Suit against Sharpsburg headed to federal court

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (PA), 2014-07-12


July 12 --A Sharpsburg ordinance violates the state and federal constitutions and several state laws by treating landlords and tenants differently than homeowners, a Downtown attorney says in a lawsuit that moved to federal court on Friday.

Maurice Nernberg , an attorney, and his wife, Nancy, sued the borough in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court in June. The borough had the lawsuit moved to federal court because it raises federal constitutional claims.

Maurice Nernberg , who is representing himself and his wife in the lawsuit, couldn't be reached for comment. The lawsuit says they own two rental properties in the borough, one residential and one commercial.

The borough secretary and the borough's solicitor couldn't be reached for comment.

The Nernbergs claim that several provisions of the ordinance violate the state's landlord-tenant law and the rights of landlords and tenants.

They say an attempt to make landlords responsible for the behavior of their tenants is unconstitutional because the borough doesn't similarly make homeowners responsible for the conduct of people living in their homes.

Another provision gives the borough the right to inspect any leased dwelling without a search warrant and without any stated purpose for the inspection, the lawsuit says.

The Nernbergs also claim a $60 biannual fee is a hidden tax and the borough can't show that it's related to the cost of administering the ordinance.

Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Trib Total Media .

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