Landlords Tasked With Policing Drug Dealers

Officials in Sunbury, Pennsylvania are moving forward a new “landlord ordinance” designed to cut down on the number of drug dealers in the city.

The push comes after 100 people throughout the county were arrested for drugs in a month’s time, according to a local news report.

The city’s mayor has said that he wants to post signs on the front doors of those convicted of multiple drug offenses.

Sunbury officials appear to be modeling the ordinance after a similar bill passed in Berwick.  That law, which is being contested by the local landlord association,  is much broader, and holds landlords accountable for evicting those arrested for crimes, subject to fines and restrictions to their rental permits.

Sunbury landlords are not pleased with the prospect of policing drug dealers on behalf of the city.  They are expressing concern about the final language of the landlord ordinance, which may:

Regulate the method of background checks;
Prohibit landlords from renting to those on the drug watch list; and,
Make evictions mandatory in the case of drug offenses.

These landlords are concerned that they will be the ones penalized if they pick the wrong tenant, and may have to prove the drug charges in order to evict tenants who have not yet been convicted.

Officials are considering posting the names of drug offenders — a “no-rent” list, which they say will make the landlords’ task easier.

Another public hearing on the measure is scheduled for June 25.

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