Attorney Krista Kochosky Shares Details About a New Pittsburgh Residential Rental Ordinance
What Landlords Need to Know
Pittsburgh’s City Council recently made waves in the rental community by unanimously passing a new ordinance affecting all residential rentals within the city, both long-term and short-term. This comes despite the reversal of a similar rental registry program in 2015. Here’s a breakdown of what landlords should be aware of:
Background of the Ordinance
A similar rental registry program was enacted in 2015. However, it faced legal challenges and was reversed by the Commonwealth Court. The matter, *Landlord Serv. Bureau v. City of Pittsburgh, 2023 Pa. LEXIS 1180, 1 (Sept. 1, 2023), is currently under review by the PA Supreme Court. Should they decide to reverse, the more stringent ordinance rules would exist requiring a landlord training academy and inspection without consent.
Rental Permit Requirement
Every landlord or their designated agent must secure a rental permit with the City’s Department of PLI (Permits, Licensing, and Inspections). Without this permit, landlords cannot legally collect rent.
All rental properties must undergo inspections. For existing rental units as of the ordinance’s effective date, a provisional permit will be issued once the License Officer deems the unit compliant with regulations and the permit registration fee has been settled. Subsequent inspections will be required every three years, excluding lead inspections. A Certificate of Occupancy is necessary unless the structure is exempt under Titles 9 and 10 of the Pittsburgh City Code.
Landlords must renew their permits annually or within 60 days following any real estate title transfer.
Contact Person Registration
Landlords must register a contact person with the city. However, in a change from previous rules, this contact information will not be public.
Notably, the new legislation has eased certain mandates. Landlords no longer have to attend a training academy, and the city no longer has the right to conduct inspections without consent. However, if access is denied for an inspection, the License Officer can obtain an administrative warrant per Section 104.3 of the International Property Maintenance Code.
Implementation & Potential Legal Challenges
The Department of Permits, Licensing, and Inspections is tasked with crafting appropriate regulations to put this ordinance into action. The ordinance becomes effective once these regulations are posted. Given its nature, legal experts anticipate potential lawsuits challenging its enforcement. If this occurs, a similar enforcement injunction might be imposed until the challenge is settled.
Violations carry a summary offense penalty, and landlords could face fines of up to $500 per violation.
Rights to Appeal
If aggrieved by any License Officer action, individuals have the right to appeal as per Section 701.15 of this Title. This penalty provision doesn’t restrict the rights of the City, tenants, or any other legally standing individuals to seek lawful actions or remedies available to them.
The new ordinance represents a significant shift in Pittsburgh’s rental landscape. Landlords should be proactive in familiarizing themselves with the changes to ensure compliance and avoid potential legal complications. If you’d like to learn more about the new residential rental ordinances, contact Krista Kochosky at email@example.com or by calling 724-776-8000