There are ordinances that supposedly limit how many occupants there are in an apartment in the city of Williamsport, according to size and zoning.
But tracking those numbers is difficult, leaving open a scenario in which too many people are living in apartments, a recipe for disaster on multiple levels.
The city would like to eliminate that possibility, and we support that initiative.
Mayor Gabriel J. Campana last week proposed a new landlord and tenant registration law that would require tenants to provide the city codes department with two forms of verifiable identification, such as a driver's license and Social Security card number.
Landlords would have to register with the codes department and provide how many occupants they have and who lives in each rental unit.
Those tenets would appear to eliminate a lot of the guesswork regarding city rental properties.
There are issues to iron out:
How does the city know who is and isn't observing the registration guidelines?
Does it have the staffing to monitor such things?
And, perhaps most importantly, can this ordinance survive legal challenges?
City officials say the ordinance is modeled after a 25-page landlord ordinance that Berwick uses.
As one might expect, the American Civil Liberties Union is hinting at a legal challenge because it believes the identification forms compromise privacy and the ordinance itself may discriminate against the poor and minorities. But we don't accept the premise that people don't have access to two forms of identification these days.
It would almost be shocking if there were no legal pushback against this ordinance.
But the heart of the measure is a solid start against an ongoing rental inhabitation problem in the city.
At this time, we don't find a lot of fault in the proposal.