In 2018 renters were the majority population in Lancaster City, 13,283 homes in our community were occupied by renters. And, the current ordinance in place imposing duties upon both landlords and tenants with respect to such properties was last updated in 2009.
Currently, the requirements of a landlord to support a tenant’s quality of housing is limited. Compliance with the ordinance to become a landlord is trivial- a $50 application fee for single/double units, one inspection and for landlords to provide each tenant with a copy of the ordinance.
Landlord-tenant relationships are more than just transactional-becoming a good landlord requires the acknowledgement that someone has entrusted you with their livelihood.
Lancaster City must re-examine and update their current rental housing ordinance to ensure equity in a landlord-tenant relationship by expanding the requirements needed to attain rental licensure.
Tenants deserve to be educated by their landlords on not only their responsibilities as tenants, but their rights. Complimentary to that, landlords should also be supported in obtaining education that would enable them to understand fully the role, responsibilities and impact of being a landlord.
By establishing equity in landlord-tenant relationships, we ensure that landlords are supported in their initiative to address our city’s housing needs but guarantee that the livelihood of tenants is of primary importance.
Our nation currently finds itself in an Affordable-Housing crisis, 37% of head of households rented their homes in 2018. In Lancaster City, 58% of all of our housing units were occupied by renters.
Given our rich history here in Lancaster, PA we must recognize that our home’s were generally built in the 1930’s, or before. Owners of these older homes have experiences that are somewhat unique to our community and must be evaluated as so.
Our city’s affordable-housing crisis must be addressed through creative solutions. We must empower and support our residents in transitioning from renting to homeownership; and we must address the unique needs of homeowners in our community as they maintain their homes and the historical value of our city. Ordinances, fees and regulations that impact how we maintain our homes must be evaluated to reduce red tape.
Lancaster City has the responsibility of ensuring equity in homeownership within our city. The city can support equity by increasing the social capital of all residents through an emphasis on strong neighborhoods, education and other strategies, such as a security deposit assistance program. The opportuntiies available for affordable housing development must be made a priority by the city.