Rental housing task force members to be announced

From the Sentinel:

Carlisle Borough Council is expected to name residents to a task force tonight that will study concerns and propose possible solutions to problems generated by rental properties.

In December, council members put a call out to residents who wished to serve on the task force.

The task force will be composed of homeowners, landlords, tenants and a representative from Dickinson College. It will report back to council in six months with a recommendation.

Representatives from council, borough staff and the police department will serve as liaisons.

“A total of 27 people contacted us to express an interest in serving on the task force,” said Borough Manager Steve Hietsch. “Sixteen of those individuals were landlords.”

However, only nine people are needed to serve on the task force.

Council President Sean Shultz said he wasn’t at all surprised by the high number of people who applied to serve.

“Also, I expected that numerous landlords would apply, because they have the most direct interest in the ordinance,” he said. “I was glad to see the large number of applications. Although it makes it harder, because it is difficult to turn interested citizens away, it is also heartening and satisfying to see their interest.”

Proposal

The task force is being formed in response to a borough neighborhood association – the SoSo (South of South) Neighborhood Association – that asked council to adopt an ordinance regulating rental housing units.

Under the proposed ordinance drafted by SoSo members, all residential rental units would have to be registered with the borough. Costs would range from $25 for a single or double unit at a property to $100 for multiple-unit properties. Registration would be valid until a property is sold.

Also, a property owner or a designated agent would have to live within 25 miles of the borough.

Each unit would have to be licensed at a cost of $15 to $25 per unit, depending on what kind it is. A license would only be issued if the unit passed an inspection with no codes violations.

Inspections would be conducted every three years, or sooner if a complaint is received. Re-inspections would occur sooner if a violation were detected, if the property

changed hands or if a new tenant moved in. Re-inspections due to codes violations would be paid by the property owner.

Public meetings

Once the task force starts holding meetings, they will be open to the public. Shultz said that though not all those who applied to be part of the task force will be on it, he hopes they will attend meetings to provide their input.

“I do hope that those who are not appointed will continue to participate in the process by providing written or public comment and suggestions at the meetings,” he said.

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