Township of Rochester, PA
Beaver County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the Township of Rochester 7-7-2005 by Ord. No. 410.
Editor’s Note: This ordinance also superseded former Ch. 114, Rental Units, adopted 6-18-1985 by Ord. No. 309 as Art. 317 of the 1985 Codified Ordinances, as amended in its entirety 7-19-2001 by Ord. No. 388.
amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES

Building construction — See Ch. 53.

Fire prevention — See Ch. 76.

Nuisances — See Ch. 101.

Housing standards — See Ch. 110, Art. III.

§ 114-1
Definitions. 

§ 114-2
Owner's duties. 

§ 114-3
Occupant's duties. 

§ 114-4
Registration requirements. 

§ 114-5
Violations and penalties. 

§ 114-6
Notices; change in ownership or occupancy; several responsibility. 

§ 114-1 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:

DISRUPTIVE CONDUCT
Any form of conduct, action, incident, or behavior, perpetrated, caused, or permitted by any occupant or visitor of a regulated dwelling unit that is so loud, untimely (time of day), offensive, riotous, or that otherwise disturbs other persons of reasonable sensibility in their peaceful enjoyment of their premises such that a report is made to police complaining of such action, conduct, incident or behavior. It is not necessary that such action, conduct, incident, or behavior constitute a criminal offense, nor that criminal charges be filed against any person in order for a person to have perpetrated, caused, or permitted the commission of disruptive conduct as defined herein; provided, however, such shall not be deemed to have occurred unless the police shall investigate and make a determination that such did occur, and make a record of such occurrence.
DISRUPTIVE CONDUCT REPORT
A written report of disruptive conduct on a form to be prescribed therefor, to be completed by the police who actually investigate an alleged incident of disruptive conduct and which shall be maintained by the Township Code Enforcement Officer.
DWELLING
A building having one or more dwelling units.
DWELLING UNIT
A room or group of rooms within a dwelling and forming a single unit and used for living and sleeping purposes, having its own cooking facilities, and a bathroom with a toilet and a bathtub or shower.
GUEST
A person on the premises with the actual or implied consent of an occupant.
ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES
The occupant shall not engage in nor tolerate nor permit others on the premises to engage in any conduct declared illegal under the Pennsylvania Crimes Code (47 P.S. 1-101 et seq.) or the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act (35 P.S. 780-101 et seq.)
LANDLORD
One or more persons, jointly or severally, in whom is vested all or part of the legal title to the premises, or all or part of the beneficial ownership and a right to present use and enjoyment of the premises, including a mortgage holder in possession of a regulated rental unit. (Same as "owner.")
MANAGER
An adult individual designated by the owner of a regulated rental unit. The manager shall be the agent of the owner for service of process and receiving notices or demands and to perform the obligation of the owner under this chapter and under rental agreements with occupants.
MULTIPLE-UNIT DWELLING
A building containing three or more independent dwelling units, including, but not limited to, double houses, rowhouses, townhouses, condominiums, apartment houses, and conversion apartments.
OCCUPANCY LICENSE
The license issued to the owner of regulated rental units under this chapter, which is required for the lawful rental and occupancy of regulated rental units.
OCCUPANT
An individual who resides in a regulated rental unit, whether or not he or she is the owner thereof, with whom a legal relationship with the owner/landlord is established by a written lease or by the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
OWNER
One or more persons, jointly or severally, in whom is vested all or part of the legal title to the premises, or all or part of the beneficial ownership and a right to present use and enjoyment of the premises, including a mortgage holder in possession of a regulated rental unit.
OWNER-OCCUPIED DWELLING UNIT
A dwelling unit in which the owner resides on a regular, permanent basis.
PEACEFUL ENJOYMENT
The occupant shall conduct him or herself and require other persons, including, but not limited to, guests on the premises and within his or her regulated rental unit with his or her consent, to conduct themselves in a manner that will not disturb the peaceful enjoyment of adjacent or nearby dwellings by the persons occupying same.
PERSON
A natural person, partnership, corporation, unincorporated association, limited partnership, trust, or any other entity.
POLICE
The police department of Rochester Township or any properly authorized member or officer thereof or any other law enforcement agency having jurisdiction within Rochester Township.
PREMISES
Any parcel of real property in Rochester Township, including the land and all buildings and appurtenant structures or appurtenant elements on which one or more regulated rental units is located.
RENTAL AGREEMENT
A written agreement between owner/landlord and occupant/tenant supplemented by the addendum embodying the terms and conditions concerning the use and occupancy of a specified regulated rental unit or premises.
RESIDENTIAL USE
The occupant shall, unless otherwise permitted by applicable law or ordinance, occupy or use his or her regulated rental unit for no other purpose than as a residence.
TENANT
An individual who resides in a regulated rental unit, whether or not he or she is the owner thereof with whom a legal relationship with the owner./landlord is established by a written lease or by the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. (Same as "OCCUPANT.")
TOWNSHIP
Rochester Township, Beaver County, Pennsylvania.
UNRELATED
Of or pertaining to two or more PERSONS not related to one another through blood to the level of second cousins, adoption or marriage.

§ 114-2 Owner's duties.

A. 

General.

(1) 

It shall be the duty of every owner to keep and maintain all regulated rental units in compliance with all applicable codes and provisions of all other applicable state laws and regulations and local ordinances and to keep such property in good and safe condition.

(2) 

As provided for in this chapter, every owner shall be responsible for regulating the proper and lawful use and maintenance of every dwelling which he, she or it owns. As provided for in this chapter, every owner shall also be responsible for regulating the conduct and activities of the occupants of every regulated rental unit which he, she or it owns in the Township, which conduct or activity takes place as such regulated rental unit or its premises.

(3) 

In order to achieve those ends, every owner of a regulated rental unit shall regulate the conduct and activity of the occupants thereof, both contractually and through enforcement, as more fully set forth below.

(4) 

This section shall not be construed as diminishing or relieving, in any way, the responsibility of occupants or their guests for their conduct or activity; nor shall it be construed as an assignment, transfer, or projection over or onto any owner of any responsibility or liability which occupants or their guests may have as a result of their conduct or activity under any private cause of action, civil or criminal enforcement proceeding, or criminal law; nor shall this section be construed so as to require an owner to indemnify or defend occupants or their guests when any such action or proceeding is brought against the occupant based upon the occupant's conduct or activity. Nothing herein is intended to impose any additional civil/criminal liability upon owners other than that which is imposed by existing law.

(5) 

This chapter is not intended to, nor shall its effect be, to limit any other enforcement remedies which may be available to the Township against an owner, occupant, or guest thereof.

B. 

Designation of manager. Every owner who is not a full-time resident of Rochester Township or elsewhere in an area that is a local call from Rochester Township, shall designate a manager who shall reside in an area that is a local call from Rochester Township. If the owner is a corporation, a manager shall be required if an officer of the corporation does not reside in the aforesaid calling area. The officer shall perform the same function as a manager. If the owner is a partnership, a manager shall be required if a partner does not reside in the aforesaid calling area. Said partner shall perform the same function as a manager. The manager shall be the agent of the owner for service of process and receiving of notices and demands, as well as for performing the obligations of the owner under this chapter and under rental agreements with occupants. The identity, address and telephone number(s) of a person who is designated as a manager hereunder shall be provided by the owner or manager to the Township, and such information shall be kept current and updated as it changes.

C. 

Disclosure.

(1) 

The owner or manager shall disclose to the occupant in writing on or before the commencement of the tenancy:

(a) 

The name, address and telephone number of the manager; if applicable; and

(b) 

The name, address and telephone number of the owner of the premises.

(2) 

Before an occupant initially enters into or renews a rental agreement for a regulated rental unit, the owner or manager shall furnish the occupant with the most recent inspection report relating to the property.

D. 

Maintenance of premises.

(1) 

The owner shall maintain the premises in compliance with the Codes of the Township and shall regularly perform all routine maintenance, including lawn mowing and ice and snow removal and shall promptly make any and all repairs necessary to fulfill this obligation.

(2) 

The owner and occupant may agree that the occupant is to perform specific repairs, maintenance tasks, alterations, or remodeling. In such case, however, such agreement between the owner and occupant must be in writing. Such an agreement may be entered into between the owner and occupant only if:

(a) 

The agreement of the parties is entered into in good faith and not for the purpose of evading the obligations of the owner or occupant; and

(b) 

The agreement does not diminish or affect the obligation of the owner to other occupants in the premises.

(3) 

In no case shall the existence of any agreement between the owner and occupant relieve an owner of any responsibility under this chapter or other ordinances or codes for maintenance of the premises.

E. 

Written rental agreement.

(1) 

Rental agreements. All rental agreements for regulated dwelling units shall be in writing and shall be supplemented with the addendum. No oral leases and no oral modifications thereof are permitted. All disclosure and information required to be given to occupants by the owner shall be furnished before the signing of the rental agreement. The owner shall provide occupant with copies of the rental agreement and Addendum upon execution.

(2) 

Terms and conditions. The owner and occupant may include in a rental agreement terms and conditions not prohibited by this chapter or other applicable ordinances, regulations, and laws, including rent, term of the agreement, and other provisions governing the rights and obligations of the parties.

(3) 

Prohibited provisions. Except as otherwise provided by this chapter, no rental agreement may provide that the occupant or owner agrees to waive or to forego rights or remedies under this chapter. A provision prohibited by this subsection included in a rental agreement is unenforceable.

(4) 

Attachment of chapter to rental agreement. Following the effective date of this chapter, a summary hereof in a form provided to the owner by the Township, at the time of licensing, shall be attached to each rental agreement delivered by or on behalf of an owner when any such agreement is presented for signing to any occupant. If a summary has been provided when the rental agreement was first executed, a summary does not have to be provided upon renewal. Where a rental agreement has been entered into prior to the effective date of this chapter, the owner shall provide the occupants with a copy of the summary within 60 days after enactment of this chapter.

F. 

Complaints. The owner shall reply promptly to reasonable complaints and inquiries from occupants.

G. 

Landlord/Tenant Act. The owner shall comply with all provisions of the Landlord-Tenant Act of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

H. 

Common areas. Where an owner does not regulate the use of common areas and the behavior of occupants and guests in the common areas, the owner shall be directly responsible for the behavior of occupants and guests in the common area as if the owner were an occupant.

I. 

License fees.

(1) 

One-family and two-family rental units.

(a) 

Every owner applying for a license initially shall supply all information requested by the Township and pay an initial license fee as follows:

[1] 

One-family rental unit: initial license fee of $50.

[2] 

Two-family rental unit: initial license fee of $50.

(b) 

Thereafter, the subsequent fee for annual license for one- and two-family units will be assessed at $25 per unit.

(2) 

Multifamily.

(a) 

Multifamily, three to 10: $100 plus $10 per unit initial license fee.

(b) 

Multifamily, over 10: $125 plus $10 per unit initial license fee.

(c) 

Thereafter, the subsequent fee for annual license for multifamily units three to 10 and over 10 units will be $20 per unit.

(3) 

Rooming houses, dormitories and hotels.

(a) 

Fee: $125 plus $10 per unit initial license fee.

(b) 

Thereafter, the subsequent fee for annual license for rooming houses, dormitories and hotels will be $15 per unit.

J. 

Inspection fees.

[Added 2-15-2007 by Ord. No. 421]

(1) 

Prior to renting a unit, the owner of a rental unit must schedule an inspection with the Township so that a Code Enforcement Officer can inspect each rental unit. A fee of $45 must be prepaid by the owner to the Township prior to an inspection being scheduled. Inspections are to be conducted once every six years after initial licensing, unless there is a change in occupant. Prior to a new tenant moving into a rental unit, a new inspection is required. An occupancy fee of $15 is also required for each rental unit every time a new tenant resides in a rental unit. Payment must be made to the Township.

(2) 

The Board of Commissioners of the Township of Rochester may by resolution amend this Subsection J and the associated fees based on studies determined to be just and reasonable associated with this chapter.

§ 114-3 Occupant's duties.

A. 

General. The occupant shall comply with all obligations imposed upon occupants by this chapter, all applicable codes and ordinances of the Township and all applicable provisions of state law.

B. 

Health and safety regulations.

(1) 

The maximum number of persons permitted in any regulated rental unit at any time shall not exceed the standards outlined in the Township Ordinance regarding BOCA Basic Property Maintenance Code Section PM 405.0 concerning occupant load. The maximum number of persons permitted in the common areas of any multiple-unit dwelling at any time shall not exceed one person for each 15 square feet of common area on the premises.

(2) 

The occupant shall dispose from his or her regulated rental unit all rubbish, garbage, and other waste in a clean and safe manner prescribed in the ordinance regarding BOCA Basic Maintenance Code and separate and place for collection all recyclable materials in compliance with the recycling plan of Rochester Township.

C. 

Peaceful enjoyment. The occupant shall conduct himself or herself and require other persons, including, but not limited to, guests on the premises and within his or her regulated rental unit with his or her consent, to conduct themselves in a manner that will not disturb the peaceful enjoyment of the premises by others, and that will not disturb the peaceful enjoyment of adjacent or nearby dwellings by the persons occupying same.

D. 

Residential use. The occupant shall, unless otherwise permitted by applicable law or ordinance, occupy or use his or her regulated rental unit for no other purpose than as a residence.

E. 

Illegal activities. The occupant shall not engage in, nor tolerate nor permit others on the premises to engage in, any conduct declared illegal under the Pennsylvania Crimes Code (18 Pa C.S.A. § 101, et seq.) or Liquor Code (47 P.S. § 1-100 et seq.), or the controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act (35 P.S. § 780-101 et seq.).

F. 

Disruptive conduct.

(1) 

The occupant shall not engage in, nor tolerate nor permit others on the premises to engage in disruptive conduct, or other violations of the chapter.

(2) 

When police investigate an alleged incident of disruptive conduct, the police officer shall complete a disruptive conduct report upon a finding that the reported incident did, in his or her judgment, constitute "disruptive conduct" as defined herein. The information filled in on said report shall include, if possible, the identity or identities of the alleged perpetrator(s) of the disruptive conduct and all other obtainable information, including the factual basis for the disruptive conduct requested on the prescribed form. Where the police make such investigation, said police officer shall then submit the completed disruptive conduct report to the Code Enforcement Officer. In all cases, the Code Enforcement Officer shall mail a copy of the disruptive conduct report to the owner or manager within three working days of the occurrence of the alleged disruptive conduct.

(3) 

The third occurrence of disruptive conduct within a one-year period will result in an automatic eviction.

G. 

Compliance with rental agreement. The occupant shall comply with all lawful provisions of the rental agreement entered into between the owner and occupant. Failure to comply may result in the eviction of the occupant by the owner.

H. 

Damage to premises. The occupant shall not intentionally cause, nor permit nor tolerate others to cause, damage to the premises. Conduct which results in damages in excess of $500 shall be considered a violation of this chapter.

I. 

Inspection of premises. The occupant shall permit inspections by the Code Enforcement Officer or his designated representative of the premises at reasonable times, upon reasonable notice.

§ 114-4 Registration requirements.

A. 

Registration requirements. The owners of each dwelling listed herein will be subject to the following registration requirements and fees:

(1) 

Each person who allows a one-family dwelling to be occupied by a person or persons other than the owner of the one-family dwelling, and where this action by the owner has occurred for a period in excess of one year, shall be required to annually file with the Code Official rental unit registration.

(2) 

Each person who operates a two-family dwelling shall be required to annually file with the Code Official rental unit registration.

(3) 

The rental unit registration and accompanying registration fees shall be filed and paid on or before December 31 of each calendar year.

B. 

Inspection periodic inspection. The Code Official or designated representative shall inspect each one-family and two-family dwelling at least once on or before the sixth annual anniversary of the initial inspection following the filing of the rental unit registration. These periodic inspections shall occur notwithstanding more frequent inspections which may be required in the investigation of complaints regarding the dwelling.

(1) 

Inspection issuance. The Code Official or designated representative shall, upon receipt of an application for a license, inspect the rental dwelling and in the event such rental dwelling is in compliance with this Code, the license applied for shall be issued.

(2) 

Noncompliance. In the event the rental dwelling is not in compliance with this Property Maintenance Code, the Code Official shall notify the applicant in writing and shall specify the noncompliance with this Property Maintenance Code. Upon completion of the changes, the Code Official shall issue the license applied for.

C. 

Multifamily dwelling display of license. Every license shall be displayed in a conspicuous place with the multifamily dwelling.

(1) 

License duration. Every multifamily dwelling license shall remain in force for one year from the date of issuance.

(2) 

License transfers. No license required by the chapter shall be transferable unless the new operator shall give notice in writing to the Code Official within 10 days after the transfer in any manner of ownership or control of the interest in such multifamily dwelling. Such notice shall include the name and address of the person succeeding to the ownership or control.

D. 

Violation; license revocation; notice. Whenever the Code Official determines that there exists a violation of the Property Maintenance Code, it shall serve notice as provided in Sections PM 107.1 and PM 107.2 and may notify the owner or operator in writing that unless the notice of violation is complied with, the rental dwelling license may be revoked. After the expiration of the time for compliance as stated on the notice of violation, a reinspection shall be made to determine compliance. If the violation has not been corrected and no appeal is pending, the Code Official may revoke the multifamily dwelling license and in such event shall serve written notice upon the owner or operator of such action.

E. 

Appeal. Any person whose rental dwelling license has been revoked, or whose application for license to operate a multifamily dwelling has been denied, may appeal to the Board.

F. 

Licensing of rooming houses, dormitories and hotels. No person shall operate a rooming house, dormitory or hotel unless he has first obtained from the Code Official a license to operate such rooming house, dormitory or hotel.

(1) 

Compliance with Code. The Code Official shall not issue a license unless the rooming house, dormitory or hotel for which the license is required is in compliance with the Property Maintenance Code.

(2) 

Number of occupants specified. Every license shall specify the maximum number of occupants allowed to occupy the rooming house, dormitory or hotel.

(3) 

Every license shall be displayed in a conspicuous place within the rooming house, dormitory or hotel.

§ 114-5 Violations and penalties.

A. 

Basis for violation.

(1) 

It shall be unlawful for any person, as either owner or manager of a regulated rental unit for which a license is required, to operate without a valid, current license issued by the Township authorizing such operation.

(2) 

It shall also be unlawful for any person, either owner or manager, to allow the number of occupants of a regulated rental unit to exceed the maximum limit as set forth on the license, or to violate any other provision of this chapter. It shall be unlawful for any occupant to violate this chapter.

B. 

Penalties. Any violation of this chapter shall constitute a summary offense punishable, upon conviction thereof by a District Justice, by a fine not to exceed $1,000 plus costs, by a term of imprisonment not to exceed 30 days. Each day of violation shall constitute a separate and distinct offense.

C. 

Nonexclusive remedies. The penalty provisions of this chapter and the license nonrenewal, suspension and revocation procedures provided in this chapter shall be independent, nonmutually exclusive separate remedies, all of which shall be available to the Township as may be deemed appropriate for carrying out the purposes of this chapter. The remedies and procedures provided in this chapter for violation hereof are not intended to supplant or replace, to any degree, the remedies and procedures available to the Township in the case of a violation of any other code or ordinance of the Township, whether or not such other Code or ordinance is referenced in this chapter and whether or not an ongoing violation of such other Code or Ordinance is cited as the underlying ground for a finding of a violation of this chapter.

§ 114-6 Notices; change in ownership or occupancy; several responsibility.

A. 

Notices.

(1) 

For purposes of this chapter, any notice required hereunder to be given to a manager shall be deemed as notice given to the owner.

(2) 

There shall be a rebuttable presumption that any notice required to be given to the owner under this chapter shall have been received by such owner if the notice was given to the owner in the manner provided by this chapter.

(3) 

A claimed lack of knowledge by the owner of any violation hereunder cited shall be no defense to license nonrenewal, suspension or revocation proceedings as long as all notices prerequisite to institution of such proceedings have been given and deemed received in accordance with the applicable provisions of this chapter.

B. 

Changes in ownership or occupancy. It shall be the duty of each owner of a regulated rental unit to notify the Code Enforcement Officer in writing of any change in ownership of the premises or of the number of regulated rental units on the premises. It shall be the duty of the owner to notify the Code Enforcement Officer in writing of any increase in the number of occupants in any regulated rental unit or of the changing of a dwelling unit from owner-occupied to nonowner-occupied, which thereby transforms the dwelling into a regulated rental unit for the purposes of this chapter. It shall be the duty of each owner to notify Rochester Township in writing of any change in occupancy (occupants).

C. 

Owners severally responsible. If any regulated rental unit is owned by more than one person, in any form of joint tenancy, as a partnership, or otherwise, each person shall be jointly and severally responsible for the duties imposed under the terms of this chapter, and shall be severally subject to prosecution for the violation of this chapter.