Pa. landlord association opposes accountability bill

A bill aimed at addressing nuisance properties and ensuring accountability on the part of Pennsylvania landlords was introduced last week in the state House.

Philadelphia Democratic Rep. Kevin Boyle said the legislation would specifically address the issue in his home city, where landlords continually trump the system by disregarding fines and correspondence from the city.

The proposal would apply statewide.

House Bill 2555 would call on municipalities to enact landlord registration requirements and establish a registration fee.

The proposal would cap the fee at $125 per property and oblige the municipality to retain 80 percent of the fees collected for code enforcement and to remit 20 percent to the state to be deposited in a Treasury Department fund for development and maintenance.

Commercial properties would be capped at $500, according to the bill.

The proposal also would create a code enforcement grant program under the Department of Community and Economic Development.

The Pennsylvania Residential Owners Association, an advocacy group for landlords and property management companies, opposes the bill.

“This is another attempt to make the irresponsible responsible and to burden those who are responsible,” said Rita Dallago, the association’s executive director. “This will mean more dollars for their coffers. We do not see it as a means to the end that they are looking for.”

Currently in Harrisburg, as in many other municipalities, landlords register their properties for inspection, she said. They pay a fee for such a service.

“This is a double fee,” Dallago said. “The municipalities claim that they have difficulty finding the landlords. We find this to be a stretch. With today’s access to information, everyone can be found.”

HB 2555 has been referred to the House Urban Affairs Committee.

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