Rental owners cited for decline in city

Homeowners of Wilkes-Barre . . . how is your neighborhood looking lately? Is your answer anything like, “shabby”? Are you noticing far too many rentals and unstable—although formerly-stable—crime-ridden neighborhoods?

Are you becoming immune to deserted, trashed, and rotting homes or rentals, to blaring music, frequent stop-and-run visitors, smashed windows, living room furniture placed on front porches, garbage/recyclables piling up, puppies barking out of second floor screenless windows or wandering on busy streets, blankets being used as window drapes, smashed doors and filthy conditions, and Wild West shootout scenarios?

I am sure that you can add to the list of what we are witnessing.

Wake up, Wilkes-Barre homeowners because the value of your home has plummeted. We weren’t reared in such turmoil and it is up to us to better manage our neighborhoods. We have far too many absentee rentals and deplorable conditions in many of our neighborhoods. How long are you going to just sit and watch the decline?

The home you take pride in is decreasing in value, and do you know that, should you desire to sell your home, the selling price is based upon sale prices within a five-mile range? Don’t expect to recoup your family investment because that won’t happen in Wilkes-Barre.

So, just who is scooping up our homes and what local group of attorneys is performing the deed transfers and for whom? They don’t give a hoot for your neighborhood because the lawyers and the realtors often reside far away from you. They are becoming wealthy on the destruction of our neighborhoods—and all for money.

Many of the rentals in our city are not owner-occupied.

They are, rather, being used as cash cow properties and in most cases are just barely acceptable per our city code

Some Wilkes-Barre properties should have been condemned and demolished years ago, but the city needs the taxes, so denying an ongoing rental license or condemning the property means lost revenue for the city coffers. Someone has to pay the local fat city elected and staff salaries and benefits, but, at what cost to surrounding homeowners?

Take a walk around your neighborhood or drive around our city and note the conditions. You can pretty much determine what property is a rental and what property is owner-occupied, can’t you? Most absentee rental owners wouldn’t even think for one minute about residing in their own rentals, yet they rent to others. Most of the rental property owners who rent units walk away smirking after collecting the rent.

If you want to save the value of your home, it is up to you to attend our city council meetings and ask the mayor and the city council members why they are allowing our city to become a city of rentals and why more properties haven’t been demolished. It is their fault that many of our city neighborhoods are in such disgusting conditions.

If you want to save your investment try to keep your home in the family and don’t sell until you are sure that you are going to benefit from the sale and not take a serious hit on the sale price, or further destroy what’s left of your once lovely neighborhood.

Greedy and unsavory rental property investors and realtors are salivating to acquire your home on the cheap.

We pay the price for the sale of properties to the wrong people. I urge you to hang on to your family home anyway you can and, if need be, transfer ownership to a family member or sibling with stipulations that it is not to be sold.

As a longtime property owner I say to you, don’t sell. Maintain your property as well as you can. We don’t need a city of rentals and we cannot continue to shoulder the aftermath of unstable neighborhoods.

  • Linda Urban
  • Member, Wilkes-Barre City Taxpayers Association Board of Directors

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