WESTERNPORT - Allen Shapiro, one of the newly-elected Westernport town officials, would like to see rental properties inspected more often than what is conducted now, which t is only when occupancy changes.

By Jean Braithwaite
Tribune Correspondent
WESTERNPORT - Allen Shapiro, one of the newly-elected Westernport town officials, would like to see rental properties inspected more often than what is conducted now, which t is only when occupancy changes.
To be more specific, Shapiro wants a regular inspection on rentals to check on the availability of working smoke detectors, as he asked Bill Cheshire, the town code enforcement officer, about the rules for rental properties during the recent town council meeting.
Cheshire said that there are close to 300 rental properties in Westernport, and smoke detectors are to be replaced during the first of every year.
Shapiro wanted to make a motion that would consist of “The inspection of all 300 properties in the next six months to make sure all smoke detectors are in working order,” and a $40 charge would be the responsibility of the property owner.
However further discussion on this subject developed when a citizen questioned the legality of the additional rental inspections and questioned what the town code had to say on this subject.
Town lawyer Michael Llewellyn said, “The code says inspection on occupancy,” while Cheshire added, “The property owner has the responsibility to make sure the rental is safe to live in.”
Shapiro wanted to clarify that the inspection he spoke of was to check on the smoke detectors “as a safety issue,” and to make sure “the rental units are safe for families and their children.”
Llewellyn said that he will work to update the inspection ordinance, which will involve two readings and an advertisement in a newspaper.
Shapiro said to Llewellyn, “Make the changes, and bring the updated ordinance back to us.”
Shapiro also wants to tackle the problem of the dilapidated structures in Westernport and feels that having a listing of such buildings would be a first step, because, “Leaving cones around the house is not the answer.”