[Hpn] Fw: Landlord Accountability

I CAN! icanamerica@email.msn.com
Wed, 26 Apr 2000 06:23:47 -0500

A discussion from another ListServ

Subject: Landlord Accountability

> In Cincinnati, we have a very low homeownership rate, 35%.  This causes
> challenges for neighborhood groups trying to bring a sense of stability
> and community to the neighborhood.  Recently, there has been a rash of
> purchases from single family owners by landlords who then turn these
> houses into rental units.  Home ownership, while identified as a
> priority by the city, receives little investment.
> My question is this....Is anyone familiar with municipalities who have
> "Landlord Accountability" measures?  That is, are you seeking active
> involvement of landlords with the community in which they own property?
> Beyond building codes, are there residency restrictions or public
> accountability programs that require landlords to recognize and be held
> responsible for the impact they have upon a neighborhood?
> Obviously, there are many good landlords in this city.  However, we are
> trying to address those who do not see, nor care about, the impact their
> "investments" have upon the health and vitality of a neighborhood.
> --
> Steve Driehaus
> Community Building Institute
> 3800 Victory Parkway
> Cincinnati, OH  45207-5621
> Phone: (513) 745-3329
> Fax:  (513) 745-2807
The citizens of Allentown, PA, have voted into legislation a Residential
Rental Licensing Bill that contains both landlord property and tenant
behavior accountability.  The legislation was challenged in court, appealed
to a higher court, and the appeal was denied.  Here is the basics of the

A landlord is granted a certificate of occupancy to rent his/her property,
providing said property is not in code violation. Every five years, the city
is required to do a physical code inspection.  If the property is not up to
code, the landlord has thirty days for repairs or the certificate of
occupancy is revoked until code is satisfied.

Properties can be inspected more than every five years if there are visible
code violations or complaints registered by tenants.  Thereafter, the five
year mandatory inspection is effective after the latest inspection date.

The Bill also includes a three strikes and your out disruptive tenant
clause. If the police cite a tenant three times for disruptive conduct
within a period of one year, that tenant must vacate their residence.  The
tenant's constitutional rights still prevail and they have the right to
appeal any judgement rendered.

The Residential Rental Licensing Bill is a true grassroots citizens
initiative.  City council was divided in making the Bill law.  The citizens
of Allentown bypassed council and introduced the Bill as a ballot question
in the May 99 Primary election.  84% of the voters resoundingly approved the
Bill.  As of January 1, 2000, the Residential Rental Licensing Bill is law
in Allentown.

It's still too early to tell what the overall effects will be for our city.
Currently , there are several disruptive tenants who have three citations
each.  All but one has appealed.  And the landlords are not exactly
cooperating with scheduled code  inspections.  Too often there are
postponements or no shows.  As you can imagine, administratively this is a
burden.  Once we all learn how to work in this new system, we believe the
system will work for us.

I hope this information helps and adds food for thought.



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