Philly councilman has sights on bad neighbors

A Philadelphia City Councilman wants to use the carrot before the stick on bad neighbors.

Since taking office in January, Councilman Bobby Henon said he couldn’t believe how many calls to his offices are about bad neighbors, especially absentee property owners.

“Sixty percent of my calls have been bad neighbors, bad landlords,” Henon said Wednesday.

So the councilman has started his “Bad Neighbor Initiative,” is compiling data from the city’s Licenses & Inspections office into a “Bad Neighbor” map on his website, and he says even more calls are coming.

“It has increased since I started this public campaign by 20 percent. People in the community are beginning to be partners with me,” Henon said. “I’m asking them to turn them in. I’m asking them to notify 311.

“If there are landlords … that need education, we will be pointing them in the right direction.”

Henon said repeated violations of the housing code, such as bad roofs or putting out trash too early, have been proved to drive down property values.

“I will not let go,” Henon vowed. “I will not stop until we get some resolution here.”

If he doesn’t see results, Henon said he will introduce a bill to dramatically increase penalties for those who fail to maintain their properties.

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