[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Wrightstown 10-12-2005 by Ord. No. 2005-6. Amendments noted where applicable.]
It shall be the duty and responsibility of the Bureau of Fire Prevention to enforce the provisions of these regulations.
The Bureau of Fire Prevention shall have those powers which are necessary to carry out the intent and purposes of these regulations, including, but not limited to, the following enumerated powers:
To investigate the dwelling conditions within the Borough to determine which apartments, dwellings, or other structures have residential rental units.
To investigate those residential rental units to ensure compliance with these regulations.
To delegate any of the functions and powers of the Bureau to employees of the Borough as the Fire Marshal or other such person in charge of the Bureau shall designate.
The inspector is authorized to enter any structure at reasonable times for the purpose of making inspections and performing duties under these regulations. If entry is refused, or not obtained, the inspector may obtain an order from the Municipal Court or any other court of competent jurisdiction authorizing entry.
The purpose of these regulations is to establish the standards and manner by which residential rental units within the Borough shall be maintained and occupied to protect the public health, safety and welfare.
These regulations shall not apply to hotels, motels, boardinghouses, rooming houses and other residential units which are generally occupied by guests or tenants for less than 30 successive days.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- The individual designated by the owner who is authorized to perform any duty imposed by these regulations.
- The individual designated by the Bureau to perform inspections, reinspections and any other duty delegated or authorized by these regulations.
- MULTIPLE DWELLING UNIT
- Two-family dwelling units or more, and multiple single-family dwelling units where each unit has an independent means of egress.
- A natural person, association, corporation, firm, partnership, trust or other legal entity.
- Any person or persons in actual possession of and living in the residential rental unit.
- Any person who owns, purports to own or is properly authorized to exercise powers of or for an owner of property used as a residential rental unit.
- Includes the leasing, rental or other granting of occupancy for any period of time where title to the residential unit is not transferred to the actual occupant at the time such occupancy commences.
- RESIDENTIAL RENTAL UNIT
- An apartment, dwelling, or any portion of a structure used for human habitation for which the owner receives money or any other form of consideration, including services.
Each residential rental unit shall be registered annually. The registration term shall commence on September 1 of each year and end on August 31 of the following year.
The annual registration fee for each unit shall be $25 if applied for before November 1 and $35 if applied for thereafter. No fee shall be required for units owned by the Borough or any other governmental agency, as they are hereby exempt.
No residential rental unit shall be occupied unless it is registered with the Borough and is occupied in compliance with Borough and state legislation.
No registration permit shall be issued until the unit has been inspected and found to be in compliance with these regulations and with Borough and state legislation. An inspection which results in a satisfactory rating shall be valid for one year from the inspection date. However, the housing inspector may reinspect any residential rental unit during the year when he has reasonable grounds to believe that the unit is no longer in compliance with these regulations.
The registration fee shall include the initial inspection and one reinspection if required and the annual registration permit. Any other reinspection required by the inspector, including cancellations during the year, shall result in an additional charge of $15 per inspection. If the landlord cancels the inspection more than once, it will result in an additional fee not to exceed $50 per cancellation.
At the time that a residential rental unit is registered an application shall be completed which contains the following information:
The name, address, and telephone number of the record owner or owners of the premises. In the case of a partnership, this information shall be provided for all partners. In the case of a corporation, this information shall be provided for the registered agent and all corporate officers.
The address of the residential rental unit, the exact number of all separate units at that address, and the designation for each unit in accordance with the Wrightstown Borough Code, § 47-3.
The exact number of sleeping rooms contained within each residential rental unit, and the total square footage for each sleeping room.
The exact number of people who occupy each residential rental unit and the names and ages of all occupants. If the residential rental unit is unoccupied at the time that the application is completed, this information shall be provided as soon as the unit is occupied.
The rental housing inspector has the authority to amend the application to include additional required information.
The rental housing owner shall provide two emergency contact numbers for emergency personnel to contact in case of an emergency 24 hours a day.
The Bureau has the authority to amend the application to include additional required information.
Each person who owns a residential rental unit within the Borough shall designate themselves or another natural person as their agent who resides within the county to receive the notice of violation and to correct any violation(s). This natural person shall be named in the application when it is filed.
Each residential rental unit shall be inspected annually. After completion of the application and payment of the registration fee, the inspector shall inspect the residential rental unit to ensure compliance with these regulations and Borough, county and state legislation. The inspector shall make a report promptly after each inspection and provide a copy to the owner and tenant.
After the initial annual inspection, if the residential rental unit does not comply with the aforesaid regulations, a notice of violation shall be served on the owner or agent.
The inspector shall reinspect the residential rental unit after the notice of violation has been served and the abatement date has been met. This date will be 30 days from the date of the inspection or at the discretion of the inspector. An owner can request an earlier reinspection date if he or she has made the necessary corrections.
If violations still exist, any further reinspections of the residential rental unit shall be at the discretion of the Inspector, and a complaint may be filed with the Municipal Court for enforcement of these regulations or other legislation over which the Court has jurisdiction.
The registration permit shall not be issued until all violations have been corrected.
If the residential rental unit is damaged by fire or other cause, the reinspection shall be required to ensure compliance with these regulations and Borough, county, and state legislation.
All multiple dwellings including those occupied by the owner shall be inspected.
If a change of occupancy occurs within a three-month time frame after the last inspection date, a reinspection must be performed by the Borough rental housing inspector at no charge if application fees are paid for that calendar year.
If the provided residential rental unit is occupied at the time it is registered with the Borough, the owner or agent shall provide the Rental Housing Office with a list containing the names of all occupants of the premises and the term of the rental period. If the residential rental unit is unoccupied, the list shall be provided as soon as the unit is occupied. A copy of this list shall be maintained on the premises for inspection upon request. If the occupants change during the year, a new list shall be submitted to the Bureau within 20 days of the change.
Residential rental units shall not be occupied by more people than permitted by the minimum area requirements. Every room occupied for sleeping purposes by one person shall contain at least 70 square feet of floor area. Every room occupied for sleeping purposes by more than one person shall contain at least 50 square feet of floor area for each occupant thereof. The maximum number of occupants shall be posted in each residential rental unit.
It shall be unlawful for an owner to rent and a tenant to occupy a residential rental unit with occupants that exceed the number allowed on the premises based on the available sleeping rooms and square footage.
The existing lease for each residential rental unit shall contain language stating the maximum number of occupants and shall further state that the lease is subject to these regulations. This requirement shall apply to all leases executed after the adoption of these regulations by the Borough.
Owners of residential rental units shall be held to standards of responsibility in the selection of tenants and the supervision of rental properties. If during any twelve-month period on three separate occasions, tenants of a residential rental unit are convicted of criminal offenses, disorderly persons offenses, or ordinance violations involving noisy or tumultuous behavior for activities on the property or attributed to the occupancy of the property, the owner is responsible for a violation of these regulations if he has not taken legal action to evict the tenant(s).
No registration permit shall issue for a residential rental unit unless the owner has paid all the property taxes, sewer charges, water charges and other municipal charges due the Borough for the property in question. The failure to pay these municipal fees when they become due at any time during the calendar year shall constitute a violation of these regulations.
It shall be unlawful for any person to rent, lease or otherwise occupy any premises in violation of these regulations.
Any person who shall violate any of these regulations shall, upon conviction thereof, be subject to a fine of not less than $200 for each offense. The maximum penalties are set forth in § 1-3, Penalties, Article II, of the Wrightstown Code.
Each day that a violation continues after a notice of violation has been served and the time has expired for correction of the violation shall constitute a separate offense.