WILKES-BARRE — One strike. Two readings. Three speakers.
Mayor Tom Leighton’s plan to crack down on problem rental properties in Wilkes-Barre passed a second and final reading during a special council session Thursday night attended by a handful of residents, of whom only three spoke about the “one-strike” amendment to the city’s rental ordinance.
The ordinance will allow officials to shut down a property for six months if landlords and tenants know of criminal activity on the premises and fail to alert authorities. It will take effect Sept. 1.
“The intent is not to penalize landlords, but to increase dialogue,” said assistant city solicitor William E. Vinsko Jr., who drafted the legislation, which he called “another tool to curb drug activity and violence.”