The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

December 11, 2013

Landlords weigh in on proposal

SHARPSVILLE — Some landlords aren’t happy about a proposed revision of the rental inspection ordinance. But most of the eight who talked it over Monday with Sharpsville council said they can live with the plan to tighten building safety procedures in the borough.

Several in the group said, however, that landlords who maintain rentals properly shouldn’t be overregulated because of problems caused by other landlords who don’t.

Under the borough’s ordinance, landlords are required to have rentals checked by a state-certified inspector when tenants change or once every three years. It allows them to use the inspector designated by the borough or their own, Borough Manager Ken Robertson said.

There are about 70 landlords registered to do business in Sharpsville, he said.

Jeff Richardson, of Richardson Inspections, Volant, charges $45 for the inspections paid for by the building owners.

Until this year, council allowed landlords to do their own inspections and avoid the inspection fee although that isn’t in the ordinance. Under that arrangement, they paid the borough $3 for a permit.

“Some on council thought self-inspection wasn’t working, so earlier this year, we went back to what the ordinance says, requiring a state-certified inspector,” Robertson said.

Landlords complained about that because of the fee, and some on council thought the borough should charge a higher permit fee, Robertson said, so a public safety committee made up of council members Tom Patton, Chris Combine and Jack Cardwell came up with another approach.

Units being rented for the first time would have to be checked by a certified inspector. For other units, landlords could pay an inspector for the work or do their own inspections if they followed a checklist based on state and borough codes that govern building safety. They would pay the borough $10 a unit to do their own inspection.

Landlords would have to certify to both the borough and the tenant that the unit met safety standards, including such things as having a properly working smoke detector, safe “ground fault interrupter” electrical outlets, and handrails, doors and windows in good working order.

They and tenants would sign a form kept by the borough to certify a proper inspection had been done and that tenants knew how to report code violations.

Worry that self-inspections would be discontinued wasn’t the only complaint about the planned revision.

Requiring inspections after every change in tenants was unnecessarily costly and burdensome, Mike Wilson said. He suggested that every three years should be enough.

“Why not concentrate on the landlords who don’t maintain their properties like most of us do,” Ray Andel asked. The owner of 23 rental units said the borough could “create a top 10 list of landlords – or owner-occupants, for that matter – who don’t maintain their properties and hammer them. That’s the way to raise the safety bar.”

Robertson said the revision will be advertised in The Herald when it’s finished and that the ordinance wouldn’t be ready for a vote until early next year.

Text Only
Local News
  • Community thanks its first-responders

    Sharpsville honored its emergency responders Sunday at an event that included Mertz Towers residents as special guests.

    July 28, 2014

  • Drilling boom challenges state inspectors

    The state’s 83 well inspectors face a daunting enough challenge keeping tabs on 120,000 active oil and gas wells that have been drilled over the last century.

    July 28, 2014

  • Kidds Mill Covered Bridge A span of time

    Four generations of the Cadman family have enjoyed the Kidds Mill Covered Bridge, which is in Pymatuning Township near where the family’s ancestral farm is located.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • Intruder hurts woman, takes $5

    A home invasion in Hermitage Friday night sent an elderly woman to the hospital and netted the robber $5.

    July 27, 2014

  • national night out March against crime set for Aug. 5

    At the last Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Commission meeting, Chief Riley Smoot Jr. presented the number of incidents for each of the four communities in May.

    Farrell topped out at 819.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • high street trail Peaceful pathways

    History buffs and picnickers in the Shenango Valley won’t have to drive to Sharpsville to hang out at the old Erie Canal extension lock. They’ll soon have the option to walk or roll in on bicycles and even powered chairs to visit Canal Park near the outflow of Shenango Dam.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • balloonquest1 Balloon Quest celebrates 25 years

    Today is the final day of the 25th annual Western Pennsylvania Balloon Quest at Scotland Meadows Park.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • News briefs from July 26, 2014

    Man faces bomb threat charges

    June building tops $4 million in Hermitage

    July 26, 2014

  • Elderly man survives plane crash

    An elderly man survived wrecking his plane into a bank, then landing into a wetland, about 200 feet south of Runway 28 at Grove City Regional Airport in Springfield Township on Friday.

    July 26, 2014

  • Dontae Rashad Pinkins Man arrested for April gunfight

    Federal marshals and local police arrested Dontae Rashad Pinkins Thursday on a warrant accusing him of involvement in an April gunfight with another man in a Sharon alley.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hearing changed in starving case

    The time and place for the preliminary hearing of a Greenville mom accused of starving and beating her 7-year-old young son has been changed.

    July 26, 2014

  • Schell working on mural Drawn to Mexico

    Jason Schell probably is not exaggerating when he says that millions of people have seen his art.

    July 26, 2014 4 Photos

  • Farrell man, 24, arrested on warrant in connection with April shooting

    Federal marshals and local police arrested Dontae Rashad Pinkins Thursday on a warrant accusing him of involvement in an April shootout in Sharon.

    Pinkins, 24, of Farrell, is in Mercer County Jail after failing to post bond on gun charges.

    Additional details to follow.

    July 25, 2014

  • Firm will study timing of traffic signals

    Hermitage commissioners on Wednesday hired Whitman, Requardt and Associates LLP to study the timing scheme of traffic signals along parts of Hermitage Road and East State Street.

    July 25, 2014

  • 3 area fire depts. awarded grants

    Three area fire departments will share in more than $590,000 in grants meant to help Pennsylvania’s rural communities guard against the threat of fires in forests and other undeveloped areas, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Ellen Ferretti announced.

    July 25, 2014