Borough of Coopersburg, PA
Lehigh County
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[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Coopersburg 5-24-2005 by Ord. No. 577; amended in its entirety 9-15-2015 by Ord. No. 650. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
A. 
All Residential Rental Properties shall be inspected to assure compliance with the ordinances and codes of the Borough and the maintenance requirements and standards for such properties set forth in this chapter. Such inspection shall occur each time the property changes ownership or every three years, whichever is shorter.
B. 
"Residential Rental Property" means a rooming unit or dwelling unit let for rent, or an other-than-owner-occupied residential unit. A Residential Rental Property shall not include a fraternity, hotel, or motel unit. A Residential Rental Property shall include residential properties under lease purchase agreements.
C. 
"Change of ownership" means the transfer of legal or equitable title to the property by deed or other written instrument whether recorded or not. The definition also includes an agreement of sale that provides for the transfer of title after a certain number of installment payments by the tenant.
D. 
The owner shall maintain the Residential Rental Property in compliance with all applicable ordinances and codes of the Borough and shall comply with the following maintenance requirements and standards for Residential Rental Properties:
(1) 
Exterior property areas. All exterior property and premises shall be maintained in a clean and sanitary condition and all walkways shall be maintained free from hazardous conditions.
(2) 
Exterior structure shall be maintained in good repair, structurally sound, and watertight.
(3) 
Interior structure shall be maintained in good repair, structurally sound and in sanitary condition.
(4) 
Handrails shall be required at:
(a) 
All exterior and interior stairways three risers high or more.
(b) 
All porches, decks, landings, etc. over 30 inches high; shall have handrails and guardrails spaced to prevent a four-inch sphere from passing through.
(5) 
Windows. All glazing materials shall be maintained free from cracks and holes. Every operable window shall be capable of being held up by its own hardware.
(6) 
Smoke detectors shall be required on every floor, including basement and every bedroom.
(7) 
Fire protection systems. All systems, devices and equipment to detect a fire, actuate an alarm or suppress a fire shall be maintained in an operable condition at all times. There shall be a working fire extinguisher on each floor.
(8) 
Electrical. GFIC receptacles shall be required in all bathrooms, powder rooms, garages, unfinished basements, and all outside receptacles.
(a) 
All receptacles will be checked for polarity and correct wiring.
(b) 
Every tenant shall be served by a main service of not less than 60 amps, three wires which shall be accessible to the tenant.
(c) 
All electric wiring must be secured. Conductors must terminate and/or connect to an enclosed junction box.
(d) 
Extension cords over six feet long are not allowed for permanent use.
(e) 
In a multiple-unit property, exit signs shall be illuminated at all times and emergency lighting shall be adequate and operational.
E. 
Every three years an owner or tenant shall secure from the Borough of Coopersburg a certificate of occupancy. A certificate of occupancy shall not be issued unless the inspection required by this chapter has been completed and all violations are abated. No tenant shall occupy a Residential Rental Property and no owner shall allow a tenant to occupy a Residential Rental Property unless a current certificate of occupancy is issued for the Residential Rental Property.
F. 
Where a Residential Rental Property is to be demolished and a valid demolition permit conforming to the Building Code of the Borough of Coopersburg has been obtained, the provisions set forth in this chapter shall not be applicable and a certificate shall not be required provided such Residential Rental Property is demolished.
G. 
When a Residential Rental Property is being refinanced by the current owner, the certificate set forth in this chapter shall not be required.
H. 
All property owned by the Housing Authority of the County of Lehigh which is inspected annually by governmental agencies to assess conformance with federal standards, or properties that are inspected annually for compliance with the requirements of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development or the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, shall be exempt from the provisions of this chapter.
I. 
The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to hospitals, nursing homes, group homes, or other rental units used for human habitation which offer or provide medical or nursing services, and wherein all operations of such facilities are subject to county, state, or federal licensing or regulation concerning the health and safety of the users, patients or tenants.
J. 
Failure and/or refusal by the Residential Rental Property owner and his/her designated agent to secure the necessary certificate of occupancy, or failure and/or refusal to provide access for inspection upon reasonable notice shall be deemed a violation of this chapter.
K. 
Upon a showing of probable cause that a violation of this chapter or any other ordinance of the Borough has occurred, the Code Enforcement Officer may apply to the Magisterial District Justice having jurisdiction in the Borough for a search warrant to enter upon and in and inspect the Residential Rental Property.
In case the owner of the Residential Rental Property shall neglect, fail or refuse to comply with any notice from the Borough or its Code Enforcement Officer to correct a violation relating to the maintenance and repair of the Residential Rental Property under any ordinance or code of the Borough within the time stated in such notice, the Borough may cause the violation to be corrected by Borough employees or by an independent contractor hired by the Borough for such purpose. There shall be imposed upon the owner a charge of the actual cost to correct the violation plus 10% of said cost for administrative expenses to be billed after the work has been completed. Any such bill which remains unpaid and outstanding for payment more than 30 days after the date of the bill shall be grounds for the imposition of a municipal lien upon the Residential Rental Property as provided by law. Such lien may be reduced to judgment and enforced and collected as provided by law, together with interest at the legal rate, attorney fees and costs. The remedies provided by this section shall not be exclusive and the Borough may invoke such other remedies available under this chapter or other applicable laws or ordinances of the Borough, including, where appropriate, condemnation proceedings or nonrenewal of any certificate of occupancy.
The fees for the inspections conducted pursuant to this chapter are $102 per unit for the first inspection and $30 for any reinspection after a violation has been noted. The fees shall be paid in advance and shall be the sole responsibility of the current owner of the Residential Rental Property. All fees are subject to change by authorization of Borough Council.
A. 
All owners of a Residential Rental Property located in the Borough of Coopersburg shall register all units with the Borough Office.
B. 
The registration form shall list the name, address, and telephone number of the Residential Rental Property owner, the location of the property, the number of units in the Residential Rental Property, and the names of the respective tenants.
C. 
Failure to register the units with the Borough Office within 90 days from the date of the passage of this chapter or within 30 days following the purchase or conversion of a structure to a Residential Rental Property shall constitute a violation of this chapter.
Any person, partnership, limited liability company, corporation or any other entity which violates the provisions of this chapter shall be subject to the following penalties:
A. 
First violation: a fine up to $200;
B. 
Second violation: a fine up to $500;
C. 
Third and each subsequent violation: a fine up to $1,000.
D. 
If any Residential Rental Property is owned by more than one person, partnership, limited liability company, corporation or any other entity, in any form or manner, each person, partnership, limited liability company, corporation or any other entity shall be jointly and severally responsible for the duties imposed under this chapter and shall be subject to prosecution for the violation of this chapter jointly and/or severally.
This chapter shall become effective 60 days from the date of its adoption.
A. 
By conducting the inspections pursuant to this chapter, the Borough does not warrant or guarantee the complete safety or suitability of Residential Rental Property.
B. 
For all inspections conducted pursuant to this chapter, the Borough of Coopersburg shall not be responsible for violations that occur between the inspection and settlement date and/or rental period.
C. 
If any provision of this chapter or the application thereof is held invalid, the invalidity shall not affect any other provisions or applications of this chapter, and the remaining provisions shall be given full force and effect as completely as if the part or parts held invalid had not been included herein.