Township of Kingston, PA
Luzerne County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
See also: Property Maintenance Code, Chapter 5, Part 5.
[Adoptedx Ord. 2000-1, 2/9/2000, § 1]
Every owner of a residential or commercial rental unit or units must file a list of all tenants and their addresses with the Tax Collector's office on or before January 15th of each year and thereafter file a letter of notification within 30 days of any change occurring in occupancy from the initial list submitted.
[Adoptedx Ord. 2000-1, 2/9/2000, § 2]
Each owner or manager of a residential or commercial rental unit or units who fails to submit such a list or lists set forth above shall, upon conviction in a summary proceeding, be liable to a fine not exceeding $100 for each and every day that such a person is in violation of providing such a list on the date that it is due, it being the intent of this Part that such failure to file such list on its due date be a continuing violation that will not end until the day when such list(s) are ultimately filed.
[Adoptedx Ord. 2007-2, 12/12/2007, § 1]
1. 
This Part shall be known as the "Kingston Township Rental Inspection Ordinance."
2. 
The Township of Kingston has experienced problems with the maintenance of nonowner-occupied residential properties from time to time. The health, life, safety and welfare of occupants of these non-owner-occupied premises within the Township of Kingston is a great concern. The purpose of this Part is to enhance the safety of non-owner-occupied premises, structures and properties by a system of inspection(s), which focuses upon compliance with basic property maintenance code(s).
[Adoptedx Ord. 2007-2, 12/12/2007, § 2]
As used in this Part, the following terms have the following meaning indicated, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context:
CODE
Any property maintenance code, as the same may be amended from time to time, and as adopted or enacted by an Ordinance of the Township of Kingston.[1]
OWNER
Any person, copartnership, association, corporation or fiduciary having legal or equitable title, or any right, title or interest in any real property. Whenever used in any clause herein, the term "owner," as applied to copartnerships and associations, shall mean the partners or members thereof, and as applied to corporations, the officers thereof.
RESIDENTIAL UNIT
Any structurally enclosed area or space including or intended to be used as living space, quarters, or unit for one or more persons.
REGULATED RENTAL UNIT/REGULATED DWELLING UNIT
A residential unit occupied by a person or persons other than the owner.
PUBLIC HOUSING UNIT
All housing units owned and occupied or managed by a public housing authority under contract with any local, county, state or federal housing agency. "Public housing unit" does not include Section 8 or other equivalent program(s).
STRUCTURE
Any thing that is built or constructed upon real property or a portion thereof.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 5, Code Enforcement.
[Adoptedx Ord. 2007-2, 12/12/2007, § 3]
No residential unit shall be occupied by other than the owner thereof unless a certificate of occupancy is issued, following inspection thereof, and maintained on file by the owner or the owner's designated agent, as required by the provisions of this Part.
[Adoptedx Ord. 2007-2, 12/12/2007, § 4]
Residential units and residential rental units/regulated dwelling units shall be subject to inspection in accordance with the provisions of this Part.
A. 
Purpose. Inspections required by this Part shall be for the purpose of determining compliance with all of the terms and provisions of the International Property Maintenance Code, as amended from time to time, and as adopted by the Township of Kingston by ordinance and in full force and legal effect in the Township of Kingston at the time of any inspection required by this Part.
B. 
Permitted Inspectors. Inspections required by this Part shall be conducted by the Code Enforcement Officer of the Township of Kingston or by any other person(s) specifically empowered to conduct such inspections by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Kingston.
C. 
Timing of Inspections.
(1) 
In respect of any residential unit or any regulated rental unit/regulated dwelling unit, unoccupied by the owner on or after the effective date hereof, a certificate of occupancy shall be issued, following an inspection, and maintained on file by the owner and the Township of Kingston prior to occupancy of such residential unit or regulated rental unit/regulated dwelling unit by any person or persons other than the owner.
(2) 
Any property or premises, which has been inspected hereunder and for which a certificate of occupancy has been previously issued, and thereafter becomes vacant for any period of time must be reinspected, and a certificate of occupancy must be reissued prior to occupancy by any person or persons as a residential unit or regulated rental unit/regulated dwelling unit.
(3) 
A residential unit or regulated rental unit/regulated dwelling unit, which is subject to the inspection requirements of this Part, shall be required to be reinspected 24 months after the initial inspection and reinspected every 24 months thereafter, and a new certificate of occupancy shall be issued thereafter, based upon such reinspection(s).
(4) 
Upon the transfer of title to a new owner, no residential unit or regulated rental unit/regulated dwelling unit shall be occupied, in whole or in part, until an inspection of the premises or structure and a certificate of occupancy is issued hereunder. All transfers of title, by whatever means, of a residential unit or regulated rental unit/regulated dwelling unit or any property, premises, or structure intended to be used thereafter as a rental residential unit or regulated rental unit/regulated dwelling unit shall be occupied, in whole or in part, only following an inspection thereof and the issuance of a certificate of occupancy in accordance with the terms of this Part. Any transfer of title to a new owner of such premises or property or structure shall be reported to the Code Enforcement Officer of the Township of Kingston within 60 days upon transfer of the title to any new owner.
[Adoptedx Ord. 2007-2, 12/12/2007, § 5]
1. 
A public housing unit is exempt from the terms and conditions of this Part, provided that:
A. 
The housing units owned and operated or managed by a public housing authority are required to be inspected at least annually to ensure compliance with HUD's Housing Quality Standards, 24 CFR Part 882, as the same may be amended from time to time, and so long as said standards are comparable to the International Property Maintenance Code in force and of legal effect and as adopted by the Township of Kingston by Ordinance;
B. 
The inspections are conducted by authorized representatives of HUD, the public housing authority, or its duly authorized agent; and
C. 
The inspection reports are available for inspection by the Code Enforcement Officer of the Township of Kingston, and a list of the properties so inspected is filed with the Code Enforcement Officer of the Township of Kingston annually.
2. 
Nothing contained in this exception or exemption shall be deemed to exclude such premises, structures or properties from being subject to any of the property maintenance codes then in full force and of legal effect in the Township of Kingston.
[Adoptedx Ord. 2007-2, 12/12/2007, § 6]
1. 
General Provision. Upon completion of an inspection, and that there is proof produced that all applicable real estate taxes are paid and current, and that there are no determined and specified violations of the Code(s), as in effect on the date of the inspection, or that any such violations have been corrected in accordance with said codes, the Code Enforcement Officer of the Township of Kingston shall issue a certificate of occupancy for the structure, premises or property in respect to each individual residential unit or regulated dwelling unit therein, that was inspected and listed specifically upon said certificate of occupancy. The certificate of occupancy shall be kept in the file of the owner or designated agent of the owner and made available to the Code Enforcement Officer upon request and, further, the same shall be made available to any rental occupant upon written request made to the owner or owner's authorized agent.
2. 
Form of Proof of Inspection. Proof of inspection and absence of any violations of the Code(s) shall be in such form, as approved from time to time, by the Code Enforcement Officer of the Township of Kingston.
3. 
Report of Inspection Appeals. A report of inspection, which indicates any violation of any Code(s), shall be provided by written notice to the owner within 15 days of the date of inspection. Any appeals from the report of inspection shall be filed and adjudicated in the manner provided for in this Part.
4. 
Multi-Unit Structures. The units within a structure, which are in compliance with the Code(s), may continue to be occupied, if such other units in any portion(s) of the structure do not apply to this Part, because they are owner-occupied, or have they passed inspection. If any unit in a multi-unit structure, however, creates a foreseeable hazard to the health, life and safety to the persons occupying such other units in compliance, such other units must be vacated.
5. 
Compliance with Code(s). The issuance of a certificate of occupancy does not relieve the owner from complying with all terms and provisions of all of the real property codes, as the same exist and are in full force and of legal effect at the time in the Township of Kingston.
[Adoptedx Ord. 2007-2, 12/12/2007, § 7]
1. 
Newspaper Advertisement. The Code Enforcement Officer of the Township of Kingston shall each year cause notice to be published in a newspaper of general circulation within the Township of Kingston. The notice shall set forth that the Township of Kingston requires, pursuant to its Rental Inspection Ordinance, the inspection of residential units/regulated rental units/regulated dwelling units before the same can become occupied by any person(s) other than the owner, and the place(s) in the Township of Kingston where a copy of this Part may be obtained.
2. 
Written notice must be given by the Code Enforcement Officer to the property owner or the authorized agent of the owner prior to any inspection. The property owner or agent shall provide the rental occupant(s) with reasonable notice of the inspection and provide proof of such rental occupant(s)'s notice to the Code Enforcement Officer.
[Adoptedx Ord. 2007-2, 12/12/2007, § 8]
The owner of any residential units/regulated rental units/regulated dwelling units, which is subject to the inspection requirements of this Part, shall be responsible for compliance with the provisions of this Part. All owners of residential units and regulated rental units/regulated dwelling units, who do not reside in the Township of Kingston, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, shall designate, in writing, an authorized agent residing in or maintaining an office in the County of Luzerne, Pennsylvania, who shall be responsible for receiving all notices issued by the Township of Kingston pertaining to such rental premises, structures or properties. The owner shall also provide, in writing, the business address and telephone number of the person or entity that the owner designates as the authorized agent of the owner.
[Adoptedx Ord. 2007-2, 12/12/2007, § 9]
All residential units and regulated rental units/regulated dwelling units, which are subject to the inspection requirements of this Part, shall be inspected by the Code Enforcement Officer of the Township of Kingston to determine compliance with the International Property Maintenance Code, as amended from time to time, and as adopted by the Township of Kingston by ordinance and, further, as contained in the Code of Ordinances of the Township of Kingston relating to all matters pertaining to zoning of real property and structures.
[Adoptedx Ord. 2007-2, 12/12/2007, § 10]
1. 
General. The Code Enforcement Officer may initiate violation proceedings against an owner that may result in a formal warning, nonrenewal, suspension or revocation of the owner's certificate of occupancy for the violation of any provision of this Part that imposes a duty upon the owner and/or for failing to regulate any action(s) by any occupants in violation of the provisions of this Part, as stated herein, subject, however, to the right to appeal, as provided in this Part.
A. 
In order to obtain or retain a certificate of occupancy, the property, structure, or premises of the owner, qualifying hereunder, must comply with the minimum general standards mandated by the International Property Maintenance Code of the Township of Kingston, as amended from time to time, and particularly, the following minimum standards:
(1) 
Interior and exterior sanitary conditions.
(2) 
Infestation and rodent harborage.
(3) 
Structural numbers and foundation walls.
(4) 
Plumbing/water system(s).
(5) 
Heating/mechanical systems and ventilation systems.
(6) 
Electrical system hazards.
(7) 
Smoke detection system(s).
(8) 
Fire escape routes.
(9) 
Over occupancy.
(10) 
A working smoke detector on each floor level, including basement and accessible attics.
(11) 
A working smoke detector must be located in each room used for sleeping purposes.
(12) 
A working smoke detector located within 10 feet of each sleeping area and mounted 18 inches from the wall or ceiling.
(13) 
A fire extinguisher visibly mounted in the kitchen area near the point of egress from the structure. The fire extinguisher must be of a minimum size (2 1/2 pounds), dry chemical, ABC Type UL approved.
(14) 
All closets with incandescent bulbs over shelves shall be protected with permanent covers over the bulbs.
(15) 
An existing acceptable sixty-ampere service or greater with three-wire service.
(16) 
Electrical service panels shall be legibly and durably marked to indicate their purpose.
(17) 
All kitchens, bathrooms, powder rooms, laundry rooms, garages within six feet of a water source and all exterior outlets must be protected with a ground fault circuit interrupter receptacle (GFCI).
(18) 
Every habitable space in a dwelling shall contain at least two separate and remote receptacle outlets. All junction boxes, switches and outlets must have covers.
(19) 
A three-way switch at top and bottom of stairs leading to habitable rooms.
(20) 
All multi-electric ranges must be installed with a wall mounted plug-in receptacle connection at the rear of the range.
(21) 
All gas ranges must be supplied with shut-off valves installed behind the range (hand-turn type).
(22) 
All interior gas lines must be marked every six feet with four-inch-wide yellow markings from point of entry to each appliance using gas.
(23) 
Minimum plumbing facilities and fixtures must be provided and be in good working order with no leaking pipes or faucets.
(24) 
Adequate heating facilities.
(25) 
All properties must have four-inch numbers outside the property in clear view of the street designating the correct street number of the property.
(26) 
The property must be in a clean, safe and sanitary condition, both interior and exterior.
(27) 
All exterior wood must be free of flaking and peeling paint.
(28) 
All exterior window caulking must be in good repair, no broken glass with sharp edges or holes are permitted.
(29) 
Handrails are required for stairs with four or more risers at any location (except Bilco-type stairs to basement) and any landing over 30 inches high.
(30) 
Oil tank fill pipes to be two-inch black iron and one-and-one-half-inch black iron vent pipes (no copper or PVC).
(31) 
All potable or heating sources must have pressure/temperature relief valves and hard piping of 3/4 inch in size pipe to six inches of floor.
(32) 
An emergency shut-off switch for oil heating units to be mounted in stairway and marked in red.
(33) 
A sump pump may not be connected to the public sewer line, but it must be connected to a GFCI outlet.
(34) 
A responsible adult must accompany the Code Enforcement Officer on all inspections of all premises, structures or properties.
(35) 
Code Enforcement Officers are not responsible to open locked boxes and perform inspections without being accompanied by the owner or the owner's authorized agent.
(36) 
A carbon monoxide detector 110 volts AC with battery back-up detector, must be properly installed in each residential unit/regulated residential unit/regulated dwelling unit.
2. 
Definition of code Enforcement Officer's Determinations of Inspections:
A. 
Denial. The violations found at the time of the inspection would render the property unsafe.
B. 
Formal Warning. Formal written notification of at least one violation of this Part. Upon satisfactory subsequent reinspection, compliance with this Part and any condition imposed by the Code Enforcement Officer, the formal warning shall be removed at the time that the owner applies for the initial certificate of occupancy or any renewal thereof or at an earlier time as ordered by the Code Enforcement Officer.
C. 
Nonrenewal. The denial of the right to apply for certificate of occupancy renewal after expiration of the term of a subsisting and current certificate of occupancy. The Township of Kingston will permit the owner to maintain occupants in a premises until the end of the term of the certificate of occupancy, unless the premises, structures or property are unfit for habitation. The Code Enforcement Officer will not accept applications for renewal of the certificate of occupancy until the premises, structure or property passes a reinspection by the Code Enforcement Officer.
D. 
Suspension. The immediate loss of the right to rent residential units or regulated residential units/regulated dwelling units for a period of time established by the Code Enforcement Officer. The owner, after expiration of the suspension period, may apply for renewal of the certificate of occupancy, following a reinspection of the property, premises, or structure, which determines that the premises are in full compliance with the provisions of this Part. Upon suspension, the owner shall take immediate steps to evict and remove all of the rental occupants from the premises, property, or structure.
E. 
Revocation. The immediate loss of the right to rent residential units and regulated residential units/regulated dwelling units for a period of time established by the Code Enforcement Officer and which may result in the loss of the right of the owner to apply for renewal of a certificate of occupancy at any time. Upon revocation, the owner shall take immediate steps to evict and remove all of the rental occupants from the premises, property, or structure.
3. 
Standards for Determination of Existence of Violations. The Code Enforcement Officer shall consider one or more following matters when determining the existence of violations for noncompliance with the terms and provisions of this Part and the Township of Kingston property maintenance Code(s):
A. 
The impact of the violation on the health, life, safety, and welfare of the occupant(s) of the residential unit or regulated residential unit/regulated dwelling unit and other residents of the structure, property, or premises.
B. 
The impact of the violation upon the immediate neighborhood of the premises, structure or property.
C. 
Whether the owner has prior violations of this Part or other real property ordinances of the Township of Kingston or has received notices of such violations, as provided for in this Part.
D. 
Whether the owner has been subject to disciplinary proceedings under this Part.
E. 
The effect of disciplinary action of violations upon the occupants.
F. 
The action taken by the owner to remedy identified violation(s) and to prevent future violations, including any written plan of remediation required to be submitted by the owner to the Code Enforcement Officer.
G. 
The policies, provisions, and terms of the lease agreement employed by the owner to manage the property or premises or structure to enable the owner to comply with the provisions of this Part.
H. 
In addition to applying those specific violations as set forth above, the Code Enforcement Officer may impose upon the existing or subsequent certificates of occupancy conditions relating to fulfilling strictly the terms, provisions and legislative purpose of this Part.
4. 
Grounds for Imposing Violations. Any of the following matters may subject an owner to violations hereunder:
A. 
Failure to abate a violation(s) of this Part applicable to the property, structure, or premises within the time directed by the Code Enforcement Officers;
B. 
Refusal to allow an inspection of the property, structure, or premises by the Code Enforcement Officer, as provided for in this Part;
C. 
Failure, deliberately or negligently, by occupants of the residential units or regulated residential units/regulated dwelling units to prevent violations of this Part; or
D. 
Violations of this Part or other ordinances of the Township of Kingston that apply to residential real property, structure, or premises within the term of existence of a certificate of occupancy. For purposes of this Part, there need be no criminal conviction before a violation(s) can be found to exist.
5. 
Procedure for Denial, Nonrenewal, Suspension or Revocation of Certificate of Occupancy. Following a determination by the Code Enforcement Officer for the grounds of denial, nonrenewal, suspension or revocation of a certificate of occupancy exist, the Code Enforcement Officer shall notify the owner of the action to be taken and the reason(s) therefor. Such notification shall be in writing, addressed to the owner and/or the authorized agent of the owner and sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, and by regular United States Postal Service mail, and it shall contain the following information:
A. 
The address of the property, structure, or premises in question and the specific identification of the particular residential unit or regulated residential unit/regulated dwelling unit affected;
B. 
The description of the violation(s) of this Part which has/have been found to exist;
C. 
A statement that the certificate of occupancy for said residential unit or regulated residential unit/regulated dwelling unit shall be either suspended or revoked, or it will not be renewed for a subsequent term following the term for which an existing certificate of occupancy has been issued or that the owner will receive a formal warning. In the case of a suspension or revocation, the notice shall state the date upon which such suspension or revocation will commence, and in the case of the suspension, it shall state the duration of said suspension;
D. 
A statement that, due to the denial, nonrenewal, suspension or revocation, as the case may be, the owner or any person authorized to act on behalf of the owner is prohibited from renting, letting or permitting occupancy of the residential unit or regulated residential unit/regulated dwelling unit, subject to said enforcement action, from and during the period said suspension or revocation action is in effect; and
E. 
A statement informing the owner that said owner has the right to appeal the decision denying, suspending, revoking or declining to maintain or renew the certificate of occupancy to the Kingston Township Board of Appeals established by Kingston Township Ordinance No. 2004-3, enacted on June 7, 2004, and to become, upon the effective date hereof, Chapter 5, Part 10, § 1001, et seq., of the Code of Ordinances of the Township of Kingston.
[Adoptedx Ord. 2007-2, 12/12/2007, § 11]
1. 
Any person aggrieved by any notice, which has been issued in connection with the enforcement of any provision of this Part, or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, may request and shall be granted a hearing on the matter before the Board of Appeals of the Township of Kingston, as created and existing pursuant to Kingston Township Ordinance No. 2004-3, etc., above. Such person must file in the office of the Secretary of the Board of Appeals a written petition requesting such hearing and setting forth a brief statement of the grounds therefor, the reason(s) alleged as to why the determination of the Code Enforcement Officer is incorrect or should be overturned. The appeal must be filed within 10 days after the notice of the Code Enforcement Officer has been served upon the person by written notice. It must be served upon the Secretary of the Board of Appeals by certified mail, return receipt requested, and regular USPS mail. There is imposed hereby a fee of $25 for filing such appeals or such appeal fee as may, from time to time, be imposed by the ordinances of the Township of Kingston. At such hearing, the petitioner shall be given an opportunity to be heard and to show why such notice should be revised, modified or withdrawn. The hearing shall be held no later than 20 days after the date upon which the petition was filed. Upon application of the petitioner, the Board of Appeals may postpone the date of the hearing for a reasonable time beyond such twenty-day period, if good and sufficient reason for such temporary postponement is warranted; all in the sole discretion of the Board of Appeals.
2. 
The hearing shall be held in accordance with the procedures appertaining to the Board of Appeals as ordinarily, reasonably, and customarily are applied by the Board of Appeals.
3. 
After such hearing, the Board shall sustain, modify or withdraw the notice, depending upon its findings as to whether the provisions of this Part and of the rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto have been complied with. If the Board of Appeals sustains or modifies such notice, it shall be deemed to be an order. Any notice served pursuant hereto shall automatically become an order in the event that a written petition for a hearing is not filed in the office of the Secretary of the Board of Appeals within 10 days after such notice of the Code Enforcement Officer is served. After hearing in the case of any notice of suspension of any certificate of occupancy required by this statute or by any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, on the date such notice of suspension has been sustained by the Board of Appeals, the certificate of occupancy shall be deemed to have been suspended. Any certificate of occupancy, which has been suspended by a notice, shall be deemed to be automatically suspended if a petition for hearing is not filed in the office of the Secretary of the Board of Appeals within 10 days after such notice of the Code Enforcement Officer is served. The proceedings of such hearing, including the findings and decision of the Board of Appeals, shall be set forth, reduced to writing, and entered as a matter of public record in the office of Secretary of the Board of Appeals. Such record shall also include a copy of every notice or order issued in connection with the matter. Any person aggrieved by any decision of the Board of Appeals may seek relief therefrom in any court of competent jurisdiction, as provided by the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
4. 
Whenever the Code Enforcement Officer finds that an emergency exists which requires immediate action to protect the public health, safety, life, and welfare, the Code Enforcement Officer may, without notice of hearing, issue an order stating the existence of such an emergency and requiring that such action be taken, as may be deemed necessary, in order to meet the particular needs of the emergency. Notwithstanding any other article contained herein, such order shall become effective immediately. Any person to whom such order is directed shall comply therewith immediately, but, upon the filing of a petition to the Board of Appeals, as provided in § 211.1 hereof, within 48 hours of notice of the emergency action, such person shall be afforded a hearing as soon as possible. After such hearing, depending upon its findings as to whether the provisions of this article of this Part, and the rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto have been complied with, the Board of Appeals will continue such order in effect or modify it or revoke it.
[Adoptedx Ord. 2007-2, 12/12/2007, § 12]
1. 
The Board of Appeals created by Kingston Township Ordinance 2004-3, enacted on June 7, 2004, Chapter 5, Part 10, of the Code of Ordinances of the Township of Kingston, shall have exclusive jurisdiction to act as the adjudicator of all appeals arising out of the enforcement of this Part, in addition to such other powers, duties, and jurisdiction vested in it now or hereafter by the Township of Kingston. It shall have sole and exclusive jurisdiction to hear, try, adjudicate and determine all appeals arising out of the operation, enforcement, and implementation of this Part.
2. 
The appeal and variance procedure contained in any ordinance of the Township of Kingston relating to zoning shall not be available as a legal remedy to the owner, the authorized agent of the owner, the occupant, or any other person(s), by reason of ownership or occupancy of a residential unit or regulated residential unit/regulated dwelling unit, as defined herein.
[Adoptedx Ord. 2007-2, 12/12/2007, § 13]
An owner of a residential unit or regulated rental units/regulated dwelling units, who has been determined to have violated or has permitted the violation of this Part shall be deemed to have committed a summary offense and, upon conviction thereof, shall be sentenced to pay a fine of $600 and all costs of prosecution. In the event that the fine and costs of prosecution are not paid, the Township of Kingston is hereby authorized to collect the fine and costs of prosecution in the manner prescribed by the laws of the Commonwealth in respect of actions commenced by a municipality before a District Magistrate. Each violation of this Part, and each day the same is continued, shall be deemed as a separate offense.
[Adoptedx Ord. 2007-2, 12/12/2007, § 14]
The fee schedule for issuance of certificates of occupancy shall be as follows, upon the effective date hereof, subject to subsequent amendment by the ordinance(s) of the Township of Kingston:
A. 
Issuance of any initial certificate of occupancy: $45 per unit.
B. 
Inspection of premises, structures, or property subsequent to the inspection for an initial certificate of occupancy or any reinspection for any subsequent certificate of occupancy at any time: $25 per unit.