A Kulpmont landlord's cost to rent properties under the borough's new fee set to take effect March 1 would be the area's second highest if considered over a five-year period.

The News-Item compared fees in seven municipalities using the example of a landlord purchasing five rental units in each town and having them occupied for all five years. (See accompanying chart, Page A6.)

Under the $120 per unit proposal in Kulpmont, the total would be $600 a year or $3,000 over five years.

Through 2013, Kulpmont was charging a $100 registration fee per landlord, no matter how many properties they

rented. With that, landlords paid $500 over five years.

Shamokin, Coal Township and Mount Carmel charge a $25 per rental unit fee yearly, putting their five-year costs at $625 each.

Extra costs, however, come from occupancy inspection fees, charged when a code enforcement officer inspects the property when a new tenant moves in. Kulpmont and Coal Township charge a $25 fee for each inspection. Mount Carmel charges $25 for each apartment and $40 for each house inspection.

While Shamokin doesn't currently have one, an occupancy inspection fee is in the works and could be in place in the early part of 2014, said code enforcement officer Rick Bozza.

Sunbury tops at $6,250

The only local municipality with fees higher than Kulpmont's proposal is Sunbury, which has an initial one-time fee of $1,000 per rental unit for all new landlords.

A new landlord, therefore, would pay $5,000 in year one to cover five rentals. He also pays $50 per year per rental, or another $250 in year one. He pays the same $250 per year over the next four years, but doesn't have to repay the $1,000. The five-year total equals $6,250.

Sunbury does not charge an occupancy inspection fee for new tenants, but has all properties on a three-year inspection cycle, said code officer Mike Rhoads.

"If we inspect a property and there are no problems, we won't come back for three years," he said. "If there are some issues, we will give them time to correct them and come back and inspect again, charging a $25 reinspection fee. If we have to keep coming back, the fee escalates until the matter is corrected."

While the $1,000 upfront fee per unit is steep, Rhoads said it serves its purpose.

"This helps us weed out the bad apples," he said.