Shamokin code officer: Register rentals or face fines
SHAMOKIN - The city code officer says beginning Monday he will file citations against landlords who fail to register residential rental properties.
There were 131 registrations filed by Wednesday afternoon, generating $9,250 in revenue for the city. Rick Bozza, code officer, noted 209 registrations were made in 2012, and those who fail to register by week's end can expect legal action.
"I'll look over the list and be consistent," Bozza said of reviewing last year's registrations. "Everybody who didn't pay or called and said they were paying are going to get cited Monday morning."
Few exceptions were made for out-of-area landlords who vowed to pay in person. If they don't honor their word to pay by a certain date, they'll also be cited, he said.
Bozza said he was happy with the start to 2013 and credited the landlords who met, or nearly met, the Feb. 15 deadline. He noted that letters to previously registered landlords informing them of the deadline were mailed six weeks back.
Upward of 20 citations were filed last year for violations of the ordinance, he said. Several times when the matter reached district court, a deal was made with the violators to simply pay the $25 registration and avoid legal action.
"This year we're not withdrawing any" citations, Bozza said.
Ordinance adopted midway through 2011 requires all landlords to purchase a $25 annual license for each rental unit and inform the city of who is living in each unit. If occupancy should change at any time, that change must also be noted for city records but does not require additional fee within the calendar year.
A license does not have to be purchased for unoccupied units.
Penalty is a fine of $100 to $500 dollars, and there are avenues for violations to be upgraded to misdemeanors.
The ordinance generated $18,975 revenue in 2012, greatly exceeding expectations. Outside of the monetary benefit, the record-keeping of tenant occupancy assists in emergencies and criminal investigations and can also add people to the tax rolls.