Township of New Britain, PA
Bucks County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents

§ 4-101 Short Title.

[Ord. 2017-01-04, 1/23/2017[1]]
This Part shall be known as the "Township of New Britain Use and Occupancy Ordinance."
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance superseded former Part 1, Occupancy of Buildings and Structures, adopted 7/14/2004 by Ord. 04-06-03.

§ 4-102 Definitions.

[Ord. 2017-01-04, 1/23/2017]
The following words and phrases, when used in this Part, shall have the meanings given to them in this section, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
DATE OF PURCHASE
The date on which title and right to possess the property transfer to the purchaser or, in cases where the property is sold pursuant to the Act of May 16, 1923 (P.L. 207, No. 153), referred to as the "Municipal Claim and Tax Lien Law,"[1] the first day following the right of redemption period authorized under the Municipal Claim and Tax Lien Law.
INSPECTION
An inspection of a property by the Township, incident to the resale or rental of that property, to determine the property's current compliance with the Township's ordinances, codes, rules and regulations.
MINOR VIOLATION
A violation of the Township's Building Code, Property Maintenance Code, Fire Code, or nuisance provisions that does not rise to the level of a substantial violation and is discovered during the course of an inspection and disclosed to the record owner or prospective purchaser of the property through issuance of an inspection report by the Township.
PERSON
Any individual; corporation; partnership; joint venture; firm; association; trust; governmental entity, corporation, or agency; or any combination thereof.
SUBSTANTIAL VIOLATION
A violation of the Township's Building Code, Property Maintenance Code, Fire Code, or nuisance provisions that makes a building, structure, or any part thereof unfit for human habitation and is discovered during the course of an inspection and disclosed to the record owner or prospective purchaser of the property through issuance of an inspection report by the Township.
TEMPORARY ACCESS CERTIFICATE
A certificate issued by the Township as a result of an inspection that identifies at least one substantial violation. The purpose of the certificate is to authorize the purchaser to access the property for the purpose of correcting substantial violations pursuant to the maintenance and repair provisions of this Part. No person may occupy a property during the term of a temporary access certificate, but the owner shall be permitted to store personalty that is related to the proposed use or occupancy of the property or is needed to repair the substantial violations during the time of the temporary access certificate.
TEMPORARY USE AND OCCUPANCY CERTIFICATE
A certificate issued by the Township as a result of an inspection that reveals at least one minor violation but no substantial violation. The purpose of the certificate is to authorize the purchaser to fully utilize or reside in the property while correcting minor violations pursuant to the maintenance and repair provisions of this Part.
TOWNSHIP
New Britain Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
UNFIT FOR HUMAN HABITATION
A condition which renders a building or structure, or any part thereof, dangerous or injurious to the health, safety, or physical welfare of an occupant or the occupants of neighboring dwellings. The condition may include substantial violations of a property that show evidence of: a significant increase to the hazards of fire or accident; inadequate sanitary facilities; vermin infestation; or a condition of disrepair, dilapidation or structural defects such that the cost of rehabilitation and repair would exceed 1/2 of the agreed-upon purchase price of the property.
USE AND OCCUPANCY CERTIFICATE
A certificate issued by the Township stipulating that the property meets all applicable Township ordinances, codes, rules and regulations and may be used and/or occupied as intended.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 7101 et seq.

§ 4-103 Certificate Required.

[Ord. 2017-01-04, 1/23/2017]
1. 
Applications for a use and occupancy certificate shall be obtained and filed with the Township in accordance with the Township's Fee Resolution, adopted and revised from time to time by the Board of Supervisors.
2. 
Every person seeking a certificate to occupy any premises shall file a use and occupancy certificate application with the Township, setting forth the name of the applicant, the location of the premises, the name of the owner, the address of the owner, the nature of the proposed use of the building, and, if for residential purposes, the names of all occupants.
3. 
A use and occupancy certificate is required before any new occupants may occupy, or reoccupy, any structure.

§ 4-104 Inspection and Occupancy Requirements.

[Ord. 2017-01-04, 1/23/2017]
1. 
All structures shall be subject to inspection by authorized Township officials for compliance with the Township's Building Code, Property Maintenance Code, Fire Code, and nuisance provisions prior to issuance of a use and occupancy certificate. Inspections should be held before the sale or rental of the property, as the owner of the property shall be responsible for any corrections or repairs necessary to satisfy violations found by the inspection. Inspections shall be held not more than 45 days and not less than 14 days prior to the settlement date (intended date of purchase) or rental of said property.
2. 
In addition, the following requirements must be met:
A. 
All fireplaces, chimneys, and wood stoves will be visually inspected, and any firesafety hazards shall be noted for correction by the property owner.
B. 
All fire alarm systems shall be inspected and certified to be in proper working order by an independent inspector. An inspection report will be filed with the Township.
C. 
All sidewalks, curbing and driveway aprons shall be inspected to be in proper working order, and any tripping hazards or faulty concrete shall be noted for correction by the property owner.
3. 
Nothing contained in this Part shall be construed to require any owner of tangible personal property held for the purpose of manufacturing in the ordinary course of his business, or held for the purpose of sale or resale in the ordinary course of his business, to obtain a certificate to transport or remove such tangible personal property from or to any storehouse, or house or usable place of business; and nothing contained in this Part shall be construed to require any hotel, lodging house, or rooming house to obtain a certificate for the use of space or rooms in such buildings by transient guests.

§ 4-105 Issuance of Certificates and Correction of Violations.

[Ord. 2017-01-04, 1/23/2017]
1. 
A certificate shall be issued as follows:
A. 
If the inspection reveals no violations, a use and occupancy certificate shall be issued.
B. 
If the inspection reveals at least one minor violation and no substantial violations, the minor violation(s) shall be specifically noted on the inspection report, and a temporary use and occupancy certificate shall be issued.
C. 
If the inspection reveals at least one substantial violation, all violations (minor and substantial) shall be specifically noted on the inspection report, and a temporary access certificate shall be issued.
D. 
Neither type of temporary certificate shall be issued until the applicant provides the Township with a written statement, signed by the buyers of the property, that the buyers have been provided a copy of the Township's inspection report and acknowledge that they will be responsible to correct any violations still existing on the property after the date of purchase.
2. 
Within 12 months of the date of purchase ("correction period"), the purchaser of a property which an inspection found to contain a violation shall, at the purchaser's option, either:
A. 
Bring the property into compliance with the Township's ordinances, codes, rules and regulations to correct the noted violation(s); or
B. 
Demolish the building or structure in accordance with law.
3. 
At the written request of the property owner, the Township may allow for a longer correction period to bring the property into compliance, at the Township's sole discretion. The correction period, however, cannot be shortened to less than 12 months.
4. 
Reinspection of Property.
A. 
At the expiration of the correction period, or before that time if requested by the property owner, the Township shall reinspect the property for the purpose of determining whether or not the violation(s) noted in the inspection report have been fully and properly corrected.
B. 
If a temporary access certificate has been issued and the reinspection finds that the noted substantial violations have been corrected but the minor violations have not yet been corrected, the Township shall issue a temporary use and occupancy certificate, which shall be valid for the time remaining on the correction period for the original temporary access permit.
C. 
If the reinspection finds that all noted violations have been fully and properly corrected, the Township shall issue a use and occupancy certificate for the property.
5. 
Failure to comply with the requirements of this section shall result in the following:
A. 
Revocation of the temporary certificate.
B. 
The purchaser being subject to any and all Township ordinances or codes relating to the occupation of a property without a use and occupancy certificate, including new deadlines for correction of violations per appropriate codes.
C. 
The purchaser being personally liable for the costs of maintenance, repairs, and/or demolition sufficient to correct the cited violations, and a fine of not less than $1,000 and not more than $10,000.
6. 
The requirements of this section do not apply when a previous violation of a Township ordinance, code, rule or regulation, for which a fine, penalty, judgment to abate or correct, or judgment at law or in equity was imposed by a Magisterial District Judge, a court of common pleas, or other court, prior to purchase. In such instances, the Township may refuse, at its sole discretion, to issue any type of certificate until the violation has been fully and property corrected and any fine, penalty, and/or judgment has been fully paid, fulfilled, addressed, satisfied, and/or complied with.

§ 4-106 Applicability.

[Ord. 2017-01-04, 1/23/2017]
1. 
Applicability. Except as set forth in Subsection 2 below, this Part shall not apply to, and the Township shall not require any type of certificate for, a real estate transfer to any of the following entities which takes title to property for the purpose of holding the property for sale to offset losses incurred on a loan or other obligation in default secured by a mortgage, deed of trust, or other lien on the property:
A. 
Bank.
B. 
Savings association.
C. 
Credit union.
D. 
Mortgage lender.
E. 
Financial institution similar to an institution listed in Subsection 1A through D.
F. 
Subsidiary of a financial institution listed in Subsection 1A through E.
2. 
Exception. An entity not subject to this Part under Subsection 1 above may be required by the Township, at its sole discretion, to correct a substantial violation prior to transferring the property to a third-party purchaser or renter.

§ 4-107 Tenant Registration.

[Ord. 2017-01-04, 1/23/2017]
In addition to all other provisions of this Part, it shall be the duty of any owner (or his designated agent) of an apartment complex, townhouse, PRD, multifamily dwelling, or other residential structure to supply the names and addresses of any and all new tenants to New Britain Township within 15 days of occupancy of the dwelling unit by these new tenants. This information shall be in writing.

§ 4-108 Annual Inspection for Firesafety.

[Ord. 2017-01-04, 1/23/2017]
1. 
All buildings and structures falling under the commercial, institutional, and industrial building code use groups, and all hotels, motels, boardinghouses, and similar buildings and structures, shall be inspected on an annual basis for compliance with the then currently adopted Township Fire Code.
2. 
If the Township's firesafety inspection finds violations, the property owner and/or tenant will have 30 days from receipt of written notice of these violations to provide a viable plan to the Code Enforcement Department for bringing the property into compliance in a timely manner. The Code Enforcement Department will have the final determination whether or not a submitted plan is viable and timely.

§ 4-109 Penalties.

[Ord. 2017-01-04, 1/23/2017]
Any person who has violated or permitted the violation of the provisions of this Part, upon being found liable therefor in a civil enforcement proceeding commenced by the Township, shall pay a judgment of not more than $600, plus all court costs, including reasonable attorneys' fees incurred by the Township as a result thereof. Each day that a violation continues shall constitute a separate violation. Each lot or dwelling violating any provision of this Part shall constitute a separate violation.