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Proposal to inspect rental housing revived in Waynesboro

April 29, 2012|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — Years after it was first proposed, a rental inspection program could be coming to the Borough of Waynesboro.

The program would provide for routine inspections of the municipality’s more than 2,000 rental units.

“It’d be more of a systematic way of getting into properties,” said Dan Sheffler, the borough’s code enforcement officer.

All units would need to have plumbing, electrical, heating and other systems that meet the International Property Maintenance Code of 2012.

Because of existing local laws, Sheffler said he cannot inspect a unit without being invited in by the landlord or tenant.

The Waynesboro Borough Council is expected to discuss and possibly approve the rental-inspection program over the summer.

“The committee needs to review it another time and produce a final draft for it to come to council,” Council President Jason Stains said.

Sheffler said he has gotten little public feedback about the initiative since it was first discussed in late 2007. Several property owners served on a committee that developed a draft of the new ordinance.

One provision allows for better-maintained properties to be inspected less frequently than the ones of worse quality, Sheffler said. The frequency of inspection would range from every year to every five years, he said.

The things being inspected affect residents’ lives and safety, Sheffler said.

A failed inspection would first result in a warning to get into compliance within a specified time frame. Failure to meet that goal could result in a landlord not being licensed to have tenants at the property.

If the ordinance is passed, a prospective tenant could ask a landlord to see his or her license, or check with the borough to ensure the landlord is compliant, Sheffler said.

Landlords will be required to pay for the cost of inspection. No costs or fees have been finalized at this point.

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