Rental Housing Task Force Update

Staff Report Shows Task Force Recommendations Easy to Implement


By Morellis

The Carlisle Borough staff prepared a report on implementing the Rental Housing Task Force recommendations. SoSo acquired the report through a Right To Know request.

Borough staff can implement the recommendations at little to no cost, the report said. So, there would appear to be little reason for the council to reject the recommendations. A council committee will be discussing implementation with staff at a meeting at 5:45 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 29.

The staff also commented on the rejected options. Although they agreed with the rejections, they also pointed out that the information gathered by the task force supported a rental registration and inspection system. The report said.

“Through the Task Force process, information was presented which supported the establishment of an inspection program.  The data studied through the task force process revealed that the incidence of code problems in Carlisle Borough are significantly higher with rental housing than with owner-occupied housing.  We heard from other communities of  the benefits associated with their rental housing inspection programs.  The data also showed that the majority of code issues found in rental housing units are the responsibility of the tenants and not the landlords.  So, this seems to address landlord fears that an inspection program would result in additional expense and inconvenience to them.  Finally, the data showed that 31% of the landlords in the Borough had code violations at one or more of their properties during a one year time period.  So, code problems do not seem to be confined to a small number of properties owned by a few problem landlords.”

The report also said that homeowners are paying higher taxes because of rental housing code enforcement:

“While we are sensitive to the impact of fees, the data reveal that we are currently subsidizing code enforcement activity with rental housing with general fund tax dollars.  In other words, because rental housing consumes the majority of our code enforcement resources, and because we are charging no fees, the proliferation of rental housing units in the Borough (approximately 50% of all units) is causing homeowners taxes to be higher.”

Read the report here.

Also interesting was an earlier report that was compiled for the council’s Sept. 8 regular meeting. The report also discussed staff implementation, but the council made no mention of it during discussion on the task force recommendations. That report is here.