The borough of Mount Holly Springs has launched its rental property inspection program four months ahead of schedule.
Borough Manager Thomas Day credits Troy Russell, part-time zoning and codes enforcement officer, for getting the inspections underway in February instead of the original June timeline.
“He’s very efficient in his job,” said Day, who is also the borough police chief. “He was able to get the notices out and get with the landlords.”
As of Monday, about 20 rental units had been inspected in Zone 1 with two-thirds passing the inspection, Russell said. The remaining one-third of the inspected units had minor infractions that will require him to re-inspect the property before an occupancy license can be issued.
Borough council hired Russell in January to start a program to inspect all rental properties over the next three years. To track the inspections, Day divided the borough map into three zones.
Zone 1 inspections cover units on either side of Baltimore Avenue from the borough line south to Butler Street. The zone also includes all streets between the western border of the borough and Mountain Creek.
Zone 1 also includes any units along Mill Street from where it intersects with Baltimore Avenue north and east to the borough line and on streets adjoining Mill including Fairfield, Center, East, South, Peach and Orange.
“Some of them wanted to schedule right away,” Day said of the landlords. There are 220 rental units in Zone 1. For the work, Russell will receive no benefits and will be paid $18 an hour for a weekly maximum not to exceed 32 hours.
Council in January set a fee of $65 per rental unit to cover the borough costs of each inspection. A $50 fee will be charged if a property that failed an initial inspection needs an extensive re-inspection.
A draft inspection checklist presented in August included items related to security, fire safety, adequate lighting, adequate ventilation, a check for chipped or peeling paint and a check for rodent infestation.
In other action Monday, council authorized Day to begin an extensive rewrite of the borough ordinance regulating the inspection of on-lot septic systems.
The borough municipal authority recently discovered there are 36 properties in the borough that are not covered by the ordinance but have on-lot systems that should be inspected, Day said. He said public sewer on East Street ends at Mountain Street and beyond that point to the borough line there are 28 of the 36 properties.
“One property has eight trailers that are on their own system,” Day said. “One has three houses on it. The authority has asked its engineers about the feasibility to extend those lines. You’re looking at years down the road.”
State law not only requires municipalities to inspect on-lot systems, but to make sure each property owner sizes the system correctly and that each system be able to handle any increase in volume from new construction.