|Whistlestop View Apartments on West High Street|
It's a great idea, and it's one that is working effectively, according to Denny Landvater, former borough police chief who now oversees the inspection program. He provided an overview to Borough Council. He said the borough started the inspection and licensing of rental units to improve the health of safety of people who live in the units -- and those who live around rental units.
The borough has 1,850 rental units, Landvater said. That represents 400 different owners, some of whom live right across the street from the borough office and some who live as far away as Japan. According to the U.S. Census, Elizabethtown has the highest number of units in the county outside of the city, which has 4,842 rental units. Lititz has 1,554, and Millersville has 1,041. To be fair, one probably ought to take into account the ZIP code, which gives Lititz the edge with 3,986 to E-town's 3,537.
Here in Elizabethtown, Landvater inspects each of the units, doing about 850 inspections a year. That means every apartment or house that is rented is inspected every 2 to 2.5 years. He goes into each inspection with a checklistof several dozen items that includes making sure all fixtures have hot and cold water, there's no mold in the bathroom and exterior doors have proper hardware and are lockable.
Units get a score of pass, pass with comments or fail. Depending on the severity of the issues, Landvater gives property owners 10, 30 or 90 days to fix and correct the problems. He said owners have been responsive when they have had comments or failed inspections.
Landvater emphasized that he can't say unequivocally that all rental units in the borough are fine because they're "constantly evolving."