New Ordinance Requirements Proposed in Williamsport

A new ordinance proposed in Williamsport, Pennsylvania may require landlords and tenants to register with the city. Through the proposed requirement, the city hopes to increase landlords' and tenants' compliance with other landlord-tenant and real estate laws. Some worry, however, that the new proposal may place overly burdensome restrictions on some groups and be a danger in other circumstances.

The Proposed Ordinance and Its Requirements

The proposed ordinance is very similar to one applied in Berwick, Pennsylvania. Under the ordinance, landlords would be required to notify the city of the number of tenants in their buildings and units as well as their names. Tenants would also be required to verify their identity with two different types of identification after moving.

There is still ongoing discussion as to whether the names on the list of tenants would be public or private information. Originally, it was decided that the information would be public, but that matter is being questioned in light of privacy concerns.

There is also debate on whether landlords would be required to pay a fee when registering their properties. Berwick has implemented this requirement, and Williamsport is looking further into the option.

Support and Objections to the Proposal

Strong support for the proposal comes from law enforcement agencies. They state that knowing how many people are in a building and requiring those people to bring forth identification can help them reduce crime in rental units, protect against overcrowding and determine how many occupants are in a building in case of an emergency or dangerous condition.

There is a concern with requiring two forms of identification, however. Poorer individuals often have a difficult time obtaining more than one type of verifiable identification, and this could lead to unfair housing restrictions. In addition, there are worries about making publicly available the names and addresses of individuals on tenant lists.

Representation in Landlord-Tenant and Commercial Real Estate Issues

The proposal for landlord and tenant identification is one of many issues that affect landlords and tenants in Pennsylvania. If you have questions about a landlord-tenant or commercial real estate issue, contact a knowledgeable Pennsylvania real estate attorney.