On March 17, 2023 Commonwealth Court entered an Order as to the validity of the City of Pittsburgh’s Rental Ordinance. Among part of the requirements under the Ordinance, Landlords would have been required to obtain a permit from the City designating a “responsible local agent” before any rental unit could be leased, rented or occupied. In order to obtain the permit, the Landlord would have been required to furnish personal information for not only all of the property owners of the rental unit, but also, the responsible local agent and for the person authorized to make or order repairs to the property if the property was found to have a code violation. This information was then going to be published in a public database. Rental property owners who lived outside of Allegheny County were going to be required to hire a licensed real estate management firm with offices located in Allegheny County to be their responsible local agents and to accept service of process for legal matters for the owner.
The Commonwealth Court ruled that the Ordinance imposed affirmative and numerous duties and requirements on Landlords, beyond registration and permitting of rental units. Under the City’s Home Rule Charter, the City does not have the power to impose “duties, responsibilities or requirements” upon the conduct of “businesses, occupations and employers”. The Court therefore concluded the City was without authority to enact the Rental Ordinance and reversed the trial court. This means the rental registration ordinance is not valid.