[Ord. 2078, 10/12/2010]
Every owner and/or rental agent of any and all apartment buildings, mobile home parks, or any and all rental and leased residential properties, situate within the Borough, are required, on or before April 1, 1993, to submit to the Borough of Pottstown, on forms provided by the Borough, the number of parcels or units, including location, then being leased or available for lease, the name or names and mailing address of all renters or leasees over the age of 18 years occupying the said rental units or parcels, and other information the Borough deems necessary. The forms described in this section are collectively referred to as "tenancy reports."
[Ord. 2078, 10/12/2010]
The property owner and/or rental agent is further required to file, annually, a completed tenancy report on or before January 31 of each year.
[Ord. 2078, 10/12/2010]
Any person (which shall include any individual, partnership, association or corporation) convicted of a violation of any provisions or requirements of this Part shall be sentenced to a fine or penalty of not less than $250 and not exceeding $1,000, plus costs, and in default of payment of said fine and costs to a term of imprisonment not to exceed 30 days. For the purpose of this Section, the failure to submit the required tenancy report for each apartment building, mobile home park or other rental or leased residential property shall be a separate offense. Enforcement of this Part shall not begin until December 1, 2010.
[Ord. 1944, 8/12/2002, § 1]
The purpose of this Part and the policy of the Borough of Pottstown shall be to protect and promote the public health, safety and welfare of its citizens, to establish rights and obligations of owners and occupants relating to residential rental units in the Borough and to encourage owners and occupants to maintain and improve the quality of life and quality of rental housing within the community. As a means to these ends, this Part provides for a systematic inspection program, registration and licensing of residential rental units and penalties.
In considering the adoption of this Part, the Borough makes the following findings:
There is a growing concern in the community with the appearance and physical condition of many residential rental units.
There is a perception and appearance of greater incidence of problems with the maintenance and upkeep of residential properties which are not owner occupied as compared to those that are owner occupied.
There are a significant number of disturbances at residential rental units.
Violations of the various maintenance codes are generally less severe and more quickly corrected at owner-occupied units as compared to residential rental units.
[Ord. 1944, 8/12/2002, § 2]
As used in this part, the followng terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any person designated by the owner who has charge, care or control of a residential rental property.
- CLEAN AND LIEN CHARGES
- Charges imposed against the residential rental property related
to health and safety services performed by the municipality, including,
but not limited to, grass and weed cutting, snow and ice removal,
trash and debris removal, and the securing of structures. [Added by Ord. 2078, 10/12/2010]
- Any State or local code or ordinance adopted, enacted or in effect in and for the Borough of Pottstown including, but not limited to, the BOCA National Building Code, the BOCA Plumbing Code, the BOCA Mechanical Code, the National Electrical Code, the BOCA Fire Prevention Code, the BOCA Property Maintenance Code, and the Pottstown Borough Zoning Ordinance [Chapter 27], and/or other future national or international codes and/or zoning ordinance amendments that may be subsequently adopted.
- DESIGNATED RESPONSIBLE AGENT
- An adult individual residing within the Borough designated
by the owner of a residential rental unit pursuant to §203 herein.
The designated responsible agent shall be the agent of the owner for
service of process and receiving notices of demand to perform the
obligations of the owner under this part and under rental agreements
with the occupant.[Added by Ord. 2078, 10/12/2010]
- DISRUPTIVE CONDUCT
- Any form of conduct, action, incident or behavior perpetrated,
caused or permitted by any occupant or visitor of a residential rental
unit that is so loud, untimely (as to hour of the day), offensive,
riotous or that otherwise disturbs other persons of reasonable sensibility
in their peaceful enjoyment of their premises or causes damage to
said premises such that a report is made to the Borough Authorities,
a police officer and/or a Borough Licensing and Inspections Officer
complaining of such conduct, action, incident or behavior. It is not
necessary that such conduct, action, incident or behavior constitute
a criminal offense, nor that criminal charges be filed against any
person in order for said person to have perpetrated, caused or permitted
the commission of disruptive conduct, as defined herein. Provided,
however, that no disruptive conduct shall be deemed to have occurred
unless a Licensing and Inspections Officer and/or a police officer
shall investigate, and a Licensing and Inspections Officer makes a
determination that such did occur, and keep written records, including
a disruptive conduct report, of such occurrences.[Amended by Ord. 2137, 6/8/2015]
- DISRUPTIVE CONDUCT REPORT
- A written report of disruptive conduct on a form to be prescribed
therefore, to be completed by the Licensing and Inspections Officer
and which shall be maintained by the Licensing and Inspections Office.
The tenant and the owner, operator, responsible agent or manager shall
be notified of any such occurrences, in writing. The tenant and the
owner, operator, responsible agent or manager shall receive a copy
of the disruptive conduct report or written notice that disruptive
conduct has occurred.[Amended by Ord. 2137, 6/8/2015]
- HOTEL UNIT
- Any room or group or rooms located within a hotel or motel forming a single habitable unit used or intended to be used for living and sleeping only on a transient basis for a period of less than 30 days.
- RENTAL AGREEMENT(S)
- A written agreement between the owner/landlord and occupant/tenant
supplemented by the addendum or some other document determined, in
writing, to be reasonably acceptable to the Borough as required under
§203 of this Part, embodying terms and conditions concerning
the use and occupancy of a specified regulated rental unit or premises.[Added by Ord. 2078, 10/12/2010]
- RESIDENTIAL RENTAL LICENSE
- A document issued by the Licensing and Inspections Office,
on an annual basis, to the owner, operator, responsible agent or manager
of a residential rental unit upon compliance with all applicable codes
granting permission to operate a residential rental unit in the Borough
of Pottstown. Such license is required for lawful rental to third
parties and occupancy by third parties of any rental units under this
Part, unless the residential rental unit is exempt from the license
provisions of this Part.[Amended by Ord. 2078, 10/12/2010, § 3; and by Ord. 2137, 6/8/2015]
- RESIDENTIAL RENTAL PROPERTY
- Any parcel of real estate identified by a tax parcel number containing at least one residential rental unit.
- RESIDENTIAL RENTAL REGISTRATION
- The document issued by the Licensing and Inspections Department
of the Borough of Pottstown to the owner of a parcel of land containing
at least one residential rental property evidencing the existence
of said residential rental unit(s). This registration shall be required
until the Licensing and Inspections Officer inspects the unit and
issues a residential rental license for each residential rental unit.
A residential rental registration shall continue to be required for
lawful rental and occupancy of residential rental units under this
Part, unless a Licensing and Inspections Officer has inspected the
building containing at least one residential rental property and has
issued a residential rental license(s) or the residential rental unit
is exempt from the registration provisions of this Part. This registration
does not warrant the proper zoning, habitability, safety or condition
of the residential rental unit in any way.[Amended by Ord. 2137, 6/8/2015]
- RESIDENTIAL RENTAL UNIT
- A rooming unit or dwelling unit let for rent, or a rooming
unit or dwelling unit occupied by someone other than the owner. A
residential rental unit includes dwelling units under lease purchase
agreements or long-term (greater than six months) agreements of sale.
Residential rental units are further classified as follows:[Amended by Ord. 2137, 6/8/2015]
[Ord. 1944, 8/12/2002, § 3]
It shall be the duty of every owner, operator, responsible agent or manager to keep and maintain all residential rental units in compliance with all applicable codes and provisions of all applicable State laws and regulations and local ordinances and to keep such property in good and safe condition and to be aware of, and to act to eliminate, disruptive conduct in such residential rental units.
It shall be unlawful for any person, as owner, operator, responsible agent or manager to conduct or operate or cause to rent any residential rental unit within the Borough of Pottstown without having a residential rental registration.
Every owner, operator, or designated responsible agent shall include the amendment attached hereto as an addendum to the rental agreement in each lease of the residential rental unit taking affect on or after January 1, 2003. Said amendment is hereby considered to be a part of every written rental agreement unit in the Borough of Pottstown executed on or after January 1, 2003, and said amendment shall be posted conspicuously in each residential rental unit. In addition, every owner, operator, or designated responsible agent shall comply with the requirements set forth in Subsection G below, as it relates to the written rental agreement.
[Amended by Ord. 2078, 10/12/2010, § 5]
Every owner, operator, responsible agent or manager shall display the residential rental registration or residential rental license in each residential rental unit. The residential rental registration or residential rental license shall include the following information:
The name, mailing address and telephone number of the owner, operator, responsible agent or manager.
The evenings and hours on which garbage and recycling are to be placed curbside for collection.
The telephone number to call to register complaints regarding the physical condition of the residential rental unit.
The telephone number for emergency police, fire and medical services.
The date of expiration of the residential rental license.
A summary of the owner's and occupant's duties under this Part.
It shall be the responsibility of every owner, operator, responsible agent or manager to employ policies and to manage the residential rental units under his/her control in compliance with the provisions of this part, Borough codes and applicable State laws.
No residential rental registration or residential rental license shall be issued to any residential rental unit owned or operated by a person residing outside the Borough of Pottstown (hereinafter referred to as “absentee owner/operator”) unless there is provided to the Licensing and Inspections Office the name, mailing address, actual street address, telephone number, fax number and e-mail address of a designated responsible agent residing or working within the Borough of Pottstown authorized to accept service of process on behalf of the legal owner of said residential rental unit. For the purposes of this Section, a post office box is not acceptable for the designated responsible agent’s address.
[Amended by Ord. 2078, 10/12/2010, § 6; and by Ord. 2137, 6/8/2015]
The designation of the designated responsible agent shall not be valid unless signed by the absentee owner/operator and the designated responsible agent to act on behalf of the absentee owner/operator. The absentee owner/operator shall be required to notify the Licensing and Inspections Office within 15 days of any change in the identity of the designated responsible agent.
Absentee owner/operators residing outside the Borough of Pottstown but within a five-mile radius of Pottstown Borough and meeting the following criteria shall be exempt from naming a designated responsible agent:
No cases of three disruptive conduct complaints within a twelve-month period regarding the same occupants of a particular residential rental unit, as documented by upheld or unappealed disruptive conduct reports.
All real estate taxes, water, sewer, trash fees, and clean and lien charges relating to the rental property paid in full by December 31 of the preceding year.
The residential units shall pass inspection at the first reinspection, both interior and exterior of the property must be in compliance with all codes (there will be an allowance for exterior repairs for the time of the year).
The owner, operator or designated responsible agent must have corrected any code violations cited within 30 days.
Every owner, operator, or designated responsible agent shall comply with the following requirements relating to written rental agreements:
[Added by Ord. 2078, 10/12/2010]
All rental agreements for residential rental unit(s) shall be in writing and shall be supplemented with the addendum attached hereto as Appendix A or by some other document determined, in writing, to be reasonably acceptable to the Borough. No oral leases and no oral modifications thereof are permitted. All disclosures and information required to be given to the occupant(s) by the owner shall be furnished before the signing of the rental agreement. The owner shall provide the occupant(s) with copies of the rental agreement and addendum (or other document approved by the Borough) upon execution.
Editor’s Note: Appendix A is on file in the office of the Borough Secretary.
Terms and Conditions. The owner and the occupant(s) may include in a rental agreement terms and conditions not prohibited by this Part or other applicable ordinances, regulations and laws, including rent, term of the agreement, and other provisions governing the rights and obligations of the parties.
Prohibited Provisions. Except as otherwise provided by this Part, rental agreements may provide that the occupant(s) or the owner(s) agree to waive or to forego rights or remedies under this Part. A provision prohibited by this subsection included in a rental agreement is unenforceable.
Attachment of Summary of Part to Rental Agreement. Following the effective date of this Part, and unless otherwise approved in writing by the Borough, a summary hereof in a form provided to the owner by the Borough at the time of licensing shall be attached to each rental agreement delivered by or on behalf of an owner when such agreement is presented for signing by an occupant. If a summary has been provided when the rental agreement was first executed, a summary does not have to be provided upon renewal. Where a rental agreement has been entered into prior to the effective date of this Part, the owner shall provide the occupant(s) with a copy of the summary within 60 days after enactment of this Part.
Written Acknowledgment. Unless otherwise approved in writing by the Borough, the owner shall secure a written acknowledgment from the occupant(s) that the occupant(s) have received the disclosure and information required by this Part.
Provide Acknowledgment. Unless otherwise approved in writing by the Borough, upon oral or written request by the Borough of Pottstown, the owner, within 10 days of the request, shall furnish the Borough copies of the acknowledgment that the occupant(s) received the disclosures and information required by this Part.
Provide Rental Agreement(s). Upon oral or written request by the Borough of Pottstown, the owner, within 10 days of the request, shall furnish to the Borough for inspection purposes only, copies of the rental agreement(s) the owner has entered into for the residential rental unit(s).
Enforcement Procedures by Owner.
[Added by Ord. 2078, 10/12/2010; as amended by Ord. 2137, 6/8/2015]
Within 10 days after receipt of written notice from the Licensing and Inspections Office that an occupant of a residential rental unit has violated a provision of this Part, the owner shall take immediate steps to remedy the violation and take steps to assure that there is not a reoccurrence of the violation.
Within 20 days after receipt of a notice of violation, the owner shall file with the Licensing and Inspections Officer a report (on a form provided by the Borough) setting forth what action the owner has taken to remedy the violation and what steps he or she has taken to prevent the reoccurrence of the violation. The report shall also set forth a plan as to steps the owner will take in the future if the violation reoccurs.
The Licensing and Inspections Officer shall review the report and, if adequate steps have been taken, and the plan is adequate to address future violations, shall approve the plan. If the Licensing and Inspections Officer does not approve the plan, the Licensing and Inspections Officer shall provide to the owner, in writing, the reason why the plan is not acceptable. The owner shall, on his or her initiative, enforce the plan and failure to do so shall be a violation of this Part.
In the event that a second violation occurs within the license year involving the same occupant(s), the Licensing and Inspections Officer may direct the owner to evict the occupant(s) who violated this Part and to not permit the evicted occupant(s) to occupy the premises during the subsequent licensing period.
Enforcement Regulations of Borough. In addition to any fines that can be imposed under §809 of Chapter 5, Code Enforcement, the Borough shall be permitted to take the following action to ensure enforcement of this Part:
[Added by Ord. 2078, 10/12/2010; as amended by Ord. 2137, 6/8/2015]
Code Violations. Upon receiving notice of any code violations from the Licensing and Inspections Officer, the owner shall promptly take action, or cause the necessary action to be taken, to abate the offending condition and eliminate the violation.
Borough Can Make Repairs. In the case where the owner of the premises shall neglect, fail or refuse to comply with any notice from the Borough or its Licensing and Inspections Officer to correct a health or safety violation relating to maintenance and repair of the premises under any code(s) within the period of time stated in such notice, the Borough may cause the violation to be corrected. There shall be imposed upon the owner a charge of the actual costs involved, plus 10% of said costs for each time the Borough shall cause a violation to be corrected, and the owner of the premises shall be billed after same has been completed (clean and lien charge). Any such bill remaining unpaid and outstanding after the time specified therein for payment shall be grounds for the imposition of a municipal lien upon the premises as provided by law. Such a lien may be reduced to judgment and enforced and collected as provided by law, together with interest at the legal rate and court costs. The remedies provided by this paragraph are not exclusive and the Borough and its Licensing and Inspections Officer may invoke such other remedies available under this Part or other applicable codes, ordinances or statutes, including, where appropriate, condemnation proceedings or declaration of premises as unfit for habitation or suspension, revocation or nonrenewal of the license issued hereunder.
Inspection of Premises. The owner shall permit inspections of the premises by the Licensing and Inspections Officer at reasonable times upon reasonable notice. If the owner does not permit such inspection of the premises by the Licensing and Inspections Officer, the Licensing and Inspections Officer may apply a administrative warrant to inspect the premises.
Duties of Occupants.
[Added by Ord. 2078, 10/12/2010]
General. The occupant(s) shall comply with all obligations imposed upon the occupant(s) by this Section, all applicable codes and ordinances of the Borough and all applicable provisions of State law.
The maximum number of persons permitted in any residential rental unit at any time shall not exceed one person per each 40 square feet of habitable floor space in said residential rental unit. The maximum number of persons permitted in the common area of any multiple unit dwelling at any time shall not exceed one person for each 15 square feet of common areas on the premises.
The occupant(s) shall dispose from their residential rental unit all rubbish, garbage and other waste in a covered trash container and separate and place for collection all recyclable materials in compliance with the trash and recycling ordinances of the Borough.
The occupant(s) shall, unless otherwise permitted by applicable law or ordinance, occupy or use the residential rental unit for no other purpose than as a residence.
The occupant(s) shall not engage in nor tolerate nor permit others on the premises to engage in any conduct declared illegal under the Pennsylvania Crimes Code (18 Pa.C.S.A. § 101 et seq.), the Liquor Code (47 P.S. § 1-101 et seq.), or the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act (35 P.S. § 780-101 et seq.).
The occupant(s) shall comply with all obligations imposed by this Part and all applicable codes and ordinances of the Borough of Pottstown, as well as all State laws and regulations.
The occupant(s) shall conduct themselves and require other persons including, but not limited to, guests on the premises and within their residential rental unit with their consent, to conduct themselves in a manner that will not disturb the peaceful enjoyment of the premises by others and that will not disturb the peaceful enjoyment of adjacent or nearby dwellings by people occupying the same.
The occupant(s) shall not engage in, nor tolerate nor permit others on the premises to cause damage to the residential rental unit or engage in disruptive conduct, or other violations of this Part, Borough codes or applicable State laws.
Disruptive Conduct Procedure.
[Amended by Ord. 2137, 6/8/2015]
Police officers and/or Licensing and Inspections Officers shall investigate alleged incidents of disruptive conduct. The Licensing and Inspections Officer shall complete a disruptive conduct report upon a reasonable finding that the reported incident constitutes disruptive conduct as defined herein. The information filed in said report shall include, if possible, the residential rental unit, the residential rental property, a description of the alleged disruptive conduct, the identity of the alleged perpetrator(s) of the disruptive conduct and all other obtainable information, including the factual basis for the disruptive conduct described on the prescribed form. A copy of the disruptive conduct report shall be given or mailed to the occupant and mailed to the owner, operator, responsible agent or manager within 20 working days of the occurrence of the alleged disruptive conduct.
The occupant or the owner, operator, responsible agent or manager shall have 30 working days from the date of the alleged disruptive conduct to appeal the contents of said disruptive conduct report. The appeal shall be made in writing and submitted to the Licensing and Inspections Office. An appeal of the third disruptive conduct report within a twelve-month period shall stay the eviction proceedings against the occupants until the appeal is resolved, only if the eviction proceedings were a direct result of the third disruptive conduct report.
After three unappealed or unsuccessfully appealed disruptive conduct incidents (or any combination thereof) in any twelve-month period by an occupant documented by disruptive conduct reports, the owner, operator, responsible agent or manager shall have 10 working days from the date of his/her receiving the notice to begin eviction proceedings against the occupants. Failure to take such action will result in the immediate revocation of the residential rental license. The residential rental unit involved shall not have its residential rental license reinstated until the reinstatement fee is paid and the disruptive occupants have been evicted, the district justice has ruled in the occupant's favor, or the district justice has ruled in the owner's favor but has not ordered the eviction of the occupant(s), or the occupants have filed an appeal to a higher court thereby preventing their eviction. The disruptive occupants, upon eviction, shall not reoccupy any residential rental unit on the same residential rental property involved for a period of at least one year from date of eviction. This subsection is not intended to limit or inhibit the owner, operator, responsible agent or manager's right to initiate eviction actions prior to the third disruptive conduct incident or otherwise as permitted by law.
The content of the disruptive conduct report shall count against all occupants of the residential rental unit. More than one disruptive conduct report filed against any occupant of a residential rental unit in a twenty-four-hour period shall count as a single disruptive conduct report for the purpose of the preceding subsection. The Licensing and Inspections Office shall maintain a list of the names of all occupants evicted as a result of the preceding subsection. The names shall remain on the list for a period of five years and shall be considered a public record under the Pennsylvania Right-to-Know Law.
[Ord. 1944, 8/12/2002, § 4]
The registration and licensing provisions of this Part shall not apply to hospitals, nursing homes, group homes or other rental units used for human habitation which offer or provide licensed medical or nursing services and wherein all operations of such facilities are subject to County, State or Federal licensing or regulations concerning the health and safety of the users, patients or tenants. The registration and licensing provisions of this Part also shall not apply to hotel units, as defined previously, or dormitories, fraternity houses and sorority houses, as defined in the Borough's Zoning Ordinance [Chapter 27].
If, in response to a complaint, an exempt unit is found to be in violation of a Borough code, the owner operator, responsible agent or manager shall correct the violation(s) within the time frame cited by the Licensing and Inspections Officer. If the violation(s) is/are not corrected, the unit shall lose its exemption until the violation(s) is/are corrected. If three verified complaints are received in any twelve-month period, the unit shall lose its exemption for a period of five years.
[Amended by Ord. 2137, 6/8/2015]
This exemption does not apply to the disruptive conduct provisions of this Part as describe above.
[Ord. 2137, 6/8/2015]
All owners of residential rental property shall initially submit a complete residential rental license application to the Borough Licensing and Inspections Department on or before September 1, 2015. Thereafter, a complete residential rental license application to the Borough Licensing and Inspections Department shall be submitted on or before March 15 of each even-numbered calendar year beginning in 2018. A separate residential rental license application shall be required for each residential rental property identifying each residential rental unit. Every residential rental license application shall be accompanied by a residential rental license application fee, in an amount determined by Borough Council from time to time by resolution, along with a copy of the lease for the residential rental unit if requested by the Licensing and Inspections Department.
The Licensing and Inspections Department shall schedule inspections of residential rental units with a minimum of 10 days' advance notice. Nothing in this section shall be deemed to limit or restrict the ability of the Borough to conduct inspections of any residential rental unit as deemed necessary to enforce any part of the Code of the Borough of Pottstown or the laws of the Commonwealth. The applicant is responsible for scheduling of the inspection and payment of any and all costs of the inspection (hereinafter referred to as the "inspection fee"), as fixed from time to time by resolution of the Borough Council.
Upon submission of a residential rental license application, the Licensing and Inspections Department shall perform an inspection of the residential rental unit to insure that the residential rental unit meets all of the requirements of the Code of the Borough of Pottstown, including, but not limited to, the International Property Maintenance Code, the Uniform Construction Code, the Fire Prevention Code, the Zoning Ordinance, the terms and conditions of this section, and any other applicable provisions of the Code of the Borough of Pottstown or the laws of the Commonwealth.
Upon successful completion of all requirements of this Part, the Licensing and Inspections Department shall issue an appropriate residential rental license. Residential rental units which fail to meet the requirements of this Part shall not qualify for the issuance of a residential rental license unless the residential rental unit is brought into compliance with this Part. A reinspection fee shall be paid by the owner seeking a second or subsequent inspection under any application for a residential rental license prior to the licensing and Inspections Department conducting such reinspection. The inspection fee shall be as fixed from time to time by resolution of the Borough Council.
[Ord. 2137, 6/8/2015]
Beginning July 1, 2015, and continuing thereafter, property subject to a residential rental license under this Part shall be inspected as provided herein biennially. The Licensing and Inspections Department shall have discretion to schedule inspections of licensed properties consistent with this Part. Failure to comply with a notice from the Licensing and Inspections Department regarding the scheduling or conduct of a mandatory biennial inspection under this Part may result in suspension and revocation of the residential rental license.
Editor's Note: Section 12 of Ord. 2137 provided: "Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in this ordinance, the initial cycle for the first biennial inspection will be for a period of 30 months and begin July, 1, 2015, and conclude December 31, 2017. During this 30 months, a change in tenancy in any residential rental unit shall require an inspection of the residential rental unit. Thereafter, the biennial inspection cycle shall commence January 1, 2018, as described in this ordinance and the requirement for an inspection and issuance of a residential rental license on a change in tenancy shall terminate."
Any residential rental unit proposed to be issued a residential rental license, in addition to any other relevant requirements, must demonstrate compliance with the following standards;
Each habitable unit must have at least one habitable room of not less than 120 square feet.
All spaces, other than kitchens and bathrooms, must contain a minimum of 70 square feet to be considered habitable spaces.
Bedrooms must contain a minimum of 70 square feet plus an additional 50 square feet for each additional person occupying the same room.
No basement space may be considered habitable unless it meets the requirements for secondary means of egress/escape as defined by the applicable Borough Building or Property Maintenance Code.
To the greatest extent practical, the Licensing and Inspections Department shall stagger the inspection of the residential rental units throughout the twenty-four-month period.
Residential rental licenses shall be valid for a period of 24 months and may be renewed upon application. All residential rental units seeking renewal of a residential rental license must comply with all terms and conditions of this Part.
Residential rental licenses shall not be subject to transfer or assignment to any new owner of any residential rental property.