by HOME NEWS STAFF
On Wednesday, Jan. 8, Council met to discuss the Rental Inspection and Registry Ordinance. Shannon Callouri from CodeMaster Inspection Services was present to field questions from Council. She has been donating time to aid in the drafting of an ordinance that incorporates items compiled by the joint resident-landlord-Council committee. Ms. Callouri noted that there are approximately 475 rentals on the books in the Borough now, but more may be found upon implementing the ordinance.
Councilman Frank Hesch asked questions on how the ordinance would assist both landlords and tenants. He also questioned how the procedure would be laid out for the office. Council expressed concerns over how to classify properties that may do weekly or monthly rentals such as Airbnb’s or hotels. Manager Flynn noted that this would not require additional staffing, but would require the part-time office secretary become full-time. Additional time from code enforcement for inspections would be covered by the rental license fees.
There was some discussion on how neighbors may make complaints regarding rental properties or the tenants. Complaints would need to be filed with the office and addressed accordingly by code enforcement as it is currently done.
Council President Mark Saginario questioned how reports would be completed. Manager Flynn explained that the office has already been transitioning to new software to track permits. This same system would track rentals and inspections. Property owner Joseph Tavianini remarked that all properties should be inspected and not solely rentals. It was noted that the committee did discuss adding provisions for resale inspections, which would apply to all other properties. Mayor Mirabito expressed her support for implementing a resale inspection in conjunction with the rental inspections. All other residents in attendance echoed their support of a rental inspection ordinance. One resident who rents commented that the recent fire on Northampton Street was eye-opening; she realized that her landlord does not supply or install smoke alarms or fire extinguishers. Ms. Callouri will adjust the draft per Council’s concerns and will supply another draft at the March bi-monthly meeting.