Court’s decision boosting city rental ordinance heartening

The U.S. Middle District court is recommending dismissal of a challenge to Williamsport’s rental ordinance, which allows codes inspections of rental properties where illegal drug and firearms activity is occurring.

We will leave the legal expertise to others, but we are heartened by the ruling.

The landlord filing the civil complaint alleged the inspections are an unconstitutional invasion of privacy.

The court ruled that the safety and privacy of residents is actually being bolstered by the inspections into problem rental properties.

In our view, when illegal drug and firearms activity is going on or suspected at a rental property, the landlord and the tenants forfeit their privacy rights.

Frankly, responsible tenants and landlords should want this ordinance. It protects them. In many cases, it may be possible that landlords don’t know of the illegal activity and the city’s inspections and resulting action takes the landlord off the hook.

There are many good, responsible landlords out there, so this ordinance is not meant to single them out. It’s meant to protect the majority, responsible landlords and rental property tenants.

There is too much criminal activity on record in rental property situations to allow the city to allow a Wild West approach to rental properties.