[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Milton 5-13-2015 by Ord. No. 1197. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former Ch. 193, Rental Units, which was comprised of Art. I, Tenant Lists, adopted 5-24-1995 by Ord. No. 1070.
Purpose, scope, and declaration of policy. It is the purpose of this chapter to establish policies and regulations which will facilitate the protection and promotion of the health, safety, and welfare of the residents of the Borough of Milton; to ensure the safe and responsible maintenance and inspection of those properties which are non-owner-occupied residential properties within the boundaries of the Borough of Milton; and to ensure the safety and well-being of the occupants of those properties, and the safety and property values of the Borough of Milton.
All definitions are as stated in the Definitions Ordinance of the Milton Borough Code Book.
Within 60 days of the adoption of this chapter, the Borough shall provide to each known owner of a rental unit, a blank property registration form, to be completed and returned to the Borough within 30 days.
The owner of a multiple-unit dwelling may complete one property registration form with an attachment listing multiple contiguous buildings within a complex, provided that the list clearly identifies each building by legal address and provides the listing of each rental unit within each building individually by unit number and address.
Following the initial property registration, the owner shall be required to inform the Borough of any substantial change to the property registration information within 10 calendar days of the date on which the change occurs. Examples of such changes would include but are not limited to change in owner contact information, change in ownership, change in building use, discontinuation of rental use, etc.
The owner shall be required to verify the information contained within a property registration form prior to the renewal date of a rental occupancy permit, as part of the notification of required inspection.
A property registration fee, payable to the Borough, may be assessed by the Borough upon adoption of a resolution by Borough Council adopting such a fee, which resolution shall have the same effect as if set forth herein in full.
Unoccupied/vacant rental units are required to be registered with the Borough.
Requirements for rental occupancy permits.
No rental unit shall be permitted to be initially occupied until a rental occupancy permit has been issued by the Code Enforcement Officer. The rental occupancy permit will only be issued after completion of an inspection by the Code Enforcement Officer, and determination that the property is in compliance with the Code(s) of the Borough of Milton.
A separate rental occupancy permit shall be required for each individual rental unit comprising a multiple-unit dwelling.
A copy of the current rental occupancy permit shall be kept in the landlord's records and be available upon request from law enforcement, code enforcement, or tenant.
For a newly registered rental unit(s), the rental occupancy permit will either be issued or denied for specified reasons within 15 days of the receipt of a completed application and the completion of a satisfactory inspection of the rental unit(s).
The denial of an initial application for a rental occupancy permit will be for failure to provide the required information and/or documentation; failure to comply with applicable federal, state or county regulations; or failure to comply with applicable Borough of Milton ordinances or codes.
Rental units are required to have a current rental occupancy permit whether occupied, unoccupied, or vacant.
Rental occupancy permit term. A rental occupancy permit shall have a term of three years, beginning from the issue date of the initial rental occupancy permit, and renewable only upon completion of required inspection and verification of compliance with the regulations of this chapter.
Rental occupancy without permit. Owners shall be in violation of this chapter if they allow the rental unit to be occupied prior to the issuance of the initial rental occupancy permit for a new rental unit; or to be occupied during any period after which the rental occupancy permit remains unrenewed/expired, suspended, or revoked.
Rental occupancy permit fee. Upon application for a rental occupancy permit and prior to issuance or renewal thereof, each applicant shall pay to the Borough a rental occupancy permit fee, in an amount to be established, from time to time, by a resolution adopted by the Borough Council; which resolution shall have the same effect as if set forth herein in full. Such resolution may provide for more than one fee scale for different categories of premises, as set forth specifically in the resolution. The rental occupancy permit fee is intended to be used to pay for the costs associated with the administration and enforcement of these regulations, for the completion of investigations and periodic inspections by the Code Official, and for other reasonably necessary activities directly related thereto, as part of the annual code enforcement budget of the Borough.
Maximum occupancy. In accordance with applicable health and safety regulations, the rental occupancy permit shall indicate the maximum number of occupants permitted to occupy each rental unit as a living space.
Rental occupancy permit: unpaid fees, costs, taxes, or fines. No rental occupancy permit shall be issued if the owner has any unpaid fees, costs, taxes, or fines, past due and payable to the Borough.
Tenant registration. Owners shall be required to furnish to the Borough a list of the current tenants occupying their rental units. Such registration shall be made each year at a minimum of one time between the period of January 1 and June 30, and one time between the period of July 1 and December 31, and additionally within 10 days of a change in tenant information.
Frequency of inspections.
All rental units, including those unoccupied or vacant, and any applicable adjacent common areas as defined by the Borough Ordinance, shall be initially inspected by the Code Enforcement Officer prior to the issuance of an initial rental occupancy permit, and inspected by the Code Enforcement Officer a minimum of triennially (once every three years) thereafter. The owner shall permit inspections of any regulated premises by the Code Enforcement Officer at reasonable times and upon reasonable notice. All such inspections shall be performed under and as provided for within this chapter and any applicable Borough code.
Additional inspections may be performed at the request of the owner or an occupant currently residing within the rental unit, or upon receipt by the Code Enforcement Officer of a valid complaint from a reliable person, agency, etc., and as otherwise permitted by law. Additional inspections may be subject to a fee in accordance with a fee schedule adopted by resolution of the Borough Council. Additional inspections do not remove or alter the date of the inspection required for renewal of the rental occupancy permit.
The property owner can request the mandatory inspection be done up to three months prior to the required date; however, the rental occupancy permit renewal date will still qualify as the benchmark for the next required inspection.
Failure to comply with inspections.
Should an owner fail to comply with the inspection requirements set forth in this chapter, the Code Enforcement Officer may apply to the Magisterial District Judge having jurisdiction in the Borough for a search warrant to enter and inspect the premises. Entry with a search warrant issued to the Borough Police Department will be completed under the direction and supervision of the Borough Police Department. Any and all costs relating to the application, issuance, and enforcement of a search warrant will be assessed against the owner, and will be due and payable to the Borough.
Failure to pay the assessed costs will result in further collection proceedings and actions as allowed by current law, and any additional court costs and/or legal fees incurred by the Borough will also be assessed against the owner.
Inspection deficiencies or code violations. All deficiencies or code violations documented by the Code Enforcement Officer during an inspection must be corrected within 30 days of the inspection report, provided that such deficiencies or code violations do not cause the rental unit to be unfit for habitation or pose a serious threat to the safety of the occupants, adjacent property, or the public. In the event that the Code Enforcement Officer, in their sole discretion, determines that the resolution of the violation is of such a nature or scope that it cannot be reasonably completed within the stated time requirements as set forth above, the Code Enforcement Officer may issue a written extension to a maximum of 60 days, provided that such extension does not endanger the health and welfare of the occupants, adjacent property, or the public.
Regulatory compliance. It shall be the duty of every owner to comply with the regulations of this chapter, and any and all applicable codes or ordinances of the Borough and all applicable federal, state, and county laws and regulations.
Permitted use. Except as allowable by applicable law or code(s), the owner shall prohibit the use of or by an occupant of a rental unit for any purpose other than as a residence.
Except as warranted by law enforcement activities of the Milton Borough Police Department in accordance with existing law, the Borough of Milton will not engage in the mediation of owner/occupant disputes with regard to property rights, etc. All such matters are the civil responsibility of the individuals involved.
The Code Enforcement Officer will respond appropriately with regard to any owner or occupant complaints regarding safety or maintenance issues within or upon the rental unit or adjacent common areas, and will take the appropriate action against the owner with regard to compliance with all applicable regulations or Borough Code.
Regardless of the terms of any verbal or written agreement between the owner and the occupant, the Borough shall regard the owner of any rental unit to be the sole entity responsible and liable for compliance with the regulations of this chapter. The owner shall be responsible to provide, secure or contract the performance of all routine maintenance or repairs necessary to ensure full compliance. In no case shall the existence of any agreement between the owner and the occupant relieve the owner of any responsibility or penalty under this chapter or other ordinances or codes regarding property maintenance.
The owner of a rental unit found to be in violation of this chapter shall be notified of the violation within 10 days of the occurrence and shall have 10 days after receipt of written notice from the Code Enforcement Officer to resolve the violation(s). Failure to resolve the violation(s) will result in the issuance of a citation in accordance with § 193-7 of this chapter.
In the event that three violations of this chapter, whether caused by either the owner or occupant, involving the same rental unit, occur within a one-year period beginning on the date of issuance of a rental occupancy permit, or within each one-year period thereafter, the Code Enforcement Officer may suspend the rental occupancy permit, resulting in the mandatory vacating of the rental unit.
In addition to the above penalties, failure to correct any violation above a Level One, may result in the revocation of a rental occupancy permit.
Any landlord aggrieved by the revocation of a rental occupancy permit shall have the right to request and have a hearing before the Milton Borough Council. If any person so aggrieved desires a hearing, they shall, within five days after receiving notice of the revocation, advise the Borough Manager, in writing, of the request for a hearing. The hearing before the Borough Council shall be held within 30 days from the date on which the Borough Council received the hearing request. Upon completion of the hearing, the Borough Council shall, within 10 days, issue a written decision based upon written findings of fact affirming or overturning the revocation of the rental occupancy permit.