Landlord Organization Sues City of Hazleton

The city has been served. The Hazleton Area Landlords Organization is sueing the City of Hazleton to end a rental ordinance approved five months ago. Their biggest beef is the fees associated with it, says Justine Crego, who’s group is behind the lawsuit.

The city says the fees pay for time, gas, and administrative costs, but Crego says after meeting three times, City Officials still didn’t make things clear for her.

According to the lawsuit, “The fee schedule set forth in the Ordinance is not reasonably related to the costs of operating the program provided for in the ordinance, but, instead, constitutes an illegal revenue generating tax on rental property owners. It also alleges that “City officials have acknowledged that the Ordinance was not drafted for the purpose of addressing the City’s ongoing housing problems that have resulted in increasing blight throughout the City.” So we asked Steve Hahn, Hazleton’s director of administration if the fees add up.

Meanwhile, Hahn says the ordinance only checks properties every two-to-four years, so if rent does increase due to the ordinance, it will only slightly. He calls the ordinance an important tool to help fight blight in the city.

But Halo plans to follow through with the suit, which will be heard by the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas.

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