Residential rental properties in Sellersville will be subject to routine inspections by the borough starting in 2020 under a new ordinance borough council voted to adopt at its Monday meeting (Aug. 12).
Under the ordinance, the borough is empowered to perform periodic inspections of rental properties.
Inspections, which an outside company would perform on behalf of Sellersville, would occur at a minimum of once every three years. Significantly, owners will have to obtain rental unit licenses from the borough in order to have occupants. The licenses will only be issued to those passing the rental inspections.
“Additionally, owners who live farther than 30 miles away must retain a property manager who is within the 30-mile distance,” said Borough Manager David Rivet.
The ordinance requires owners to ensure only one family resides in each residential unit.
“A group of six or more persons who are not within the second degree of kinship shall not be deemed to constitute a family,” the ordinance says.
The ordinance also enacts a number of other responsibilities on owners and tenants. For example, owners must keep their premises in good safe, condition; comply with all applicable codes; and be current on payment of things like real estate taxes, water/sewer fees, and trash fees.
Meanwhile, tenants are prohibited from allowing people other than those identified on the lease from residing in their unit. Tenants are also obligated to “conduct themselves in a manner that will not disturb the peaceful enjoyment of the premises by others and that will not disturb the peaceful enjoyment of occupants of adjacent or nearby dwellings,” the ordinance states.
Violating the ordinance’s rules can result in fines of up to $1,000, plus court costs and attorney fees incurred by Sellersville. Violations can also be punished by up to 90 days in jail.
The purpose of the regulations is to “protect and promote the public health, safety and welfare” of Sellersville and its residents, the ordinance states.
“The rental property inspection ordinance was prompted by discussion from the borough’s Revitalization Committee, which believed that certain landlords were not properly caring for their rental properties,” Rivet said.