Inspections/Registration

Scranton, Pa., Rental Registration Program Begins
A stricter rental registration program took effect in Scranton, Pa., in early September. Prior to the law's enactment, the city required landlords to register their units and pay a per-unit fee that declined on a sliding scale based on the total number of units owned. According to city officials, that program was not strictly enforced due to a lack of manpower.

Under the new program, landlords are required to annually register rental units and pay an across-the-board $15 fee per unit. In addition, the program requires a $50 permit fee per site and the imposition of fines for violations of maintaining property or receiving police complaints. Landlords will also be required to carry at least $50,000 in fire insurance and must designate an agent to receive notices and/or violations from the city.

City officials said they hope the new program will be better enforced than the previous one. Mark Seitzinger, director of Scranton's Department of Licensing, Inspections and Permits said, "The biggest thing is enforcement. It might bring to light some rental properties never known as real rental properties."

The program was delayed due to a staffing issue. The legislation called for a "rental registration coordinator," which would have made it a professional services position, but the budget listed the position as a "rental registration assistant," which is a union position. The position is now a rental registration assistant. (The Scranton Times-Tribune)