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Council asked to adopt landlord ordinance

Published October 11. 2011 05:01PM

A Summit Hill woman pleaded with Summit Hill Borough Council last night to expedite adoption of a landlord-tenant ordinance.

She said a neighboring house was purchased by a New York man who turned it into a rental property.

"It's a nightmare," she said.

She said the lawn was cut just once or twice all summer, the dogs bark constantly, the TV is played so loud she can't hear her own, there are basement sewage problems, and they place their garbage bags with hers.

On a related note, the borough's solicitor, attorney Joseph Matika, presented a proposed landlord-tenant ordinance to the council for review with possible adoption within the next few months.

The woman, Gina Robertshaw of East White Street, stated to the council, "Is an ordinance really necessary? Please. Yes it is necessary."

She said the previous owner of the house, who owned it for decades, took great care of the property. He ran a sump pump in the basement during even minor storms to make sure back-up sewage or seeping rain water didn't lay in the basement.

"I need help with protecting my property," she told the council.

Chief of Police Joseph Fittos urged her to contact the police department when the dogs bark incessantly or when the noise becomes too loud.

"We can't help you if you don't call us," Fittos said.

The police chief said citations could be issued for such infractions.

The woman said she did call the police one time because of the barking dog. Fittos said that police responded, but the dog quit barking by the time they arrived.

Attorney Matika said the proposed landlord-tenant ordinance would be similar to what previously existed before the council had rescinded it a few years ago.

One of the changes he added is a "three strikes provision," which means anyone in a rented dwelling would have to be evicted by the landlord if three arrests and subsequent convictions occur for crimes code or drug act violations.

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