Uneven pavements aren’t the only factors creating an imbalance on High Street. Michael Perrone, director of the Building Housing Codes Enforcement Department of the Borough of West Chester, said some rental property inhabitants-including those within fraternity housing-wield a “lack of motivation” in regards to the maintenance of the houses.According to Bob Wilpizeski, director of Public Works, High Street is a state highway that is maintained by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, but the borough provides other types of maintenance such as plowing for the actual street.
Since High Street is a haven for rental residences, the actual preservation of the properties is the responsibility of the Department of Building and Housing.
The landlord of the property would further enforce the upholding of the house coinciding with the standards and directions administered by the Dept. of Building and Housing. From there, tenants make adjustments and modifications accordingly-specifically for the interior. Major renovations must have permission from either landlord or owner, according to one member of TKE, a WCU frat.
Perrone said that rental housing inspections are performed once a year; in these inspections, painted walls, electric, structural items are examined. Nonetheless, these conditions must abide by a “multitude of codes.”
In the event that there is failure to comply with the codes, “We issue violations and give a reasonable amount of time to correct the problem,” Perrone said.
If not corrected within a given amount of time, depending upon the severity of the situation, citations are subsequent, according to Perrone.
In addition, Perrone said that it is the landlord’s responsibility to uphold the proper conditions.
“You would hope that landlords on a routine basis check the buildings,” Perrone said. “It would be nice if the tenants maintained the house.”
However, according to Matt Gugliemini, a former resident of 533 S. High St., tenants are not reluctant in maintaining the houses.
“It is difficult to maintain a house that is so old and houses so many college men,” especially if the house was already in poor condition on moving day, Gugliemini said.
According to one member of TKE, there is actually a specific cleaning rotation for the residents of the fraternity houses that alternates weekly. This, he states, is essential that “everyone does their part.”
“When you have so many people in and out of the house, it gets dirty really fast.” He further stated that maintaining the house is a considerable reflection of the organization’s disposition. “We don’t want to have a horrible appeal.”
Specifically, Perrone emphasized the presence of trash on lawns.
“People that rent typically do not maintain the properties as well as owner-occupied properties,” Perrone said. He further said that there are exceptions to this statement.
According to Gugliemini, the consequence of excessive and unorganized trash in his particular fraternity was not a result of the residents’ unwillingness to clean.
“We did not have enough trash cans for the number of men living in the house. So, we built a wooden trash area to keep all of the trash cans and extra trash bags,” Gugliemini said.
According to one member of TKE, the men pay for a dumpster to be placed in the rear of the house.
In addition to this, no citations have ever been administered for the presence of trash this year.
In essence, Perrone states that “We, the department are not in a position to clean up everybody’s trash.”
All in all, although tenants, landlords and inspectors may still have to establish certain guidelines, Gugliemini said, “living on High Street was quite an experience.