Landlords Sue City Over Rental Fees

Landlords in Hazleton, Pennsylvania this week made good on a promise to file a lawsuit in protest of the city’s newest rental registration program.

According to a news report, the Hazleton Area Landlords Organization filed the suit asking for an injunction prohibiting the enforcement of the comprehensive measure which would require frequent inspections and an annual licensing fee. The program could cost individual landlords hundreds of dollars a year.

While the city maintains that the measure was designed to improve health and safety, and to battle neighborhood blight, landlords are saying it is nothing more than a scheme to tax landlords and generate income for the city, according to the report. Opponents say the fee structure bears no reasonable relationship to the actual costs of administering the program.

Hazleton landlords recently have been subject to other controversial rentals laws, including a measure that would have made them responsible for verifying the immigration status of tenants. That law was later declared unconstitutional.

According to the report, landlords have offered to lend their expertise to assist in developing a more realistic plan to improve blighted neighborhoods.

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