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Borough of Catasauqua, PA
Lehigh County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Catasauqua 12-1-2008 by Ord. No. 1230.[1] Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Brush, grass and weeds — See Ch. 115.
Code enforcement — See Ch. 125.
Uniform codes — See Ch. 130.
Fair housing — See Ch. 138.
Moving permits — See Ch. 180.
Zoning — See Ch. 280.
Fees — See Ch. A285.
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also provided that it shall take effect 7-1-2009.
The Borough Council (hereinafter the "Council") hereby finds that:
A. 
There is a greater incidence and greater severity of violations of various Borough codes at residential rental properties than at owner- occupied residential properties; and
B. 
There is a greater incidence of problems with the maintenance and upkeep of residential rental properties than at owner-occupied residential properties; and
C. 
There is a greater incidence of problems with the maintenance and upkeep of residential rental properties where owners or their representatives do not reside within or near the Borough of Catasauqua (hereinafter "Borough"); and
D. 
There is a greater incidence of disturbances which adversely affect the peace and quiet of the neighborhood at residential rental properties than at owner-occupied residential properties; and
E. 
A systematic license and inspection process can avoid life-threatening problems, including, but not limited to, lack of functioning smoke detectors, faulty mechanical equipment, inadequate or unsafe electrical equipment and substandard living and health conditions; and
F. 
A system of inspection and licensing with respect to residential rental units will assist in maintaining the accuracy of tax records; and
G. 
With respect to boardinghouses, because of shorter lease terms and the transient nature of the same, the above considerations are of equal, if not increased importance and relevancy to the operation of boardinghouses in the Borough; and
H. 
The regulation and licensing of all residential rental units, apartment houses, boardinghouse units and boardinghouses represent a lawful and necessary exercise of the police power under the Borough Code in order to preserve and protect the public health, safety and general welfare.
A. 
This chapter is intended to and shall serve the following purposes:
(1) 
To assist the Borough in protecting and promoting the health, safety and welfare of its residents;
(2) 
To establish rights and obligations of owners and occupants relating to the rental of certain residential units in the Borough and to insure that owners and occupants properly maintain rental housing within the Borough;
(3) 
To ensure that owners, managers, occupants and their guests share responsibilities to comply with relevant building ordinances and other codes, to prevent overcrowding and to avoid nuisances affecting neighbors;
(4) 
To provide for a system of inspections and the issuance and renewal of licenses; and
(5) 
To establish procedures and penalties for violations.
B. 
All owners, managers and occupants of premises hereunder shall comply with all provisions of the Pennsylvania Landlord-Tenant Act,[1] as amended (hereinafter "Act"), and nothing contained in this chapter shall alter or abrogate the requirements of the Act. Any requirement of this chapter inconsistent with the Act shall be deemed repealed.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 68 P.S. § 250.101 et seq.
C. 
This chapter shall not limit the ability of an owner to evict occupants in compliance with state law for reasons other than violations of this chapter.
D. 
To the extent that this chapter refers to and/or incorporates other laws, ordinances, rules and/or regulations, where necessary to the regulation of activity under this chapter and for the purpose of enforcing this chapter wherever this chapter and/or such laws, ordinances, rules or regulations conflict, the more restrictive provisions shall apply.
E. 
This chapter shall not be construed as diminishing or relieving the responsibility of occupants or guests for their conduct or activity under any private cause of action, civil or criminal enforcement proceeding or criminal law or requiring an owner to indemnify or defend an occupant or guest when any such action or proceeding is brought against the occupant or guest based upon the conduct or activity of the occupant or guest. Nothing herein is intended to impose any additional civil/criminal liability upon owners other than that which is imposed by existing law.
As used in this chapter the following words and phrases shall have the following meanings.
ACTIVE WORKING FIRE
An actual fire which occurs inside a residential structure and which results in a response to the property by a fire department. The scope of any inspection hereunder which results from an active working fire call shall be at the discretion of the Borough.
[Added 12-19-2011 by Ord. No. 1275]
ADDENDUM
A contractual agreement between an owner and an occupant which sets forth the obligations of persons under this chapter and in a form approved by the Code Enforcement Officer.
[Amended 12-19-2011 by Ord. No. 1275]
A. 
A residential use in which:
(1) 
Room(s) that do not meet the definition of a lawful dwelling unit are rented for habitation; or
(2) 
A dwelling unit includes greater than the permitted maximum number of unrelated persons.
B. 
A boardinghouse shall not include a use that meets the Zoning Ordinance definitions of hotel, dormitory, motel, life care center, personal care center, bed-and-breakfast inn, group home or nursing home.[1] A college fraternity house, sorority house or personal day care center not meeting the Zoning Ordinance definition with respect to licensing, and all used as residences, shall be considered types of boardinghouses. A boardinghouse may either involve or not involve the providing of meals to residents, but shall not include a restaurant open to the public unless the use also meets the requirements for a restaurant. A boardinghouse shall primarily serve persons residing on site for five or more consecutive days.
BOROUGH
The Borough of Catasauqua, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania.
BUSINESS DAYS
Days and hours in which the offices of the Borough of Catasauqua are open for public business.
CODE
Any law, regulation, ordinance or code adopted, enacted, and/or in effect in and for the Borough of Catasauqua relating in any way to the fitness for habitation or the construction, maintenance, operation, occupancy, vermin or rodent control or any public health matters or the use or appearance of any premises, dwelling or dwelling unit.
CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
A duly appointed Borough official having the duty to enforce this chapter, the Zoning Ordinance, the Uniform Construction Code[2] and any other property maintenance code or ordinance relating to the condition or use of property in the Borough, and any assistants, deputies or police officers duly appointed.
COMMON AREA
In multi-unit buildings, interior and exterior space which is not part of an individual regulated rental unit and which is shared among occupants of the dwelling. Common areas shall be considered part of the premises for purposes of this chapter.
A. 
A form of conduct, action, incident or behavior perpetrated, caused or permitted by an owner, occupant or guest of a regulated rental unit which:
(1) 
Violates Borough ordinances and/or codes and is so loud, untimely as to time of day, offensive and/or nuisance-causing, that it unreasonably interferes with the peaceful enjoyment by other persons of their premises and/or dwelling units or causes damage to property that is owned by others;
[Amended 12-19-2011 by Ord. No. 1275]
(2) 
Involves music or noise that is audible from a street, sidewalk or dwelling from a minimum distance of 50 feet away from the premises where the sound is originating;
(3) 
Is the subject of a criminal citation for disorderly conduct;
(4) 
Involves damage to the premises in excess of $500; or
(5) 
Is the subject of a criminal citation under the Pennsylvania Crimes Code or the Pennsylvania Liquor Code.[3]
B. 
In order for disruptive conduct to constitute an offense under this chapter, a written report must be issued by a Code Enforcement Officer or police officer and notice must be sent to an owner, occupant and/or manager.
[Amended 12-19-2011 by Ord. No. 1275]
C. 
Disruptive conduct shall not constitute contact made to the police by the tenant or tenants for police or emergency assistance by or on behalf of a victim of abuse as defined in 23 Pa.C.S.A. § 6102 (relating to definition), a victim of a crime pursuant to 18 Pa.C.S.A. (relating to crimes and offenses), or an individual in an emergency pursuant to 35 Pa.C.S.A. 35 § 8103 (relating to definitions) if the contact is made to the police based upon the reasonable belief of the person making the contact that intervention or emergency assistance is necessary to prevent the perpetration or escalation of the abuse, crime or emergency or if the intervention or emergency assistance was actually needed in response to the abuse, crime or emergency.
[Added 4-6-2015 by Ord. No. 1313]
DISRUPTIVE CONDUCT REPORT
A written report providing notice of disruptive conduct, including, but not limited to, police reports, which is prepared by a Code Enforcement Officer.
[Amended 12-19-2011 by Ord. No. 1275]
DWELLING
A building which includes one or more regulated rental units.
DWELLING UNIT
A residential living area for one household that is used for living and sleeping purposes, and that may have its own cooking facilities, and a bathroom with a toilet, bathtub and/or shower.
GUEST
A person on the premises of a regulated rental unit with the actual or implied consent of an owner or occupant.
LANDLORD
An owner.
MANAGER
An adult individual or other legal entity designated by the owner to operate a dwelling and to perform the obligations of the owner under this chapter and any rental agreements with the occupant(s). The manager shall be the agent of the owner for service of process and receiving notices or demands under this chapter. The manager may reside in the dwelling.
OCCUPANT
An individual who resides in a regulated rental unit.
OWNER
One or more persons in whom is vested all or part of the legal title to the premises, or all or part of the beneficial ownership of the premises.
OWNER-OCCUPIED DWELLING UNIT
A dwelling unit in which at least one owner resides as his/her primary dwelling.
PERSON
A natural person, partnership, corporation, unincorporated association, limited liability company, limited liability partnership, trust or any other legal entity.
PREMISES
The land and all buildings, dwellings and structures located thereon and on which one or more regulated rental units are located.
REGULATED RENTAL UNIT
A dwelling unit, including a boardinghouse unit, that is occupied for residential purposes in consideration for the payment of rent as defined herein and is not an owner-occupied dwelling unit.
RENT
Consideration paid or given in return for occupancy of a regulated rental unit. Rent may be in the form of money, barter or in-kind transfers and the receipt thereof may be imputed in accordance with tax law.
RENTAL AGREEMENT
A written agreement between an owner and tenant which is required to be supplemented by the addendum provided for in this chapter or to otherwise contain the terms of the addendum and which contains the terms and conditions relating to the use and occupancy of a regulated rental unit.
RENTAL LICENSE
A license issued pursuant to this chapter to the owner of a regulated rental unit under and which is required to lawfully rent that unit.
REVOCATION
The loss of any permit or license granted hereunder.
SUSPENSION
The temporary loss of any permit or license granted hereunder which is subject to reinstatement in accordance with the terms of this chapter.
UNREGULATED RENTAL UNIT
A dwelling unit, including a boardinghouse unit, which is occupied for residential purposes by a person related by blood or marriage to the owner of the unit, and which unit is not also occupied by the owner.
[Added 12-19-2011 by Ord. No. 1275]
UNRELATED PERSONS
Two or more persons who reside in a dwelling unit and who are not related to each other through blood, adoption, marriage or formal foster relationship.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 280, Zoning, § 280-19, Definitions.
[2]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 280, Zoning, and Ch. 130, Codes, Uniform.
[3]
Editor's Note: See 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 4701 et seq., and 47 P.S. § 1-101 et seq., respectively.
A. 
General.
(1) 
Every owner of a regulated rental unit shall keep and maintain in a good and safe condition each such unit and the premises on which it is located in compliance with all applicable Borough codes and ordinances.
(2) 
Every owner shall be responsible for regulating the proper and lawful use and maintenance of every premises so owned and shall be responsible to act and to maintain the premises in order to minimize disruptive conduct by the inclusion of appropriate contractual terms in a written rental agreement and through the prompt and timely enforcement of such terms. Where no such written rental agreement exists in writing or otherwise, the owner shall obtain a fully executed addendum or acknowledgment in accordance with this chapter.
(3) 
The owner shall obtain a rental license for every regulated rental unit and unregulated rental unit owned in accordance with this chapter. If a rental license is not secured by the owner within the time established by this chapter, or if the rental license is suspended or revoked, then, except as otherwise provided herein, neither the regulated rental unit nor the unregulated rental unit shall be rented for residential use.
[Amended 12-19-2011 by Ord. No. 1275]
(4) 
The owner shall not permit the number of occupants of a regulated rental unit to exceed the maximum number allowed by Borough ordinances and codes.
(5) 
The owner shall be responsible to minimize disruptive conduct and behavior by occupants and guests in any common area of the premises. The owner shall maintain acceptable physical conditions in such common areas and shall ensure that the common areas are in full compliance with this chapter and any other applicable ordinances and codes of the Borough.
(6) 
The owner shall comply with all notification provisions of this chapter.
(7) 
The owner shall notify the Borough, in writing, within five days of the date when any tenant moves out of, or a new tenant moves into, a unit for which a license is required hereunder.
[Added 12-19-2011 by Ord. No. 1275]
(8) 
The owner of licensed property shall use and maintain the property in accordance with all laws, ordinances, regulations, orders, directives, standards, policies, recommendations, specifications and instructions promulgated by any and all governmental agencies, including the Borough.
[Added 12-19-2011 by Ord. No. 1275]
B. 
Designation of manager.
(1) 
If the owner is not a full-time resident of the Borough or does not reside within a radius of five miles from the premises, then the owner shall designate a person to serve as manager who resides or maintains a principal office for property management located within such radius. If the owner is other than a natural person, then a manager shall be employed or appointed who resides or maintains a principal office for property management within such radius. The radius set forth above may be expanded upon a showing to the satisfaction of the Code Enforcement Officer that an alternate location will meet the intent and purpose of this chapter in that the alternate location will not preclude effective and timely responses under this chapter.
(2) 
A manager designated pursuant to this section shall be the agent of the owner for service of process and receipt of notices and demands, and the manager shall, on behalf of the owner, perform the obligations of the owner under the rental agreement and this chapter.
(3) 
The legal name, mailing address, daytime physical address (not a post office box) and daytime and evening telephone number(s) of the person designated as the manager shall be provided in writing by the owner to the Borough, and such information shall be kept current and updated in accordance with this chapter.
(4) 
The owner shall provide a copy of Chapter 207, and any amendments thereto, to the manager, and the manager shall sign, on a form prescribed by the Borough, a written acknowledgement of his or her representation of the owner and an acceptance of his or her responsibilities pursuant thereto. The owner shall require the manager to provide to the Borough all information required by Subsection B(3) above and further require that all information provided be updated as appropriate.
[Added 12-19-2011 by Ord. No. 1275]
C. 
Disclosure. The owner shall disclose to the occupant, in writing, on or before the commencement of the occupancy, the name, address and telephone number of the manager, or if a manager is not required, then the name, address and telephone number of the owner.
D. 
Maintenance of premises.
(1) 
The owner shall maintain the premises in compliance with the requirements of this chapter and all other ordinances and codes of the Borough and shall regularly perform all routine maintenance, including lawn mowing, weed control and ice and snow removal. The owner shall promptly make any and all necessary repairs to the premises.
(2) 
The above notwithstanding, the owner and occupant may agree that the occupant is to perform specified repairs, maintenance and alterations; however, any such agreement shall be in writing and shall clearly set forth the obligations of the parties. Such an agreement shall not be entered into for the purpose of evading the respective obligations of the owner or occupant under this chapter, and any such agreement shall constitute a violation of this chapter.
(3) 
The existence of an agreement between the owner and occupant shall not relieve the owner of ultimate responsibility under this chapter or other applicable Borough ordinances or codes for the proper repair and maintenance of the premises.
E. 
Rental agreement and addendum.
(1) 
Each occupancy of a regulated rental unit shall be memorialized in a rental agreement as defined herein.
(2) 
Within the time frame set forth in Subsection C, above, the owner and the occupant shall execute and addendum and written rental agreement which discloses to the occupant, among other things, the requirements of this chapter, including, but not limited to, the eviction provisions hereof.
(3) 
The owner and occupant shall not include any term in a rental agreement that is contrary to the provisions of this chapter.
(4) 
With respect to leases and other agreements or arrangements for the occupancy of a regulated rental unit existing on the effective date of this chapter, an addendum to each such lease, agreement or arrangement shall be provided by the owner to the occupant in accordance with this chapter. Should an occupant refuse to execute the addendum, then the owner shall secure a written acknowledgement that the occupant received the addendum and refused to execute the same. Upon oral or written request by the Borough, the owner, within 10 days of the request, shall furnish to the Borough copies of the executed addendum or acknowledgment.
F. 
Complaints. The owner shall respond to and correct (or make a good faith effort to correct) complaints or problems within 30 days after receiving notice thereof or a valid complaint from an occupant.
G. 
Eviction.
(1) 
If an occupant of a regulated rental unit is involved in a third disruptive conduct incident within any one-year period (calculated back from the date of the most recent incident of disruptive conduct) or has violated any federal, state or local law on or relating to the premises, the Code Enforcement Officer shall issue a written notice to the owner or manager to order eviction of the occupant. If the disruptive conduct was caused by only one of multiple occupants, then at the discretion of the owner or manager, the eviction may be limited to that occupant. The owner shall begin eviction proceedings with 15 days after receiving such notice and shall continue such proceedings to completion, without interruption, unless the occupant voluntarily vacates the premises.
(2) 
Upon eviction, the occupant shall not be permitted to occupy any part of the premises for the remainder of the term of the rental agreement and, in the case of a boardinghouse, for a period of one year from the date of the actionable conduct.
(3) 
The failure of an owner to carry out an eviction in accordance with this section shall constitute a violation of this chapter and result in revocation of the rental license.
(4) 
The requirement to evict an occupant shall not apply if a successful appeal is made to the Council, if a District Court rules in favor of the occupant in any eviction proceeding, or an appeal to a court or other legal action has been filed that would prevent such eviction.
(5) 
The Code Enforcement Officer shall maintain a list of occupants who were evicted and the related premises. Such list shall be maintained for a minimum period of three years and is subject to inspection in accordance with applicable law.
(6) 
The occurrence of a conviction for the underlying conduct constituting disruptive conduct or a judicial finding that such conduct occurred shall not be a prerequisite for eviction hereunder.
[Added 12-19-2011 by Ord. No. 1275]
H. 
Repairs by the Borough. If an owner of a premises shall fail or refuse to comply with any notice from the Code Enforcement Officer to correct a violation relating to the maintenance and repair of the premises within the period of time stated in such notice, and the order is not appealed, then the Borough may cause the violation to be corrected at the owner's expense. There shall be imposed upon the owner a charge, which shall include the actual costs of maintenance and/or repair, actual legal fees and court costs together with an administrative fee in the amount of 25% of actual costs incurred or $50, whichever is greater, for each time the Borough shall cause a violation to be corrected. The owner shall be billed after such work has been completed, and any such bill which remains unpaid and outstanding after 30 days shall carry interest at the legal rate and be grounds for the placement of a municipal lien as provided by law.
I. 
Inspection by the Borough. The owner shall permit and schedule inspections of the premises by a Code Enforcement Officer during Borough business hours, after a minimum of seven calendar days' notice. The owner shall provide a minimum of three calendar days' advance notice to the occupant of each rental unit of the time and date of the inspection. These notice requirements shall not apply where the Code Enforcement Officer has reason to believe that there is occurring, or that there is about to occur, a threat to the public health, safety or welfare.
A. 
General.
(1) 
The occupant shall comply with all obligations imposed by this chapter, all other applicable ordinances and codes of the Borough and all applicable provision of law.
(2) 
A regulated rental unit shall not be occupied in any manner which violates the Zoning Ordinance[1] and other applicable laws, codes, ordinances or regulations. To the extent that the Zoning Ordinance and other applicable laws, codes, ordinances or regulations conflict or set different standards or requirements, the more restrictive shall apply.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 280, Zoning.
(3) 
An occupant shall not permit guests to engage in disruptive conduct on the premises in accordance with Subsection D, below.
B. 
Health regulations. The occupant shall collect and dispose of all rubbish, garbage and other waste in a clean and sanitary manner and shall comply with Borough ordinances and codes relating to solid waste, sanitation and recycling. An occupant shall keep that part of the premises which he or she occupies or controls in a clean and sanitary condition and free of nuisance conditions.
C. 
Illegal activities. Neither occupants nor guests shall engage in, tolerate or permit any conduct on the premises declared illegal under any federal or state law or regulation, including, but not limited to, the Pennsylvania Crimes Code (18 Pa.C.S.A. § 101, et seq.); the Pennsylvania Liquor Code (47 P.S. § 1-101 et seq.), the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act (35 P.S. § 780-101 et seq.), or any successor laws.
D. 
Disruptive conduct.
(1) 
No occupant shall engage in, tolerate or permit guests to engage in disruptive conduct, violations of Subsection C of this section or violations of any other applicable Borough ordinances or codes relating to the use or occupancy of the premises.
(2) 
Where a Code Enforcement Officer investigates an allegation of disruptive conduct, he or she shall complete a disruptive conduct report. The report shall set forth a finding as to whether there occurred an incident of disruptive conduct as that term is defined herein. The report shall include, to the extent known or discoverable, all information necessary to carry out the purpose and intent of this chapter. The Council shall approve by resolution the form of report.
(3) 
When the Code Enforcement Officer issues a disruptive conduct report containing a finding that such conduct occurred, a copy shall be mailed to the occupant and the owner, and the original shall be placed in the file for the premises.[2]
[2]
Editor’s Note: Former Subsection D(4) and (5), which immediately followed, regarding criminal or civil citations, were repealed 12-19-2011 by Ord. No. 1275.
E. 
Inspection of premises. An occupant shall permit a Code Enforcement Officer to conduct inspections of the premises during Borough business hours, after receiving notice from the owner, manager or the Borough in accordance with § 207-4I, above.
A. 
License requirement.
(1) 
A rental license shall be required for each occupied, regulated rental unit within the Borough.
(2) 
Within 120 days after the effective date of this chapter, the owner shall apply for a rental license for each regulated rental unit on the premises. The rental license shall be acquired by the owner within 60 days after application; except that for a boardinghouse, a single rental license shall be issued for the premises covering all dwelling units contained therein. All forms and applications shall be provided by the Borough and may be obtained at the Borough office.
(3) 
A rental license shall not be issued or renewed until:
(a) 
(Reserved)[1]
[1]
Editor’s Note: Former Subsection A(3)(a), regarding overdue real estate taxes and municipal fees, was repealed 3-5-2018 by Ord. No. 1367.
(b) 
the owner has identified a manager and provided all of the information concerning the premises and occupancy thereof in accordance with this chapter.
(c) 
The failure of a landlord to pay general or special taxes applicable to the premises shall not constitute grounds to refuse to issue or renew, suspend or revoke a rental license.
[Added 3-5-2018 by Ord. No. 1367]
(4) 
The following shall not be considered regulated rental units for the purpose of this chapter:
(a) 
Owner-occupied dwelling units;
(b) 
Hotels and motels as defined by the Zoning Ordinance;
(c) 
Hospitals and state-licensed nursing homes and personal care homes;
(d) 
Bed-and-breakfast homes as defined in the Zoning Ordinance;
(e) 
One dwelling unit that is on the same lot as a second dwelling unit, provided the two dwellings units are only occupied by the owner and a person who is related to the owner; and
(f) 
On-campus dormitories owned and/or operated and maintained by a college or university.
(5) 
Dwelling units owned and/or operated by the Housing Authority within the Borough shall be exempt from the inspection provisions of this chapter provided that the Code Enforcement Officer determines annually that the Housing Authority's inspection program is sufficient to carry out the purpose and intent of this chapter and a copy of the inspection report is provided to the Code Enforcement Officer. Dwelling units owned and/or operated by the Housing Authority shall comply with the requirements of this chapter relating to evictions and disruptive conduct, unless specifically preempted by federal or state law.
(6) 
A rental license application shall be provided by the Borough and shall require, at a minimum, that the owner provide a list containing the name of each resident occupying each unit covered by the license application, regardless of age. The owner shall update the list at least annually and from time to time in accordance with the requirements of this chapter.
[Amended 12-19-2011 by Ord. No. 1275]
B. 
License term, inspection and fees.
(1) 
Each rental license shall have an annual term.
(2) 
Premises regulated hereunder shall be inspected according to the following schedule:
[Amended 12-19-2011 by Ord. No. 1275]
(a) 
Except for a boardinghouse as defined herein, each regulated rental unit shall be inspected following a change of occupancy. Where circumstances permit, the owner shall make the unit available for inspection while the unit is vacant; however, in no event shall the inspection occur later than three days following re-occupancy. In the event that the unit is occupied at the time of the inspection, the owner shall provide a copy of the inspection report(s) to the tenant(s) within five days of receipt from the Borough.
(b) 
Common areas shall undergo a minimum of one inspection every four years, based upon a schedule established by the Code Enforcement Officer.
(c) 
With respect to a boardinghouse, all common areas and individual units shall be inspected at the same time, every two years.
(d) 
Following a determination that there has occurred an active working fire, each unit so involved shall be inspected within 48 hours of extinguishment of the fire in order to determine whether the unit or the premises are habitable and subject to occupancy. If the premises or any unit thereof are deemed not habitable, the premises or unit, as the case may be, shall be re-inspected and approved for occupancy prior to re-occupancy.
(3) 
The Code Enforcement Officer shall require that the common area of each premises be made available for inspection in a designated year and then be reinspected in accordance with this chapter. The Borough shall not be obligated to commence and/or complete all inspections within this schedule and shall not be liable for any such failure. If the Borough, through no fault of the owner, manager or occupant is unable to complete an inspection of a regulated rental unit in the designated year, the Borough may inspect the unit in one or more following years.
(4) 
The common area inspection requirements of this section are hereby modified for the following premises, provided that there does not exist evidence of possible violations of this chapter or of other applicable Borough ordinances or codes, the premises has not been the subject of any code or ordinance enforcement actions by the Borough within the preceding two years or if the premises has no outstanding taxes, fines or fees due to the Borough or any of its authorities:
(a) 
Premises newly constructed within the four years preceding the effective date of this chapter and that were inspected by the Borough after construction, shall be exempt from inspection during the first two years after the effective date of this chapter;
(b) 
Premises substantially rehabilitated within the last two years, as determined by the Code Enforcement Officer, and inspected by the Borough after rehabilitation, shall be exempt from inspection for the first two years after the effective date of this chapter; and
(c) 
Premises inspected by the Borough for code compliance within the four years preceding the effective date of this chapter shall be inspected after two years from the effective date of this chapter.
(5) 
Upon application for a rental license and prior to any issuance or renewal thereof, each owner shall pay to the Borough an annual fee. The fee for a calendar year shall be paid by December 31, and if unpaid shall be subject to a penalty in accordance with this chapter. The fee shall cover the Borough's actual costs to administer the licensing and inspection program. A fee schedule shall be established by resolution of the Council and may contain, among other things, application fees, license fees, late payment penalties, fees for reinspection of a unit, and fees for reinstatement of suspended or revoked licenses.
(6) 
All owners subject to this chapter shall obtain an initial rental license for the premises on or before the effective date hereof. Each such rental license shall expire on December 31, 2009.
(7) 
The issuance of a rental license or conduct of an inspection shall not warrant that a regulated rental unit is lawful, safe, habitable or in compliance with all Borough codes, and this chapter shall not constitute a waiver of any immunity granted to the Borough or otherwise create liability on the part of the Borough.
(8) 
The fee for any inspection hereunder shall be the greater of the fee established by resolution of the Council or the actual cost to the Borough in the event that a third-party inspector is utilized. Utilization of a third-party inspector shall be at the sole discretion of the Borough.
[Added 12-19-2011 by Ord. No. 1275]
(9) 
The Borough may, in the exercise of its discretion, provide the results of any inspection conducted pursuant to this chapter to the insurer of any premises regulated hereunder or to the agent of that insurer.
[Added 12-19-2011 by Ord. No. 1275]
C. 
Inspection.
(1) 
Each regulated rental unit shall be subject to inspection by the Code Enforcement Officer pursuant to the schedule provided by this chapter, and the Code Enforcement Officer shall be authorized to enforce this chapter and take appropriate measures to abate violations hereof.
(2) 
This chapter shall not be construed to limit the Code Enforcement Officer's authority to conduct inspections or maintain enforcement actions under any other Borough ordinance or code.
A. 
General.
(1) 
The Code Enforcement Officer may initiate enforcement actions against an owner, manager or occupant for violation of any provision of this chapter that imposes a duty upon such persons.
(2) 
Within the limitations of federal and state law, the Code Enforcement Officer shall have authority to apply for an administrative search warrant to enter and inspect the premises and/or a regulated rental unit located thereon.
B. 
Violation notices.
(1) 
The Code Enforcement Officer shall provide written notification of violations of this chapter and require that they be corrected within a reasonable time period as set forth in the notice.
(2) 
The Code Enforcement Officer may determine that the regulated rental unit is unfit for human habitation, in which case he shall order that it be vacated and remain vacated until the situation is corrected. In such instance, the Code Enforcement Officer shall issue to the owner, manager and each occupant a violation notice detailing the grounds for determining that the unit is unfit.
(3) 
For serious violations that do not require that the regulated rental unit or premises be immediately vacated, the Code Enforcement Officer may require that the violations be corrected within a period of time no less than 24 hours.
C. 
Nonrenewal.
(1) 
The Code Enforcement Officer shall deny an application for renewal of a rental license if there are outstanding violations of this chapter or other Borough ordinances or codes relating to the premises. If such violations do not pose a threat to the safety of occupants or other members of the public, the Code Enforcement Officer may permit the current occupant(s) to continue to reside in the premises for a reasonable period of time as set forth in the notice of nonrenewal. Any such violations must be corrected within the time limit set forth in such notice.
(2) 
The Code Enforcement Officer may issue a temporary rental license conditioned upon certain actions being taken to remedy a defect or violation of this chapter or other Borough ordinances or codes relating to the premises by a date certain.
D. 
Revocation. The Code Enforcement Officer shall revoke a rental license for the premises or a regulated rental unit if he determines that violations of this chapter or other Borough ordinances or codes relating to the premises present an immediate threat to the safety of occupants or other members of the public, at which time the owner shall take immediate steps to remove the occupants and to locate alternative housing for the occupants. The revocation shall remain in effect until all such violations are corrected and the premises or unit have been reinspected and approved.
E. 
Suspension. The Code Enforcement Officer may suspend a rental license until violations of this chapter or other Borough ordinances or codes relating to the premises are corrected and require that such violations be corrected by a date certain. A failure to timely correct any or all such violations constitutes grounds for revocation or nonrenewal of the rental license.
F. 
Criteria for applying sanctions. The Code Enforcement Officer, when deciding upon the sanctions provided for in this chapter, shall consider the following:
(1) 
The effect of the violation on the health and safety of the occupant(s) of the regulated rental unit, other occupants of the premises, and neighboring residents;
(2) 
Whether the owner has committed prior violations of this chapter, and whether those violations were satisfactorily corrected in a timely manner;
(3) 
The effect of sanctions upon the occupant(s), particularly when the occupant(s) did not cause the violation; and
(4) 
The actions taken by the owner to remedy the violation(s) and to prevent future violations, including any written plan submitted by the owner and good faith efforts of the owner to bring the premises or regulated rental unit into compliance.
G. 
Conditions. In addition to applying and enforcing sanctions as set forth in this chapter, the Code Enforcement Officer may establish reasonable conditions upon the reissuance or reinstatement of a rental license to an owner consistent with the purpose and intent of this chapter.
H. 
Grounds for imposing sanctions. Any of the following shall subject an owner to sanctions as provided for in this section:
(1) 
Failure to abate a violation of this chapter or other Borough ordinances or codes relating to the premises within the time frame established in the notice;
(2) 
Refusal of an owner, manager or occupant to permit the inspection of the premises or regulated rental unit by a Code Enforcement Officer as required by this chapter;
(3) 
Failure to take steps to remedy and/or stop violations of this chapter by occupants of regulated rental units as required by this chapter; and
(4) 
Failure to evict an occupant(s) after having been directed to do so by a Code Enforcement Officer as provided for in this chapter.
I. 
Procedure for nonrenewal, suspension or revocation of license.
(1) 
Following a determination that grounds for nonrenewal, suspension or revocation of a rental license exist, the Code Enforcement Officer shall provide written notice to the owner or manager of the action to be taken and the reason(s) therefor.
(2) 
The written notice required by this subsection shall include at least the following information:
(a) 
The address of the premises in question and identification of each affected regulated rental unit;
(b) 
A description of each violation which has been found to exist;
(c) 
A statement that the rental license for the premises or each such regulated rental unit is suspended, revoked or will not be renewed for the next license period unless the violation is corrected within the time deadline provided in the notice, and in the case of a revocation, the notice shall state the date upon which revocation shall occur;
(d) 
A statement that during the rental license nonrenewal or revocation period, the premises or unit shall not be rented for occupancy except for any temporary, conditional rental license extension that the Code Enforcement Officer may issue; and
(e) 
Information setting forth the appeal process.
J. 
Appeals.
(1) 
Any person affected by a decision, notice or order of a Code Enforcement Officer under this chapter, the issuance of a disruptive conduct report or any eviction order under this chapter shall have the right to appeal to the Council or, in the case of property maintenance or repair issues, to the Code Hearing Board. An application for appeal shall state the grounds for appeal and may include a claim that a provision of this chapter has been improperly applied or administered, that factual errors were made by the Code Enforcement Officer or such other grounds under this chapter as the person may allege.
(2) 
A written application for appeal shall be filed at the Borough office within 20 days after service of the determination, decision, report, notice or order. An appeal fee to be established by resolution of the Council shall be paid at the time of filing the appeal, however, upon request and for good cause shown, the Code Enforcement Officer may waive the fee or any part thereof. If the appellant is successful on appeal, then the fee shall be reimbursed.
(3) 
Nothing contained herein shall modify the jurisdiction of the Borough's Zoning Hearing Board, Uniform Construction Code Board of Appeals or the Board of Health.
K. 
Notice.
(1) 
Notices of violation and license suspension, revocation and nonrenewal shall be provided by certified mail to the owner, manager and occupant. If a notice is returned as unclaimed or refused, then the Code Enforcement Officer shall make reasonable efforts to attempt delivery by personal service, which may include posting the notice conspicuously on the premises.
(2) 
The Borough shall not be responsible for failing to provide notice where the owner has not provided current names and/or addresses for the owner, manager or occupants.
(3) 
Any notice required by this chapter to be given to the owner shall be deemed delivered to the owner if served upon the manager.
(4) 
A claimed lack of knowledge by the owner of any violation hereunder shall not be a defense to the nonrenewal, suspension or revocation of a rental license or any eviction order, provided that notice was sent to the owner's last known address and the premises were posted as required by this chapter.
A. 
General. Any violation of this chapter shall subject the owner, manager, and/or occupant to the penalties set forth herein. The owner and manager are hereby declared to be jointly and severally liable for violations of this chapter.
B. 
Penalties.
(1) 
Any person who violates a provision of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof by a District Judge, be liable to pay the following penalties:
(a) 
For the first violation in a calendar year: a fine of $300.
(b) 
For a second violation in a calendar year: a fine of $450.
(c) 
For a third and each subsequent violation in a calendar year: a fine of $600.
(d) 
For operation of a regulated rental unit without a rental license: a fine of $600, per unit.
(2) 
Each day that a violation continues to exist after the time limit established for correction of the violation by the Code Enforcement Officer without a written time extension or without the same having been appealed, a separate offense shall be deemed to have occurred.
(3) 
In the event of an eviction of an occupant, the rental license shall be revoked or suspended until such time as the owner undertakes and completes any corrective action deemed necessary to prevent the further occurrence of the activity causing the eviction.
C. 
Nonexclusive remedies.
(1) 
The penalty provisions and the rental license nonrenewal, suspension and revocation procedures provided in this chapter shall not be the exclusive remedies of the Borough in the event of a violation of this chapter, and the Borough retains all remedies otherwise provided by law to enforce the requirements of this chapter.
(2) 
Where a violation of this chapter constitutes a violation of another Borough ordinance or code, nothing contained herein shall preclude or limit the prosecution of a violation under such other ordinance or code.
D. 
Any person found guilty of violating an ordinance shall be assessed court costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees incurred by the Borough in the enforcement proceedings.
[Added 4-1-2013 by Ord. No. 1288]
A. 
Each owner of a regulated rental unit shall notify the Code Enforcement Officer in writing of a change in ownership and/or management no later than five business days prior to such change. The notice shall include the name, business address and telephone number of the new owner or manager.
B. 
The owner or manager shall notify the Code Enforcement Officer in writing of a change in the status of the premises from a nonregulated dwelling unit or building to a regulated rental unit or a change in the number of regulated rental units on the premises no later than 30 business days prior to such change. However nothing contained herein shall negate the requirement that occupancy not occur until a rental license is obtained.
C. 
Each owner and/or manager of a regulated rental unit, except boardinghouses, shall notify the Code Enforcement Officer in writing of a change in occupancy no later than five business days after such change. The notice shall include the name and home address of each new adult occupant and the total number of persons intended to occupy the unit.
D. 
Any failure to comply with these notice provisions shall constitute a violation of this chapter.
Where a regulated rental unit is owned by more than one person, each person shall be jointly and severally responsible for a violation of this chapter, and each person shall be separately subject to prosecution for such violation.