Image

10:15 AM / Thursday October 6, 2022

26 Aug 2022

Balance in the rental market focus of recent House Democratic Policy hearing

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
August 26, 2022 Category: Local Posted by:

ABOVE PHOTO: The House Democratic Policy Committee hosted a hearing on balance in the rental market at Salus University’s Eye Institute Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022 in Philadelphia. Rep. Darisha Parker (pictured at far left) hosted the hearing. (Photo/ Pa. House)

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – The House Democratic Policy Committee convened a hearing last Tuesday in Philadelphia that brought landlords, tenants and housing officials together to discuss how lawmakers could strike a balance in the rental market.

“I requested this hearing today to help us gather input from all sides of this very important and sometimes controversial issue,” said Rep. Darisha Parker (D-198th Dist.), who hosted the hearing. “We have to be able to support our landlords while also making sure tenants aren’t being taken advantage of.”

Many of the testifiers discussed the economic hardships that the COVID-19 pandemic brought on both landlords and tenants. The Pennsylvania Apartment Association (PAA) represents more than 38,000 units and 49 property management companies in the Philadelphia area alone. The PAA testified that landlords did a great job working with tenants during that time, and the state’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program was a big help to all parties.

“Many of our members proactively met with residents who were facing financial hardships and began creating payment plan agreements, and once American Rescue Plan funds were made available, urged tenants to apply for these funds,” said Andre Del Valle, vice president of government affairs for the PAA. “These funds helped landlords who had not received payments in over a year and a half, while also assisting tenants by ensuring their arrears were paid off.”

Tuesday’s hearing also touched on property management. One testifier, Derek Jolly, is both a landlord and a tenant. He testified the current property he’s renting has not been upgraded or enhanced in years, but rent continues to increase. He also mentioned when his son fell down icy steps last winter, he immediately informed the property owner, but he has yet to hear back. Jolly said landlords need to be held more accountable.

“I own and manage a duplex of my own and refuse to allow anyone to live in my property below a standard that would be unacceptable to me,” said Jolly. “Who inspects these properties and holds the management companies accountable? Why are they permitted to raise the rent every year but not mandated to make upgrades or improvements?”

The Community Legal Services (CLS) of Philadelphia recently completed a survey of more than 6,000 people, discussing issues like rent, evictions, and quality housing.

 The results showed that 80% of Philadelphia renters who have experienced an eviction have also been denied housing. With Philadelphia ranking fourth in the nation in total evictions, CLS said several initiatives have been put in place to address the eviction issue.

“Right to counsel for tenants, eviction diversion, Renters Access Act, and healthy and habitable housing. Those four initiatives build on the experiences and needs of our clients that we see every day in our representation of them,” said Osarugue Grace Osa-Edoh, supervising attorney for CLS. “Evictions continue the cycle of poverty by increasing homelessness, creating family instability and displacement and job loss. The impact of an eviction is not only felt by the family been evicted but by the Community and City.”

Parker, who hosted the hearing at Salus University’s Eye Institute in Philadelphia, said a lot of work needs to be done in Harrisburg to support both landlords and tenants.

“We heard from landlords and property management organizations that say they need more support from us in Harrisburg. But we also heard from tenants and housing advocates that say landlords need to be held more accountable,” Parker said. “I’m looking forward to continuing these important discussions as we work to strike a balance in Pennsylvania’s rental market.”

Information about this hearing and other House Democratic Policy Committee hearings can be found at: www.pahouse.com/policy.   

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Leave a Comment

Recent News

Stateside

Biden signs bill to avert government shutdown, aid Ukraine

October 1, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email By KEVIN FREKING WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden signed into law Friday...

Education

A message from Superintendent Watlington regarding the shooting outside of Roxborough High School

September 30, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email Dear School District of Philadelphia staff and families, The School District of Philadelphia...

Entertainment

The Jacksons in concert on September 10

September 30, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email (Photos/Afea Tucker) The Jacksons — Jackie, Tito, and Marlon, along with a backup...

Diaspora

Puerto Ricans await aid, fret about post-hurricane recovery

September 30, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: A man points to a home that was collapsed by Hurricane...

Go With The-Flo

Lil Wayne is looking to make a big profit from the sale of his waterfront Miami Beach mansion

September 30, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: Lil Wayne (Paul Smith / Featureflash / Shutterstock) By Flo Anthony...

Food And Beverage

What’s Cookin’? Vegan Shortbread Cookies

September 30, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email Tweet Share Pin Email Related Posts What’s Cookin’? Chewy Five Ginger Spice Molasses...

The Philadelphia Sunday Sun Staff