Nov 10, 2007

BILL NO. 109-2007

An ordinance requiring the city inspection all residential properties sold in Allentown has started winding its way through city council. According to its sponsor, Julio Guridy on behalf of Mayor Pawlowski, its purpose is to protect new residents from deficient properties. I wonder who will protect properties and Allentown from new deficient residents, but I digress. The problem with this proposal is that there is absolutely no need for it and the timing couldn't be worse. The majority of mortgage companies require an inspection, and no less than 19 outfits advertise the service in the yellow pages. Almost all real estate agents recommend the service to buyers. The 83 year old widow who has lived her lifetime in a modest rowhouse with 60 amp. service and original windows will be forced to upgrade for a new owner,( or compensate new owner for upgrades) with no return on that expenditure. Let me clarify that all rental property, or property bought to rent, is already inspected under an existing ordinance. As the real estate market enters a down turn, Allentown finds another nuisance tax(inspection fee $200); never mind that the director of the dept. has not been replaced since his "departure" last spring, and his supervisor has not been replaced since her "departure" this summer.


Mr. Damien Brown said...

If an 83 year old widow is selling her house she has lived in for years it is reasonable to assume it is not a rental property, after all, she is SELLING it.

If a new owner wishes to turn it into a rental property it would not be subject to the inspection until after it is purchased and the owner decides to notify the city of his/her intension to rent it out (which they frequently don't do anyway).

If a rental property owner is forced to upgrade the property isn't the least burdonsome time to do at the time of the sale so the costs can be rolled into he cost of the sale and the financing.

More often than not investors will base their rental rates profit margins on the the initial loan and not much else. When it comes time to make required improvements everything is done to avoid them because their credit is maxed out.

I don't see the problem MM.

michael molovinsky said...

as you know most of the houses on your street have been sold by elderly widows to young couples, no landlords or rentals involved. i do not believe the city should get in between these transactions, which is precisely what this ordinance would do. you see it as a failsafe against the existing rental inspection law, i see as an intrusion on the property rights of the elderly. if there are shortfalls to the rental inspection law, let them improve that ordinance, not pass new ones.

Mr. Damien Brown said...


Did I misread your post or was it changed?

I see it states that " . . . all residential properties sold . . ." I had earlier read it as all rental properties sold.

If it was originally described as it is now it adds some validity to you "old widow example" but it is difficult to argue that the home inspections set up through the mortgage companies are often a joke. The only time they really hit a good number of points is when an FHA loan is involved and even those inspections don't require half the things city codes do.

I maintain that the point of sale is the most fair and reasonable time to see that things are up to par on any city property.

Like I stated before, the added costs can be rolled right into the loan. If someone can't afford the added cost of the repairs in the loan it is reasonable to assume they would not be able to afford to make the improvements at some point down the road.

You have frequently complained of the lack of fairness in the current "enforcement upon complaint" system. This seems like a fair approach, no?

michael molovinsky said...

damien, i did not change the post. the new bill no.109 refers to ALL Residential properties sold.(the rentals are already inspected under the rental law). its very unfair to the widows(and as you know from your street these widows are a significant portion of the sellers) the agents will come in tell the widow her house is worth 135k, list it for such, then the city will mandate repairs which will cost her $7,000 from the yellow pages(the elderly always seem to pay more). Pawlowski hopes his rubber stamps pass this with no fanfare, because this could get the publics' "dutch" up.