HAGERSTOWN -- Some Hagerstown landlords could find themselves paying thousands of dollars if they're ordered to raise the ceiling height of their rental properties to satisfy a city code, the president of a local group representing landlords said Wednesday.
Allan Johnson, president of the Landlords and Property Owners Association of Washington County Maryland Inc., said that the city's recent decision to enforce a code that requires ceilings to be at least 7 feet high would leave some landlords with a tough decision: Either pay thousands of dollars for renovations, or "not utilize" their buildings.
Many of the buildings were constructed in the 1920s and 1930s and have ceilings that are lower than 6 feet high, Johnson said. The height of ceilings in rental properties had not been an issue for 50 years, he said, so "Why change it now?" he asked.
"I know they have to draw the line somewhere, but you have to be practical," Johnson said. "I understand the safety issues ... I don't think a couple of inches would make any difference."