Apollo proposes wide-ranging ordinance on rental properties
Apollo Council is proposing a property rental ordinance that would hold landlords and renters in the borough more accountable for the upkeep of their properties.
Council is holding a public hearing Thursday to discuss the proposal, which calls for annual licensing, stricter code enforcement and additional maintenance responsibilities for renters and owners.
The hearing, Councilwoman Cheryl Swank said, allows residents to weigh in before council votes to finalize the ordinance next month.
If it does, it will be the first rental ordinance put in place since 1991, she said.
“We have a situation in this town where more than 50 percent of the homes are rented,” Swank said, “so we clearly have a business here, but it's gotten out of control. This is a step in the right direction to make sure our properties are properly maintained.”
The borough's current ordinance only requires landlords to have their properties inspected before a unit is occupied.
Under the proposed ordinance, landlords would be required to renew the licenses for each of their rental properties annually at a cost of $50.
In addition, landlords would need to seek a rental occupancy permit every time a new tenant moves into their units.
That permit would come with a $45 fee. It would only be granted after the borough's rental inspection officer approves the unit and the landlord submits to the borough the names, addresses and occupations of the new tenants.
“This gives the borough more control over the state of our rental units and who is living in them,” Swank said. “We want renters to be more responsible. And right now, there's nothing in place to make them want to follow the law.”
For each day that landlords rent their units without the proper licensing, they'll be fined $500.
The borough also would impose a $100 fine on landlords for their first offense against the ordinance. That, too, would be issued every day that the owner fails to bring the property into compliance.
The borough would follow the same procedure for the second offense, but with a $500 fine. The third offense also would carry a $500 daily fine and revocation of the owner's rental license for at least six weeks.
Swank said the borough will funnel all of its revenue from the fees and fines into its general fund for varied purposes.
“There's a lot that needs to be done,” Swank said. “We're working to build up our police department and there are a lot of streets that need to be fixed. (The money) would benefit the people of the town.”
The proposed ordinance also states that every property owner who doesn't live in or within 15 miles of the borough must hire someone who does to oversee the property.
Renters and owners would be responsible for maintaining the premises to comply with borough codes.
Renters would be barred from engaging in violent behavior, making unreasonable noise and creating “a hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act which serves no legitimate purpose.”
Councilman Mark Greenawalt believes the ordinance will boost Apollo property values.
“It's going to make things safer and a lot better to look at,” he said. “It's a step forward to making Apollo a better place to live.”
Other board members could not be reached for comment.
Braden Ashe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Apollo hires 3 part-time officers
- 2nd Cheswick Council seat opens
- Early morning fire destroys East Deer home
- Winfield awards contact to replace Keasey Road
- Free lunch for Highlands, New Ken schools eliminates stigma
- Roaring Run Watershed Association pays fitting tribute to late naturalist Rau
- South Buffalo planning commission signs off on revised gas compressor plan
- Parks woman accused of burglarizing house
- New-Ken Arnold will have new-look school security
- Teachers, support personnel negotiate in 6 Alle-Kiski Valley school districts
- Restaurant owner submits lone, winning bid for Tarentum Station