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Renters Bill Of Rights

The State College Borough Council in December passed a so-called “Tenants’ Bill of Rights”, the first of its kind in our region. Last month, the Biden administration put forward a blueprint for a “Renters’ Bill of Rights” at the federal level.

We spoke with the State College Borough Council president about this and where it stands currently.

Finding housing in State College is one thing. But finding housing that doesn’t break the bank is a whole other thing.

December saw the State College Borough Council pass “A Resolution to Promote Safe and Stable Housing for All Renters” (Resolution #1329), informally called the “Tenants’ Bill of Rights”.

As Council President Jesse Barlow explained “More or less a way of us making certain that the tenants have the rights to complain about poor housing, to defend against eviction, to have some access to counsel.”

However, that’s all it is right now: a resolution. It includes promises to explore future legislation and to coordinate efforts with area agencies.

“A lot of these were things we were doing already, “We already have pretty strict housing codes. We also have a very strong anti-discrimination ordinance.”

One of those agencies is the Centre Region Council of Governments, which oversees State College and a number of surrounding municipalities. The borough and the regional council would have to work “to ensure” the latter “maintains a searchable public database that clearly lists,” among many things, “inspection results, code violations, remedial actions, and the status of any enforcement actions.”

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