New Windsor wants increased rental inspections


The Carroll County Commissioners may consider the controversy over enforcement of the Minimum Livability Code for rental housing to be over, but New Windsor plans to keep the issue alive.

About 200 residents of the county's smallest town got copies of a letter decrying the lack of inspections from Councilwoman Rebecca Harman at the Town Council meeting Wednesday.

Ms. Harman asked residents to sign, date and mail the letters to county officials.

"This is an opportunity for you all to help your town," she said. "We have to keep pursuing this."

The letter asks the commissioners to "help us correct some of these slum rental problems by sending inspectors not just for an exterior look, but interior inspection, too."

For six months, Mayor Jack A. Gullo Jr. has been asking for increased inspections in the town, where about 25 percent of the housing units are rentals. Under the county's complaint-driven policy, inspectors respond only to landlords, who don't complain, or tenants, who fear reprisals.

The commissioners voted 2-to-1 last week against increasing inspections or accepting complaints on code violations from town officials or neighboring residents.

"Basically, they voted against enforcing a law as written on their books," Mayor Gullo said. "That is highly unacceptable."

He said he also will continue to advocate strict code enforcement. "As taxpayers, we are all paying for these inspections," he said.

The mayor complained about the lack of communication between town and county officials. He said he learned of the commissioners' vote on the complaint and inspection policy from the media.

"I have yet to receive an official response to my requests" for improved code enforcement, he said.

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