Millersville noise policy challenged
nBorough asserts landlord is responsible, and consequences could lead to eviction of tenants. BY DEAN LEE EVANS, Correspondent
A landlord of a Millersville Borough rental property raised concerns Tuesday about the process used to address noise complaints against tenants.
Bruce King, owner of a rental property in the borough, asked council to consider changing the rules regarding noise citations including a complaint filed against his tenants filed in November.
"I certainly don't have any control over what happens with the tenants there and whether they are making noise on a particular night," he said.
King, who appeared before council on behalf of his tenants, made the comments during the public comments period at the beginning of the meeting.
The address of the property was not revealed during the meeting.
Borough manager Edward Arnold said the noise provision is part of the borough's rental license ordinance.
The noise provision allows the borough to pursue eviction actions against tenants in a borough rental property that receive three noise complaints within a one-year period.
King questioned whether the three-strikes rule "is the way things should go."
Borough officials defended the noise provision.
Arnold said that in the five-plus years since the noise provision was implemented, only two evictions have occurred out of the hundreds of rental properties in the borough.
"It must be working," said Arnold.
Council president Michael Kirkham sternly asserted King's responsibility in the matter.
"The landlord is responsible for their tenants," he told King.
Arnold noted that the noise complaint in question filed last November was the result of a call to police from a nearby property owner.
King said that his tenants have met with that property owner and have since apologized for noise incident.
Councilman J. Philip Gerber told King police could have cited the tenants for the 2 a.m. noise disturbance.
"(The incident) could have been harder for them," he said.
The borough noise provision does not require police to issue a citation for noise disturbances for a complaint to be counted towards the three-strike rule.
King left shortly after he made his comments and was not present when council discussed the matter during a safety committee report later in the meeting.
Councilwoman Lynn Miller, who chairs the borough safety committee, said the committee unanimously rejected an appeal from the tenants at the Dec. 12 meeting.
Miller said the vote was a "difficult decision" for the committee members because the tenants "were throwing themselves on our mercy because they were realizing the seriousness (of the situation.)"
Councilman Philip Lastowski asked if the property in question was the same residence council discussed at a previous council meeting.
Miller said the same residence did have a noise complaint in September, but that the tenants were not the same ones in the November complaint.
A council member noted that the same tenants in the November noise complaint were involved in a separate and unrelated noise disturbance a week later.
Miller said that incident occurred the weekend before the December safety committee appeal.