Proposed ordinance that would impact home resale process on June 20th agenda for Ambler’s Borough Council

During the June 6th meeting of Ambler’s Borough Council, there was a long discussion about a proposed ordinance that would create an inspection program for residential properties being sold. You can view the proposed ordinance here.

The proposed ordinance is back on the agenda for the June 20th meeting. The council members will be asked whether the proposed ordinance should be advertised. Once the proposed ordinance is advertised for two weeks, there can be a vote on whether to adopt it,

According to the text of the ordinance, it was created in the “interests of public safety.” If adopted, the ordinance would require six inspections upon the “closing and the execution of a deed conveying ownership” of a residential property. The inspections are as follows:

  • Sewer laterals;
  • Electrical certification;
  • Curb, sidewalks, and alleys, when the home includes such improvements;
  • Backflow Prevention
  • Exterior Property Maintenance
  • House Numbers

All of these inspections are detailed in the text of the proposed ordinance. But for example, in regards to curbs, sidewalks, and alleys, when there is going to be a sale of a residential property, it is required that the borough inspect these items, and mark areas that need repair. These repairs must be completed before the sale is finalized.

During the discussion, Council President Glynnis Siskind shared that she thought of the proposal initially as a way to solely improve sidewalks in the borough (property owners are responsible for the sidewalks). All of the members of the council supported the inclusion of sidewalk inspections but offered different opinions on what other items should be included. For example, since the need for the proposed ordinance was being justified for public safety purposes, it was questioned whether a house fire resulting from faulty wiring or water damage from a broken or missing backflow prevention device fell within the intended meaning.

Local realtor Allison Wolf has been engaging the public over the past few weeks to learn more about the ordinance and offered her opinion of it on her website and social media. Overall her argument is that the items outlined in the ordinance are mostly covered by existing processes/requirements within the home selling process and existing ordinances, create new costs for the seller, and could possibly slow down a sale,

You can watch the June 6th discussion below (it starts at 40:30). The June 20th meeting is scheduled for 7:00 p.m., at Ambler’s Borough Hall.