[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the Township of Nether Providence 9-10-1998 by Ord. No. 627. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Building construction — See Ch. 93.
Numbering of buildings — See Ch. 97.
Certificates of use and occupancy — See Ch. 103.
Electrical standards — See Ch. 118.
Fire prevention — See Ch. 133.
Garbage, rubbish and refuse — See Ch. 149.
Mechanical standards — See Ch. 165.
Plumbing — See Ch. 195.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 199.
Sewers — See Ch. 215.
Zoning — See Ch. 300.
Fees — See Ch. A310.
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Nether Providence Township Housing Code of 1998" or just the "Housing Code."
This chapter is enacted for the following purposes: to promote and protect the health, safety, morals and general welfare of the inhabitants of the township by providing for the abatement of overcrowded housing conditions; to ensure adequate lighting, heating, ventilation, access and egress; to avoid undue concentration of population; to prevent or correct unhygienic, unsanitary or unsafe conditions which might constitute a menace to residents and visitors in the township; and to conserve property values.
In interpreting and applying the provisions of this chapter, they shall be held to be the minimum requirements for the promotion of the public health, safety, morals and general welfare. Where the provisions of this chapter impose greater restrictions than those of any other ordinance or regulation, the provisions of this chapter shall control. Where the provisions of any statute, other ordinance or regulation impose greater restrictions than this chapter, the provisions of such statute, other ordinance or regulation shall control.
As used in this chapter, the following words shall have the following meanings:
- The portion of any dwelling partly underground but having less than half of its clear floor-to-ceiling height below the average grade of the adjoining ground.
- The portion of any dwelling having half or more than half of its clear floor-to-ceiling height below the average grade of the adjoining ground.
- CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
- The Code Enforcement Officer of the township.
- Any building which is used or intended to be used, in whole or in part, for living or sleeping by human occupants, provided that temporary housing shall not be regarded as a dwelling.
- DWELLING UNIT
- Any room or group of rooms located in a dwelling and forming a single habitable unit with facilities which are used or intended to be used for living, sleeping, cooking and eating.
- The control and elimination of insects, rodents or other pests by eliminating their harborage places; by removing or making inaccessible materials that may serve as their food; by poisoning, spraying, fumigating or trapping; or by any other recognized and legal pest elimination method.
- Solid waste from the preparation, cooking and dispensing of food and from the handling, storage and sale of produce.
- HABITABLE ROOM
- A room or enclosed floor space used or intended to be used for living, sleeping or eating purposes, excluding bathrooms, laundries, foyers, pantries, communicating corridors, stairways, closets, basements, cellars, recreation rooms and storage spaces.
- The presence within or around a dwelling of any insects, rodents or other pests.
- MULTIPLE-FAMILY DWELLING
- A building containing three or more families living independently of one another.
- Any person, including an owner or operator, living and sleeping in a dwelling, dwelling unit or rooming unit.
- OPENABLE AREA
- The part of a window or door which is available for unobstructed ventilation and which opens directly to the outdoors.
- Any person having charge, care, management or control of any dwelling or part thereof, in which dwelling units or rooming units are let.
- Any person who, alone or jointly or severally with others has:
- A. Legal title to any dwelling or dwelling unit, with or without accompanying actual possession thereof; or
- B. Charge, care or control of any dwelling or dwelling unit, as owner or agent of the owner, or as executor, administrator, trustee or guardian or the estate of the owner. Any such person thus representing the actual owner shall be bound to comply with the provisions of this chapter and of the rules and regulations adopted pursuant to this chapter, to the same extent as if he or she were the owner.
- An individual, firm, corporation, association or partnership.
- RENTAL UNIT
- Any dwelling or habitable room in a dwelling in which payment
is provided for use of that dwelling or habitable room as an occupant
by someone other than the owner.[Added 4-14-2011 by Ord. No. 758]
- ROOMING UNIT
- Any rented room or group of such rooms forming a single habitable unit used or intended to be used for living and sleeping, but not for cooking or eating purposes.
- Combustible and noncombustible waste materials, except garbage.
- Installed, furnished or provided by the owner or operator at his or her expense.
- TEMPORARY HOUSING
- Any tent, trailer or other structure used for human shelter which is designed to be transportable and which is not attached to the ground, to another structure or to any utility system on the same premises for more than 30 consecutive days.
The Code Enforcement Officer shall enforce the provisions of this Housing Code. In order to determine compliance with and to enforce the provisions of this Housing Code, the following provisions shall apply:
Inspection and access to dwellings. The Code Enforcement Officer and his or her agents are hereby authorized and directed to make inspections of the conditions of the dwelling, dwelling units, rooming units and premises located in the township. Upon display of proper identification and official authorization by the Code Enforcement Officer to inspect a specifically identified unit, a housing inspector is authorized to enter, examine and survey such units and premises on weekdays between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., or at such other time as may be necessary in an emergency, or as mutually agreed upon by the occupant and the Code Enforcement Officer or one of his or her agents.
Access for repairs. Every occupant of a dwelling unit or rooming unit shall grant to the owner, or to his or her agents or employees, free access to it at reasonable times for the purpose of making repairs or alterations to effect compliance with this Housing Code.
Notice of violation. All notices and orders shall be in conformity with Section PM-107.O, Notices and Orders, of the 1996 BOCA Property Maintenance Code.
Appeals from notices of violations. All appeals shall be in conformity with Section PM-111.0, Means of Appeal, of the 1996 BOCA Property Maintenance Code.
Effective date of notice of violation. Any notice served pursuant to Subsection C hereof shall automatically become an order if a written petition is not filed in the office of the Code Enforcement Officer within 20 days after such notice is filed.
Variances. The Board of Appeals may authorize a variance, upon written application, from the provisions of this Housing Code when, because of special conditions, undue hardship would result from the literal enforcement of such provisions and when such variance is consistent with the spirit of this Housing Code. In any instance where the Board of Appeals considers a request for such a variance, the Board of Appeals shall determine whether or not the unique circumstances for which the variance is sought were created by the present or former owners of the property or whether or not they are due to, or the result of, general conditions in the district in which the property is located.
Emergency action. All emergency actions shall be in conformity with Section PM-109.0, Emergency Measures, of 1996 BOCA Property Maintenance Code.
Dwelling unfit for human habitation. Whenever the Code Enforcement Officer finds that a dwelling constitutes a serious hazard to the health or safety of the occupants or to the public because it is dilapidated, unsanitary, vermin-infested, rodent-infested or lacking in basic facilities and equipment required by the Housing Code, he or she shall report such fact to the Board of Commissioners which may designate such dwelling as unfit for human habitation. Such designation shall be posted on the dwelling and shall specify the reason for such a finding. A notice of violation shall also be served in accordance with the provisions of Subsection C hereof. Any dwelling so designated shall be vacated within a reasonable time, as specified by the Board of Commissioners, and shall not again be used for human habitation until the hazard or violation has been eliminated or corrected and until the Board has removed the designation and given written approval for occupancy.
Abatement of violations. If a violation has not been corrected within the time designated for such correction and the Board of Commissioners finds that the continuation of such violation constitutes a public nuisance or hazard, it may order the correction of such violation by another person, using township funds to accomplish such correction, and may charge the cost thereof to the violator, which cost may be collected as a municipal claim or in any other manner authorized by commonwealth law.
Adoption of rules and regulations. The Board of Commissioners is hereby authorized to make and adopt such procedural rules and regulations as it may deem necessary for the property enforcement of this Housing Code, provided that such procedural rules and regulations are not in conflict with the substantiative provisions of this Housing Code. Such rules and regulations shall have the same force and effect as the provisions of this Housing Code, and the penalty for a violation thereof shall be the same as the penalty for a violation of any of the provisions of this chapter.
Annual inspections; licenses.
[Amended 6-10-2011 by Ord. No. 753; 4-14-2011 by Ord. No. 758]
All rental units in any dwellings shall be inspected annually to determine compliance with this Housing Code. A separate inspection list will be generated and approved by resolution of the Board of Commissioners in compliance with the requirements of the Housing Code.
All such units that are determined to be in compliance with this Housing Code shall be issued a license which will be effective until December 31 of any calendar year, or until date of next annual inspection, whichever is later. Any unit not in compliance will be reinspected at an additional cost to the owner. After three consecutive failed inspections the Township Code Enforcement Officer will issue a citation for noncompliance.
Inspection for properties of 40 units and under 53 units. The Township will inspect 1/2 of the units in any one calendar year so each unit is inspected every two years. Common areas are to be inspected annually.
Inspection for properties of 53 and over. The Township will inspect 1/3 of the units in any one calendar year so each unit is inspected every three years or once every three years. Common areas are to be inspected annually.
Exemption from rental inspection.
Any rental unit used exclusively as an “assisted living unit,” as defined by the PA Department of Public Welfare (DPW) rules and regulations and is therefore inspected by PA DPW, is exempt from the Township’s inspection requirement for any year the unit is inspected by PA DPW. Proof of the PA DPW inspection must be provided to the Township within 30 days of its completion.
Any rental unit that is inspected by an insurance or mortgage company is exempted from the Township’s inspection requirement for any year that it is inspected by the company. Proof of this inspection must be provided to the Township within 30 days of its completion.
Registration of rental unit(s).
[Added 4-14-2011 by Ord. No. 758]
Owners are required to register all of their rental units located in the Township by completing a registration form and paying a one-time registration fee. Also, notice must be given to the Township upon changeover of a tenant within 30 days of the new tenant taking up occupancy in the rental unit.
Rental units must be registered within 30 days of passage of this section or within 60 days from when a tenant takes up occupancy within a rental unit.
Failure to comply with this registration requirement will result in the issuing of a citation by the Township’s Code Enforcement Officer.
In addition to any specific contractual agreements between owners and occupants with respect to responsibilities, the following shall apply:
Maintenance of premises. Every adult occupant of a dwelling unit or rooming unit shall be responsible for maintaining in a clean and sanitary condition the premises which he or she occupies or controls. Every owner of a building containing two or more dwelling and/or rooming units shall be responsible for maintaining in a clean and sanitary condition the shared or public areas within and around such building and premises.
Maintenance of equipment. Every occupant of a dwelling unit or rooming unit shall be responsible for the exercise of proper care in the use and operation of all plumbing fixtures, appliances and equipment therein. Every owner of a building containing two or more dwelling and/or rooming units shall be responsible for keeping supplied facilities in proper operating condition.
Waste disposal. Every occupant of a dwelling unit or rooming unit shall dispose of rubbish, garbage and other refuse in accordance with Chapter 149 of the Code. In a structure containing three or more dwelling and/or rooming units, it shall be the responsibility of the owner to assure that adequate rubbish and garbage containers are provided.
Extermination. The renter occupant of a dwelling containing a single dwelling unit shall be responsible for the extermination of any rodents, vermin or other pests therein or on the premises. In a structure containing two or more dwelling and/or rooming units, the occupant shall be responsible for such extermination whenever his or her unit is the only one infested. When, however, infestation of any unit is caused by failure of the owner to maintain such unit in a rodent-proof condition, or when two or more units within a structure are infested, extermination shall be the responsibility of the owner.
Discontinuation of utilities or facilities. No owner, operator or occupant shall cause any service, facility, equipment or utility, which is required to be supplied under the provisions of this Housing Code, to be removed from, shut off from or discontinued for any occupied dwelling unit or rooming unit, except for necessary repairs, alterations or emergencies.
Occupancy of vacant units. No person shall occupy or permit to be occupied by another any vacant dwelling unit or rooming unit unless or until it is in good repair, clean, sanitary, habitable and in full compliance with the provisions of this Housing Code.
Screening. Every owner of a building containing two or more dwelling and/or rooming units shall be responsible for providing every window, door or other opening to the exterior with effective protection against mosquitoes, flies and other insects.
Security locks. Every owner of a building containing two or more dwelling and/or rooming units shall provide security locks on all exterior entrances and exits. These security locks must meet reasonable standards promulgated by the Fire Marshal.
Minimum level of heat. Every owner of a building containing two or more dwelling units and/or rooming units shall be responsible for maintaining the temperature in every occupied unit in such building at not less than 68º F. during the hours from 7:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m.
All buildings or structures, dwellings, dwelling units or rooming units must comply with all of the requirements of the ordinances of Nether Providence Township and must comply with all the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania now in existence or hereafter adopted or passed by such township or commonwealth pertaining to building, plumbing, electrical, fire prevention, housing, health and safety or any other law or regulation pertaining to housing standards, including the 1996 Property Maintenance (BOCA) Code and all other BOCA Codes adopted by the township (collectively referred to as the "Building and Safety Codes").
Any person who violates any provision of this chapter as determined before a District Justice of competent jurisdiction shall pay a civil penalty of not more than $1,000. Any fine or levy shall be collectible along with the cost of prosecution before the District Justice as like fines and penalties are now by law collected. Each day of occupancy without an occupancy permit shall constitute a separate offense.