News & Resources

Reading landlords band together with screening website

Nov 21, 2011 Matt Roesly

Reading, Pennsylvania, is cracking down on how its properties are handled by enacting a housing strategy that emphasizes code enforcement and block-by-block inspections of rental units, the Reading Eagle reports. City Council voted 6-0 this week to approve the strategy, which has been under development since last September. "The key is having a strategy that's executable," councilman Jeffrey S. Waltman Sr. told the news source, referring to several other plans that went by the wayside. "My biggest concern is execution." The document also discourages large-scale demolition and urges the city to reverse the "growing shift" toward rentals, which now occupy 55 percent of all housing units. According to mayor Tom McMahon, rental properties tend to have less-desirable tenants. Furthermore, the document states that because Reading lacked a laid-out strategy, absentee real estate investors and negligent property owners have been able to bypass housing code enforcement in the past, the news source notes in a separate article. However, city landlords have responded with the creation of a tenant background screening website that allows property owners to report on what prospective tenants did at their previous place of residence, as well as their rent tendencies and whether any vandalizing occurred.