[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Tuxedo 7-11-1979 as L.L. No. 5-1979. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be called the "Unsafe Buildings Law."
The purpose of this chapter is to promote and preserve the health, welfare and property of residents of and owners of property located within this town by providing a method for the removal or repair of buildings and structures within the limits of this town that, from any cause, may now be or shall hereafter become dangerous or unsafe to the public.
No person, firm, corporation or association owning, possessing or controlling a building or structure in this town shall permit, suffer or allow said building now or hereafter to be or become dangerous or unsafe to the public from any cause whatsoever.
All buildings and structures which have any or all of the following defects shall be deemed unsafe or dangerous within the meaning of this chapter:
Those whose interior walls or other vertical structural members list, lean or buckle to such an extent that a plumb line passing through the center of gravity falls outside the middle third of its base.
Those which, exclusive of the foundation, show 33% or more of damage to or deterioration of the supporting member or members or 50% of damage to or deterioration of the nonsupporting enclosing or outside walls or covering.
Those which have improperly distributed loads upon the floors or roofs, or in which the same are overloaded, or which have insufficient strength to be reasonably safe for the purpose used.
Those which have been damaged by fire, wind or other causes so as to have become dangerous to life, safety, morals or the general health and welfare of the occupants or the people of this town.
Those which have become or are so dilapidated, decayed, unsafe or unsanitary or which so utterly fail to provide the amenities essential to decent living that they are unfit for human habitation, or are likely to cause sickness or disease, so as to work injury to the health, morals, safety or general welfare of those living therein.
Those having light, air and sanitation facilities which are inadequate to protect the health, morals, safety or general welfare of human beings who live or may live therein.
Those having inadequate facilities for egress in case of fire or panic or those having insufficient stairways, elevators, fire escapes or other means of communication.
Those which have parts thereof which are so attached that they may fall and injure members of the public or property.
Those which, because of their condition, are unsafe, unsanitary or dangerous to the health, morals, safety or general welfare of the people of this town.
The Building Inspector shall be the enforcement officer of this chapter and shall make inspections of all unsafe buildings and structures within the town. The Building Inspector shall report to the Town Board all unsafe buildings and structures which from time to time may be found within the limits of the town. When it is reported to the Town Board that a building or structure is in an unsafe or dangerous condition, the Town Board shall direct the Building Inspector to inspect the same and to report the condition of the same and his finding to the Town Board with all convenient speed.
The Town Board shall thereafter consider the report of the Building Inspector and, if in its opinion the report so warrants, shall determine by resolution that the building or structure is unsafe and dangerous and order its removal or repair, if the same can be safely repaired, and further order that a notice shall be given to interested persons or corporations in the manner as hereinafter provided.
The notice shall contain the following:
A description of the premises.
A statement of the particulars in which the building or structure is unsafe or dangerous.
An order requiring the same to be made safe and secure, or removed.
That the securing or removal of the buildings or structures shall commence within 30 days of the serving of the notice, as hereinafter provided, and shall be completed within 60 days thereafter.
That, in the event of neglect or refusal of the persons and/or corporations served with the notice to comply with the same, a survey of the premises will be made by an inspector and architect or engineer to be named by the Town Board and a practical builder, engineer or architect appointed by said persons or corporations so notified.
That, in the event of the refusal or neglect of the persons or corporations so notified to appoint a surveyor, the two surveyors named by the Town Board shall make the survey and report.
Said notice shall be served in the following manner:
By personal service of a copy thereof upon the owner or some one of the owners, executors, legal representatives, agents, lessees or any other person having a vested or contingent interest in the premises as shown by the last preceding completed assessment roll of the town, such service to be complete and the thirty-day time period recited in said notice to commence upon filing of an affidavit of personal service upon the owner with the Town Clerk; or
By mailing a copy of said notice to such owner as aforesaid, by certified mail, return receipt requested, addressed to the last known address of the owner and by affixing a copy of said notice to the premises, such service to be complete and the thirty-day time period recited in said notice to commence 10 days after the filing of the return receipt and the affidavit of posting with the Town Clerk; and
By personal service of a copy of said notice upon any adult residing in or occupying said premises or, if no such person can be reasonably found, by posting a copy of said notice upon the premises.
In the event of neglect or refusal of the persons so notified to comply with said order of the Town Board, a survey of said premises shall be made in the following manner:
The Town Board shall appoint an inspector and architect or engineer, and the persons so notified shall appoint a practical builder, engineer or architect who shall make said survey and submit a written report thereon in regard to the unsafe or dangerous condition of said building or structure. If the persons so notified shall refuse or neglect to appoint a surveyor within 40 days after service of the notice the two surveyors appointed by the Town Board shall proceed and report.
A signed copy of such report shall be posted on the structure.
In the event that the building or other structure shall be reported unsafe or dangerous under such survey, the Town Board may pass a resolution directing the Supervisor to make an application to the Supreme Court for an order determining the building or other structure to be a public nuisance and directing that it shall be repaired and secured or taken down and removed.
The surveyors shall be paid reasonable compensation for the service performed by them in making their survey and in preparing the report thereof.
All costs and expenses incurred by the town in connection with the proceedings to remove or secure, including the cost of actually removing said building or structure, shall be assessed against the land on which said buildings or structures are located.
In case there shall be, in the opinion of the Building Inspector, actual and immediate danger of the falling of a building or structure so as to endanger public safety, life or property or actual or immediate menace to health or public welfare as a result of the conditions present in or about a building or structure, he shall cause the necessary work to be done to render such building or structure temporarily safe, whether the procedure prescribed in this chapter for unsafe or dangerous buildings or structures has been instituted or not.
When emergency work is to be performed under this section, the Building Inspector shall cause the owner thereof to be served personally or by registered mail, return receipt requested, and, if served by registered mail, shall post on the premises a notice to comply containing a description of the premises, a statement of the facts in which the structure is unsafe or dangerous and orders and directions to correct the conditions which constitute an emergency within a specified period not to exceed three days from actual or constructive receipt of the notice.
In the event that the emergency does not permit any delay in correction, the notice shall state that the town has corrected the emergency condition.
In both cases, the notice shall state that the corrective costs of the emergency will be assessed against the owner pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
Pursuant to the authority and powers granted in the Municipal Home Rule Law, particularly § 10 thereof, the following alternate or additional procedures may be followed:
Upon the making of a survey report by the Building Inspector that the building or structure is reported unsafe or dangerous to the public, the Town Board may direct the Building Inspector to serve a notice upon the owner, and all other persons having an interest in such property or structure, either personally or by registered mail, addressed to his last known address as shown by the records of the Town Assessor and/or in the office of the County Clerk, containing a description of the premises, a statement of the particulars in which the building or structure is unsafe or dangerous and an order of the Building Inspector requiring same to be repaired or removed and, if such service is made by registered mail, the posting of such notice on the premises.
Such owner so served shall commence the repair or removal of such building or structure within 30 days after service of such notice.
A hearing shall be held before the Building Inspector at a time and place specified in the notice to repair or demolish not sooner than two weeks nor later than the date given to commence repair or removal, if the owner requests same at least one week before the scheduled date for the hearing. If no hearing is requested, the order so served shall take effect as provided in the notice.
At the hearing, the owner, the town and any other interested parties may present witnesses and any other proof relating to the matters, and all parties may appear in person or with their attorneys.
At the conclusion of the hearing, the Building Inspector shall make a determination in writing, and a copy of same shall be served either personally or by registered mail on all parties who appeared thereon.
The determination shall state whether the original survey report is sustained, modified or reversed. If reversed, no further proceeding shall be had.
If the original survey is sustained, in whole or in part, the Building Inspector shall also include an order directing the owner to proceed in accordance therewith and shall further specify that unless the work is commenced within 10 days after service and completed within a reasonable time thereafter, which the Building Inspector shall designate, the penalties hereinafter provided shall be invoked.
Upon notification that the owner of the unsafe building or structure has failed or refused to repair the unsafe building or structure within the time specified in the final order, the Building Inspector shall report same to the Town Board. The Town Board may direct that the town shall cause the repair or removal of the unsafe building. After the work has been completed, the Building Inspector shall file with the Town Board a verified statement of all the direct costs of same, together with a charge of 50% in addition thereto as compensation to the town for administering, supervising and handling said work.
Upon receipt of the verified statement, the Town Board shall direct that the amount thereof, including the charges added thereto, shall constitute a lien against the premises and direct that the same shall be added to the next assessment roll of general town taxes and shall be collected and enforced in the same manner, by the same proceedings, at the same time and under the same penalties as the general town tax and as a part thereof. In addition thereto, interest shall run thereon from the date of filing the verified statement to the date of actual payment at seven and one half percent (7 1/2%) per annum.
Notwithstanding any provision herein to the contrary, the town may, at its election, institute suit against the owner of the premises for the direct costs, together with a charge of 50% in addition thereto as compensation to the town for administering, supervising and handling said work, and enter judgment thereon against the owner personally for the aforesaid amount. The imposition and collection of any fine or penalty hereinafter prescribed shall not bar the right of the town to collect the costs of the removal or repair of any unsafe building or structure as herein prescribed.
The failure of the owner to complete the repairs or to remove the unsafe building or structure as specified in the final notice of the Building Inspector shall subject the owner to the same procedure and penalties as herein set forth.
The transfer of title by the owner of premises upon which an unsafe building or structure is located shall be no defense to any proceedings under this chapter.
[Amended 10-10-1979 by L.L. No. 7-1979]
Any person upon whom a notice as provided in this chapter has been served who fails, neglects or refuses to place such unsafe building or structure in a safe condition as designated in such notice, or who shall commit an offense against any of the provisions of this chapter or orders given pursuant thereto, or who shall resist or obstruct the Building Inspector in carrying out the provisions of this chapter, shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a violation pursuant to the Penal Law of the State of New York, punishable by a fine of not more than $250 or by imprisonment for not more than 15 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment. Each week in which such offense continues shall constitute a separate violation.