[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the Municipality of Murrysville as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 11-1-2017 by Ord. No. 981-17]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former Article I, Registration of Tenants, adopted 10-7-1998 by Ord. No. 504-98, as amended.
This article is enacted to provide for the health, safety and welfare of the inhabitants of the Municipality of Murrysville by calling for the inspection of all residential rental properties in the Municipality of Murrysville.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meaning indicated, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context:
- DWELLING UNIT
- One or more rooms used for living and sleeping purposes arranged for occupancy by one or more persons. A single dwelling unit is one that includes complete, independent living facilities for one or more tenants, which may include permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking and sanitation.
- Any person who lets, rents, leases or otherwise allows other persons to occupy or use real estate or portions of real estate owned by or under the management or in the control of the landlord.
- The owner or owners of the fee simple title of a rental unit or of a beneficial and equitable interest therein or a lesser estate thereon. The following person, persons, firms or corporations are included in the definition of "owner" of a rental unit: a mortgagee or vendee in possession, assignee of rents, receiver, executor, administrator, trustee, lessee, agent or any other person, firm, corporation, partnership or other entity directly or indirectly in control of a structure, dwelling, building in which a rental unit is located or of an individual rental unit.
- Any individual, partnership, association, firm or corporation.
- RESIDENTIAL RENTAL UNIT
- A room or rooms constituting a separate, independent housekeeping unit that is physically separated from any other room, dwelling unit or rooming unit in the same structure, which is made available for occupancy by a tenant. For the purposes of this article, a "residential rental unit" shall include rooms, dwelling units or other rooming units, boarding units and lodging units, or like facilities made available for occupancy by a tenant, boarder or person seeking lodging.
- ROOMING UNIT (or BOARDING UNIT or LODGING UNIT)
- A room or rooms constituting a separate, independent housekeeping unit that is physically separated from any other room, dwelling unit or rooming unit in the same structure. The rooming unit may contain living and sleeping facilities, but not necessarily cooking or eating facilities, intended for occupancy by no more than one person or family.
- A person who has the use, either by himself or with others, of a dwelling unit or a business unit owned by another person.
Registration and management agent. Every owner of a rental unit, as above defined, shall file with the Municipal Code Enforcement Officer, within 60 days after the adoption of this article, a written registration statement and identify a management agent on forms to be supplied by the Municipal Code Enforcement Officer.
Occupancy permit (renewable). A renewable occupancy permit, which shall automatically expire three years from the date of issuance, shall be required for each unit within the Municipality of Murrysville that includes one or more residential rental units.
Fee. A fee of $25 shall be paid by the owner for the registration of the rental unit(s). A fee shall be paid by the landlord to cover the inspection provided for in this article and the issuance of the certificate. The fee shall be $35 for the first unit and $20 per unit thereafter. For structures with eight units or more, 25% of the total number of units will be inspected at the discretion of the Municipality. There will be a reinspection fee of $30 per unit. The fee shall be payable at the time of application and before inspection. Council may, by resolution, amend the fee from time to time.
Registration. The owner will provide a description of the rental unit by street number, tax I.D. parcel number and apartment number or other indicia sufficient to distinguish the rental unit from all others. The name and business address of such owner, together with his residence and business telephone number or, if such owner is a corporation, the name, telephone number and address of such corporation and the name. If the owner of the rental unit is a partnership, the written registration statement shall include the name, business address, and business telephone numbers of all natural persons who are partners. If an owner is a limited liability company, then the written registration statement shall contain the name and business address and business telephone number of all natural persons who are organizers. If an organizer is an entity other than a natural person, then the written registration statement shall include the name and business and residence address, and residence and business telephone numbers of all natural persons who are principals thereof; if an owner is a business trust, then the written registration statement shall include the name, business address, and business telephone numbers of the settlor, the trustee and the beneficiaries of the trust.
Designation of managing agent. The name, business address and business telephone numbers of a natural person within who shall be designated by such owners as a managing agent who may be accessible regarding maintenance and operation of such rental unit and who shall be designated as the person upon whom process may be served on behalf of the owner. The managing agent shall keep a current record of all the tenants, and their names and addresses, who are renting, leasing or living in each rental unit on the premises. This list shall be available for inspection by the Code Enforcement Officer at reasonable times. There shall be endorsed upon the registration statement a written consent to such designation as managing agent signed by such managing agent. Nothing contained in this section shall be construed as preventing a corporation, which is an owner of a rental unit, from designating as its managing agent with respect thereto any officer of such corporation who meets the requirements of this subsection as to the location of the residence of a managing agent. Any designation as managing agent made pursuant to the provisions of this section shall remain in full force and effect until changed or terminated as hereinafter provided. Any owner may terminate the designation of a managing agent by filing with the Municipal Code Enforcement Officer a written designation of a new managing agent made in conformity with the provisions hereinabove. If any owner shall fail to file a designation of a new managing agent with the Municipal Code Enforcement Officer in conformity with the provisions herein and within the following time periods, such owner shall be guilty of a violation of this article.
Occupancy permit. From the effective date of this article, prior to initial occupancy of any structure or part thereof as a residential rental unit or upon notice from the Municipality to landlords or owners of existing residential rental units as provided hereunder, and every three years after issuance of any initial or renewed residential rental unit occupancy permit issued hereafter, all owners of residential rental units within the Municipality shall be required to submit to the Municipality an application in the form as required by the Municipality's Code Enforcement Officer and obtain a renewable occupancy permit for any residential rental units within the Municipality. An occupancy permit may be renewed only by making application as provided in this article. Applications for renewal should be made at least 30 days prior to the expiration date, and when made fewer than 30 days before the expiration date, the pendency of the application will not prevent the expiration of the license. Upon the owner's or landlord's failure to timely apply for and obtain renewal prior to expiration of any occupancy permit issued hereunder, Murrysville may send the owner or landlord of the property or the owner's legal agent a notice of noncompliance with this article, along with an application for renewal and request for inspection. The owner/agent shall, within 30 days from the date of such municipal notice, submit a completed application for renewal of its occupancy permit and shall schedule the inspection with the Code Enforcement Officer.
The Code Enforcement Officer shall enter and inspect all structures for which an application for an occupancy permit or renewal thereof has been made. The Code Enforcement Officer shall determine whether the property is in compliance with applicable municipal ordinances, including, without limitation, the Zoning Ordinance, the Property Maintenance Code Ordinance, and applicable fire codes.
The Code Enforcement Officer shall issue an occupancy permit or the renewal thereof to the landlord, owner or owner's legal agent of any building if the inspection discloses that the building or occupancy is in compliance with all applicable municipal ordinances.
The Code Enforcement Officer shall deny issuance of an occupancy permit or the renewal thereof to the landlord, owner or owner's legal agent of any building if the inspection discloses that the building or occupancy is in violation of any applicable municipal ordinances, in which case no occupancy permit or renewal shall be issued and the building's occupancy permit shall be suspended until all repairs have been made to eliminate any substandard condition and bring the structure into compliance with the applicable municipal ordinances. Nothing herein shall prohibit the Code Enforcement Officer, upon good cause shown, from issuing a temporary occupancy permit pending completion of necessary repairs and reinspection, where the Code Enforcement Officer, in his sole discretion, is satisfied that such temporary occupancy does not pose a danger to the health, safety and welfare of the building's tenants or to other persons or property within the Municipality. In such case, the Code Enforcement Officer may require the posting of security with the Municipality in an amount estimated by the Municipality to be reasonably necessary to assure the completion of such repairs.
All inspections under this article shall be conducted at reasonable times with prior notice to the applicant, owner, landlord, manager, tenants of occupied units or the agent of the owner, and subject to constitutional protections, including those pertaining to unreasonable searches and seizures. Prior to seeking entry to conduct an inspection hereunder, the Code Enforcement Officer shall display proper credentials, including photo identification, as shall have been approved by the Chief Administrator. If permission to enter to conduct an inspection as authorized under this article is not obtained or is refused by an applicant, owner, landlord, manager, tenant or occupant, the inspection of any such unit or building shall not be conducted, and the Code Enforcement Officer is hereby authorized to pursue recourse as provided by law.
Nothing in this article is intended to nor shall it be deemed to restrict or prevent any other inspection by the Code Enforcement Officer of any residential rental property or unit within the Municipality of Murrysville at any time upon proper cause shown and/or as otherwise provided or authorized under law.
Nothing in this article shall be deemed to restrict the rights of the owners or tenants of a lawful nonconforming use under the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code and the Municipality's Zoning Ordinance.
Exclusions. The requirements of this article shall not apply to any person excluded or exempted by law from application of the requirements of this article, nor to hotels, motels nor nursing homes, as nursing homes are defined in the Zoning Ordinance of the Municipality; provided, however, that this exclusion shall not be available for and this article shall be fully applicable to any and all hotels and/or motels which permit or have continued occupancy by one or more tenants for a period in excess of three consecutive months. Such hotel and/or motel shall lose this exclusion and shall comply with the terms of this article within 10 days of such occurrence.
Any person who shall violate any provision of this article, including failure to timely apply for an occupancy permit or renewal thereof; failure to submit to proper inspection; failure to file any required reports; filing inaccurate, untimely or incomplete applications or reports; or for any other violation of this article, shall, upon conviction thereof, be sentenced to pay a fine of not less than $300 or more than the maximum fine as permitted under Pennsylvania law at the time of the violation.
For the purpose of this article, each day a person is in violation of any provision of this article shall be considered a separate offense.
Nothing contained herein shall be deemed to preclude the Municipality from seeking other relief or avail itself of any remedy that may be at law or in equity to prevent continuing violations of the terms of this article or of any other ordinance found to exist as a result of the Code Enforcement Officer's inspections conducted hereunder; nor shall any provision of this article be deemed to prevent the Municipality from instituting other legal proceedings and seeking relief in the courts of equity of the commonwealth if the Municipality shall deem such action necessary to abate any violation of this or any other municipal ordinance.