I appetite to lose my new job.
No – not my job as a columnist at Philly.com. I adulation that job. But addition job that I have.
Specifically, I appetite my cast active new “EPA Certified Advance Dust Sampling Technician” authorization to become abandoned – a authorization I spent $195 on and a abounding day of my activity in a classroom and lab in North Philadelphia accepting aftermost month.
I don’t appetite my technician’s acceptance to become absent and abandoned because Philadelphia’s apartment banal is advance chargeless or advance safe. It isn’t. In fact, it’s actual accessible that the advance levels in our backdrop are animated and absolutely alarming to a adolescent person’s academician and developing afraid systems, causing acquirements disabilities and behavioral problems. And that could aching our children.
How abounding times do we apprehend our politicians allocution about “our children?”
I appetite my authorization to abandon in abashment because our Burghal Council and Mayor accustomed the callous “Lead Acrylic Acknowledgment and Acceptance Law” – a misleading, confusing, and anti-landlord law that gives Philadelphians a apocryphal faculty of concrete assurance for “our children.”
The accuracy is that the best accessible of “our children” – the absolutely poor and the disadvantaged – are not annual a abuse according to this new law because, assumption what, they are excluded, unprotected, and accessible to advance poisoning.
And, as I said aback testifying adjoin this legislation, the politicians who anesthetized this law “have claret on their hands.”
* * *
On Dec. 21, 2012, the Advance Acrylic Acknowledgment and Acceptance Law went into effect. It allowable that all clandestine landlords in the Burghal of Philadelphia would accept to ensure that backdrop busy to families with accouchement 6 years or adolescent were advance safe. The legislation, sponsored by Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, and anesthetized a year earlier, armament landlords of backdrop congenital afore 1978 to conduct advance acrylic testing anniversary and every time a new addressee with accouchement 6 years or adolescent moves in – alike if no alarming traces of advance were begin during beforehand tests. The argumentation is that traces of advance acrylic can dent abroad over periods of time and beat the safe levels bent by the EPA. The testing is acceptable for 24 months, and charge be again if a new addressee enters into a charter afterwards the 2-year expiration.
By the way, these tests are big-ticket (averaging about $300-$400), few bodies are accountant to conduct them, and, best likely, alone a baby allotment of those with the authorization accept any allusive acquaintance with advance added than demography and casual a one-day advance that I did.
I may accept an MBA from Columbia University, but as my wife could acquaint you, I accept no handyman skills. Paraphrasing the backward Texas Sen. Lloyd Bentsen from his acclaimed Vice Presidential agitation with VP Dan Quayle, “Featherman, you’re no Mr. Home Improvement.”
“If a freeholder is affected to pay for this, it becomes an bread-and-er issue. If the freeholder rents to addition it doesn’t accept to pay added fees for, it may be construed as discrimination,” said Michael Sher, the absolute acreage agent of Pine Realty. “This will put a absolute accident on landlords who hire in low assets areas.”
And for accustomed that a control is created after the Burghal of Philadelphia accepting a advance chargeless or advance safe affidavit active by the artisan and the tenant, there is up to a $2,000/day amends adjourned to the landlord, with the freeholder clumsy to accurately aggregate hire during that period.
“Money talks,” above Philly Congressman Michael Ozzie Myers already said.
Harvey Spear, the admiral of HAPCO – the Homeowners Association of Philadelphia – agreed that the new law will aching landlords in the pocketbook, which, in turn, will crawl bottomward to tenants. “60% of all bodies [in Philadelphia] are tenants. This is a absolute affair in lower-to-moderate housing, area the addressee can’t acquiesce an access in rent.” Will it beggarly that landlords will artlessly get out of the rental business? “I’m not abiding they can sell,” said Spear, abacus that the tax increases from the Actual Value Initiative and the advance acrylic exams will amount abounding tenants out of an affordable home. A abstraction by HAPCO appear in May 2011 begin that the advance safe legislation would decidedly accession rents, force landlords to aish their backdrop from the market, and annual a “severe interruption” in the bazaar for residential rentals, arch to anywhere amid 21,000 to 52,000 rental backdrop actuality taken off the bazaar – either briefly or permanently.
Allan Domb, a Center Burghal agent specializing in affluence condominiums, currently serves as the Admiral of the Greater Philadelphia Association of Realtors – an advancement accumulation for Realtors that serve clandestine acreage owners. “The law is not absolute but it is abundant added acquiescent that originally presented,” he said. “GPAR, HAPCO and the Apartment Association formed with the sponsor of the bill, Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, to alter it. While some victories were realized, we accept the legislation is not perfect.”
Chris Artur, a Northeast Philadelphia Realtor and accomplished admiral of the GPAR, wasn’t as diplomatic. “This burghal is anti-landlord and alone the bodies who run their rentals professionally like a business will survive. The rental business is no best for the acquiescent dabblers.”
Jared Gruber, broker/owner of JG Absolute Acreage in Fishtown, sees this legislation as adverse for Philadelphia landlords. “This legislation is activity to accept a few altered furnishings on my business, all negative,” he said. “First, it is activity to access the about-face aeon amid tenants. Typically, I am able to accept best of my backdrop cycle anon over into addition rental with a 5-day period in-between for accustomed painting, cleaning, etc. Aback renting to families covered by this legislation, I am activity to charge to possibly bifold that about-face aeon to acquiesce for scheduling with the advance based sampling technician.
“If the analysis is positive, it will accessible a accomplished altered can of worms, which could advance to weeks, if not months, of absent hire and added expense,” he continued. “This takes money out of both my abridged and my client’s pocket. In cases area there are assorted applicants, landlords are activity to hire to the individuals which they accept will accommodate them with the accomplished return. Of course, the accomplished acknowledgment isn’t consistently dictated by the accomplished rent. It includes factors such as likelihood to pay hire on time, atomic acceptable to annual aition to the property, etc. However, this legislation aloof adds addition band of amount which landlords will charge to argue with, authoritative it that abundant beneath acceptable a ancestors with a adolescent 6 or beneath will win the rental.”
Which brings us aback to “our children.”
On its website, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health – which is assigned with administration the advance acrylic law – says, “The ambition of the new law is to anticipate all accouchement who alive in Philadelphia rental backdrop from acceptable advance poisoned.”
Hmmm. What absolutely does “all” accouchement mean?
Well, it doesn’t beggarly “all” children. Instead, it acutely agency “some” of them.
You see, the legislation excludes “all” bartering backdrop (which agency schools, doctor’s offices and daycare centers – amid added places your adolescent accouchement visit). It additionally excludes “all” owner-occupied properties. I assumption the accouchement of the average chic don’t matter?
But best importantly, it exempts Section 8 housing, PHA housing, and added city-owned residential backdrop in which the atomic of the poor and the neediest of the beggared alive with “our children.”
What? The Burghal of Philadelphia has created a law that it won’t accomplish aloft itself?
Nah. Our burghal government wouldn’t administer a bifold standard, right?
“If what you are adage actuality is accurate, again this is a travesty,” said Jonathan Orens, a absolute acreage adviser at Temple University’s Absolute Acreage Institute. “The alone acumen I can anticipate of that the burghal exempted itself is because they don’t appetite to absorb the money or accord with the aggravation. If this is the case, again this is artlessly a tax on the clandestine area for aggravating to do business in the burghal and not a action cry to save the children.”
Nan Feyler, the arch of agents for the Appointment of the Health Commissioner, says that may change: “The Burghal is currently reviewing the advance acrylic requirements of PHA and Section 8 apartment to actuate if it will be adapted to acclaim an alteration to the law or a adjustment to accommodate these residences.”
That would apparently amuse addressee advocates such as the Addressee Union Representative Network’s (TURN) controlling director, Phil Lord. “We at TURN are aghast by the abounding exceptions to this acknowledgment requirement. We accept the acceptance by some that subsidized rentals accept their own commensurable analysis requirements which abundantly abode the advance acrylic issue. In our experience, this is not consistently the case. This law, like most, is baby footfall in the adapted direction. Hopefully, at some point, added absolute and amount able aegis will be article all of us can accede upon.”
But will this new law aftereffect in landlords illegally abnegation to hire to families with adolescent children?
Paul M. Schmidt, an advocate who co-chairs the Zarwin Baum ecology convenance group, doesn’t anticipate so. In fact, he feels it’s already benefiting renters with baby children. “I accept not apparent an adumbration that the new law is causing or will annual actionable abnegation to hire to families with accouchement 6 and under. In fact, I anticipate the new law has spawned abundant greater apprenticeship of landlords apropos what does and does not aggregate discrimination; therefore, I would not be afraid if such bigotry is absolutely decreasing.”
That would be a acceptable thing, as familial cachet bigotry is one of the fastest growing forms of actionable bigotry in rental apartment in the United States.
TURN’s Lord is not convinced, though. “We at TURN do apprehend to see an access on familial cachet bigotry as a aftereffect of how this law was assuredly passed,” he said. “In our opinion, attached its annual to families with accouchement beneath six was a mistake. We accept apparent a brace of cases area we had acumen to accept tenants were actuality alone because of the analysis requirement. However, this is actual difficult to prove and we were able to dness the bearings by educating the freeholder instead of filing a complaint.”
For now, admitting – there are two sets of children. There are the accouchement covered by this law (only those that alive in non-subsidized, investor-owned housing). And again there’s anybody else.
And “everyone else” includes abundant women, who are abnormally at accident from acknowledgment to lead. As I abstruse in my licensing class, advance is anesthetized from the mother to the fetus and can annual miscarriage, abortive birth, academician accident and low bearing weight.
Artur already knew this. “This aloof shows the astronomic assignment in drafting advance legislation that covers the most-at-risk person, but the accumulation bootless to booty women and the approaching into account. The EPA appointment in Philadelphia was never consulted in drafting the ordinance; contrarily I anticipate they wouldn’t accept fabricated this mistake.”
Either the law should administer to all, or, it should administer to none.
So until “our children” are all advised appropriately beneath the law, my authorization is worthless.
Published: February 27, 2013 — 7:30 AM EST
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