In an effort to simplify the inspection process as it relates to homebuying and residential rentals, the Falls Township Supervisors adopted an ordinance to amend its housing standards.
Township attorney Lauren Gallagher said township officials reviewed the ordinance prior to its adoption with owners of apartment complexes and representatives from a realtors association. The ordinance eliminates the current residential resale inspection process and replaces it with a certification of major components – heating system, chimney, sewer system and the electrical panel. Once the components are certified, a certificate of occupancy is issued, Matt Takita, Falls Township manager and chief code enforcement officer and zoning officer said.
“We do not require a home inspection,” Takita said. “That’s going to be between the buyer and the seller.”
Typically homebuyers conduct home inspections prior to purchasing a new home, Takita said. The level of inspection that homeowners undertake privately is “far greater” than what the township does, he said.
“There’s a lot of protection for the buyer,” Takita said.
Homebuyers would be made aware of open violations or outstanding permit violations on the property prior to buying, he said.
The ordinance change also institutes a rental unit inspection program, which calls for annual inspection of indoor and outdoor common areas at apartment complexes. For every apartment unit that has been occupied for three years or more, an interior inspection would be undertaken. Takita said each apartment complex would start a registry of tenants who have three or more years of tenancy.
Takita said the ordinance changes are consistent with other municipalities.
In other business, the Supervisors voted to change its February meeting date to Feb. 16 at 6:30 p.m. in light of the Presidents Day holiday.