on Rental Housing convened a panel discussion on proposed rental housing legislation. The Task Force invited panelists to address questions related to the operation of rental inspection ordinances in various parts of Pennsylvania. The panel consisted of myself (speaking on behalf of landlords), a representative of PAR and representatives of numerous municipalities, including Lancaster, West Chester, Bellefonte, Gettysburg, Shippensburg and Chambersburg.
The general purpose of the meeting seemed to be for the municipal representatives to explain how well their inspection ordinances worked for those municipalities. Despite their conclusions, they provided very few specifics regarding why an inspection ordinance is needed to address particular problems. The representative from Bellefonte stated that 95% of problems with rental properties related to the exterior of the buildings, thus indicating that 95% of problems can be observed and addressed without an inspection ordinance. Similar conclusions can be drawn from their conclusions and comments regarding police activity at rental units.
Lancaster's representative acknowledged that Lancaster's inspection program is partially funded by grants from the federal government.
The West Chester representative acknowledged the prior litigation whereby the Chester County Court forced the borough to refund more than one million dollars in inspection fees to the landlords several years ago.
The Task Force is set to vote on its recommendations at its August meeting.