Legal challenge to Scranton’s rental registration program should see conclusion soon
Scranton, PA: A lawsuit against the City about the legality of rental registration fees remains unresolved, but the judge has implied he will allow the challenge to the City’s newest means of collecting rental registration fees.
Scranton had previously required fees for certain city services, then the city was accused of using those fees for purposes in violation of the ordinance, and a class-action lawsuit came to being based on trash fees, whereupon the City ceased collecting fees.
In October 2016, the City adapted a revised rental registration program where all owners and landlords of a residential rental unit had to register with the city by April 1 each year, and pay a $50 fee for a license in order to be allowed to have occupancy of that unit at some point.
Any violation of the City code for maintaining the property and/or timely registration and licensing would result in a suspension of the owner’s license ability for a period of 6 months and potential fines for individual violations of code.
Due to some ambiguity as to how fees collected are allowed to be allocated for a city to use to recoup program costs, and the number of rental units in the City, the lawsuit claims the registration and fees are not within the state allowance for use of the funds.
The ruling and establishing of the legality of the registration program will allow other legal questions to be brought into a more clear light, and help shape the future of similar programs for cities in similar situations.
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