[Adopted 9-12-2002 by Ord. No. 1137]
This article shall be known as the "Sewer Lateral Repair Ordinance."
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- The Borough of Homestead, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.
- BOROUGH LIEN LETTER
- An official letter issued by the Borough certifying that property is free from municipal liens resulting violations of this article.
- CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE
- An official writing issued by the Borough pursuant to § 212-29 of this article evidencing compliance with the requirements of this article.
- COMPLIANCE OFFICER
- The Borough official designated by the Borough Council or the Borough Manager to be responsible for administering and enforcing this article.
- DEFECTIVE LATERAL
- A lateral that permits inflows of stormwater, surface water and/or other nonsanitary discharges into the Borough's sanitary sewer system.
- A sewer pipe connecting sanitary facilities on a property to the Borough's sanitary sewer system.
- Any person, partnership, association, syndicate, firm, corporation, institution, agency, authority or entity recognized by law as the subject of rights and duties. The singular shall include the plural.
- PURCHASING PARTY
- Any person who acquires title to property from another person through a sale. The term "purchasing party" includes any person who jointly owns property, whether as a tenant in common, joint tenant with right of survivorship or tenant by the entireties, and who acquires a greater ownership interest through a sale. The singular shall include the plural.
- Real property located within the Borough upon which a building or any other improvement exists, whether commercial, residential or otherwise.
- Eliminating inflows of stormwater, surface water and other nonsanitary discharges into the Borough's sanitary sewer system.
- Any sale, conveyance, exchange, devise or any type of disposition or transfer of property, including sales at and below fair market value, gifts, exchanges pursuant to Internal Revenue Code Sections 1031, 1032 and 1041, as amended, purchases at a Sheriff's sales, Treasurer's sale or estate sale, and any other transaction in which there is transfer of title. For purposes of this article, the term "sale" shall not include a refinancing whereby the holder of title remains unchanged.
- SELLING PARTY
- Any person who transfers title to property to another person through a sale. The term "selling party" includes any person who alone or jointly owns property, whether as a fee simple owner, tenant in common, joint tenant with right of survivorship or tenant by the entireties, and who divests part of its ownership interest through a sale. The singular shall include the plural.
Defective laterals are unlawful. Upon discovery of a defective lateral, the Borough shall notify the owner of the property to repair the defective lateral. If the owner fails to complete the repair within 90 days, the Borough may, at its option, repair the defective lateral, or cause it to be repaired, or commence a legal proceeding to compel the owner to repair the defective lateral. The Borough may place a lien on the property for all excavation and repair expenses incurred. The lien may also include all legal fees and other costs incurred in seeking compliance with this article, as permitted by law or ordinance.
Except as provided by § 212-31 of this article, it is unlawful for a selling party to sell property without delivering to the purchasing party a certificate of compliance from the Borough prior to the closing of the sale.
Except as provided by § 212-31 of this article, it is unlawful for a purchasing party to acquire title to property through a sale without obtaining from the selling party a certificate of compliance prior to the closing of the sale.
Except as provided by § 212-31 of this article, the purchasing and selling parties shall be jointly and severally liable for violations of this article. This joint and several liability shall include, but not be limited to, all costs incurred by the Borough, its agents and/or contractors in excavating and repairing a defective lateral.
Within 60 days prior to closing of the sale of property, either the selling or purchasing party shall cause the lateral serving the property to be inspected to determine whether there is a defective lateral.
This inspection shall be performed by a plumber or other professional certified and qualified to perform such testing. It shall be the sole discretion of the compliance officer to determine whether the plumber or certified professional is qualified to perform such testing.
The Borough compliance officer may, upon written application and for good cause, increase the time period within which the selling and/or purchasing parties shall cause the lateral to be inspected for defects.
If the inspection reveals a defective lateral, the purchasing and selling parties shall repair the lateral prior to the closing of the sale.
If the purchasing and/or selling party fails to make the repairs required by this article, the Borough may commence a legal proceeding to compel repair of the defective lateral or the Borough may repair the defective lateral or cause it to be repaired. The Borough may place a lien on the property for all excavation and repair expenses incurred. The lien may also include all legal fees and other costs incurred in seeking compliance with this article, as permitted by law or ordinance.
Upon written application to the compliance officer, signed by the plumber or other professional who performed the inspection required by § 212-28 of this article evidencing compliance with this article and the payment of a twenty-dollar processing fee, the compliance officer shall issue to the applicant a certificate of compliance. A certificate of compliance shall be issued when the applicant presents evidence that the lateral serving the property to be sold is not a defective lateral. The compliance officer shall issue the certificate of compliance within five business days of the applicant submitting sufficient evidence and the processing fee.
When a defective lateral is discovered and activities necessary to repair the defects would require such a length of time as to create a practical hardship for the selling and/or purchasing parties, either party may apply to the compliance officer for a temporary certificate of compliance, which may be issued only when applicant provides all of the following:
A verified, written explanation of the practical hardship.
Cash security in the amount of $1,000.
An easement or other license executed by the purchasing party allowing the Borough to enter upon the property and complete the work in the event the defective lateral is not repaired within the time period specified in the temporary certificate of compliance.
Address(es) where the Borough can mail notice of the temporary certificate of compliance expiration date.
The compliance officer shall determine in good faith based upon all the circumstances when such temporary certificate shall issue and expire and shall notify the selling and purchasing parties of the expiration date. If the temporary certificate of compliance should expire without all work having been completed, the cash security shall be forfeited to the Borough, and the Borough may apply the cash security to complete the necessary work. If the remedial work is completed prior to the expiration date, the Borough shall return the cash security to the applicant or to the applicant's designee.
When the selling party or purchasing party is an estate, undue delay in closing the estate may constitute a practical hardship.
In the event title to the property is conveyed by a Sheriff's or Treasurer's sale, the governmental body conducting the sale shall be exempt from the requirements of this article. The purchasing party shall have 60 days subsequent to closing of the property by Sheriff's or Treasurer's sale within which to obtain a certificate of compliance or a temporary certificate of compliance.
Upon written application, the compliance officer shall exempt the purchasing party and the selling party from the requirements of this article upon proof that the requirements of this article were satisfied within the ten-year period prior to the date the application is made.
The fees set forth in this article may be changed from time to time by resolution of the Borough Council.
A request for a Borough lien letter must be accompanied by a valid certificate of compliance and the lien letter fee of $25, all of which shall be delivered to the compliance officer at least seven business days prior to the day the lien letter is to be provided. Upon the request of a property owner or his/her agent and subject to time availability as determined by the compliance officer in good faith based upon all the circumstances, the Borough may issue an expedited Borough lien letter on two business days' notice upon the payment of an expediting fee of $15 in addition to the lien letter fee.
Nothing in this article shall limit in any fashion whatsoever the Borough's power to enforce its ordinances or the laws of the commonwealth. Nothing in this article shall constitute a defense to any citation issued by any municipal corporation or the commonwealth pursuant to any law or ordinance.
It is unlawful for any person to issue or obtain false lateral inspection results or to procure a certificate of compliance or temporary certificate of compliance under false pretenses. Any person violating this or any other provision of this article shall, upon conviction, be subject to a penalty of not more than $500 for each violation or, in the alternative, a penalty of not more than the maximum provided by other Borough or Pennsylvania laws that may apply. Once a person is notified of a violation of this article, each subsequent day that such violations occurs or continues shall constitute a separate violation. In addition to and not in lieu of the foregoing, the Borough may seek equitable and legal relief to compel compliance with this article.