WILKES-BARRE — City officials have sent out a second wave of letters to landlords in an effort to update the number of rental properties and their inspection status.
The mass mailing of approximately 1,000 letters last week targeted people locally and in Pennsylvania, said City Administrator Ted Wampole.
The first wave of nearly 1,500 letters went to out-of-state landlords in late July. By mid-September, a total of approximately 6,400 will have been mailed.
City Hall wants to better quantify how many rental units there are, whether they are licensed and when they were last inspected.
An ordinance requires landlords to register their properties and the city depends upon the fees of $50 per building and $75 per inspection every time a new tenant moves into a rental unit for general fund revenue. But Wampole said those requirements have not been enforced well, and the letters are a pro-active step to tackle the issue and be fair to those landlords who comply with the ordinance and pay the fees.
The letter includes a rental license and application for return to the city’s Health Department/Rental Inspection Division.
“I think it’s been pretty good,” Wampole said of the response.
“Once the response has died down, we send the next batch out,” he added.
The letter directs landlords to contact the Health Department if the property was inspected within the past year, if it’s not a rental or if they are no longer the owner. Landlords who have not registered or had inspections are asked to return a completed application by Aug. 31 so that an inspection can be scheduled.
Henry Radulski, the city’s Director of Health, said the initial mailing drew more than 100 responses by phone, mail and in person.
“Of those just a little over 100, approximately 15 requested a rental inspection,” Radulski said. “Many of the other ones made us aware of the fact that it was owner occupied, they were living in there.”