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New Rental Ordinance Raises Concerns

BLOOMSBURG — If you rent in Bloomsburg, the town may soon be getting more of your information.

“I think we have a right to our own information, but for safety reasons people should know if there are bad people in the neighborhood,” said Brittany Reese, a tenant who lives in Bloomsburg.

A new ordinance for non-student rentals in Bloomsburg goes starts April 1.

A town councilman said the ordinance is for safety reasons and would included scheduled code inspections.

Some landlords agree with the safety issues, but not much else.

“We want our buildings to be safe, but it seems to have gone beyond that,” said Vince DeMelfi, a landlord and the president of the Landlord Association.

The ordinance would require landlords to pay license and inspection fees.

Building owners will also need to prove the tenants are not students.

The landlords believe the easiest way is to hand over tenant’s names, but some think that’s an invasion of privacy.

“It’s almost like them going into any of the shop owners in town and say we want the names of all your customers in the last day or week. I don’t think that’s the government’s business,” said DeMelfi

“It’s just not a legitimate argument because we as residents are required to inform the government of our residency all the time,” said Bill Kreisher, a Bloomsburg town councilman.

When it comes to student housing in Bloomsburg there’s been an ordinance in place for a decade that requires health and safety checks every single year, but the new ordinance for non-student housing would need to be checked out once every three years.

Kreisher said it won’t be that difficult for landlords to hand over the tenant information, “They have the information and it’s already available to them to furnish to us without us having to track them down at their addresses.”

Building owners plan to comply, for the most part.

“The consensus of the group was that we’re going to apply for the licensing, but we’re leaving that information blank, the tenant information. We don’t know where it’s going to go from there,” said DeMelfi.

The landlords will have the next three years to get each unit inspected.

There is no word on what will happen if they don’t release tenant information.


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