Proposed City Ordinance Aims to Hold Landlords Accountable

WILLIAMSPORT — City leaders in Williamsport have proposed a new ordinance that would hold landlords more accountable for tenants involved with drugs or crime.

There are nearly 5,000 rentals across the city of Williamsport and police say tenants account for the vast majority of their calls.

So city leaders want a new tool they believe can help head off that violence and crime. It’s called the Williamsport Rental Ordinance and would require landlords to register their properties and tenants.

“What we’re trying to do here is to try to make our city a much safer city,” said city council member Skip Smith.

The Public Safety Committee approved the proposed ordinance claiming similar laws are working well in cities including Wilkes-Barre.

The ordinance would also require landlords to take steps to fix a problem if police are called to one of their properties — and codes officials could even close a rental down.

Supporters of the proposed ordinance expect there will be criticism. But there are landlords who back the proposal.

“So we have to prevent it from happening, before it happens, once the bell is rung the property values go down. So what we got to do is stop it from happening in the beginning which this ordinance is going to help, I believe it is,” said property owner Mim Logue.

Doug and Debbie Pitt belong to a neighborhood watch group and believe the proposed rental ordinance is just a part of a bigger solution to Williamsport’s problems.

“We’re starting with the landlords and tenants, still have to address the neighborhoods as well,” said Doug Pitt.

The proposed rental ordiniance goes to city council for a first reading on October 10th, it will need a second reading before council may or may not approve it. Then, it can be implemented as early as next year.

3 comments

  • Ashley Dancho

    I think that’s stupid. A landlord shouldn’t be responsible for what the tenants do . Are they supposed to watch them all the time ? Put spy cameras in the house? This also makes it sound as if anyone who rents is likely to be a criminal or trash. Is this even legal? It sounds unconstitutional . Homeowners can be trash too. Don’t punish the landlords. If the tenants sell drugs or are involved in crimes evict them and don’t allow them to rent in the city again. They are responsible for their own lives. When they aren’t allowed to live
    there anymore maybe they will think twice about a life of crime.

  • John Scandel

    Ridiculous! How can 1 person be accountable for another. Another dumb regulation from our Govt to hurt small businesses. How about comparing the crime rate in Wilkes-Barre associated with section 8 housing? Or any other Federal/State assistance for that matter (Obama phones, food stamps, welfare cash, medicaid, etc etc etc!) Bet you will see a connection.

  • Keith Hinkel

    All these years for BillTown to act and they wait until we are in the deepest depression of all time when all of us are wondering where our next meal is coming from. IDIOTS!

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