Borough of Quakertown, PA
Bucks County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Ord. 1169, 3/3/2010]
The following documents, three copies of which are on file in the office of the Borough Manager of the Borough of Quakertown, being marked and designated as the "2009 International Residential Code," the "2009 International Building Code," the "2009 International Fire Code," the "2009 International Mechanical Code," the "2009 International Plumbing Code," the "2009 International Fuel Gas Code," the "2009 International Existing Building Code," the "2009 Property Maintenance Code," and the "Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code," regulating and governing the safeguarding of life and property relating to the construction, renovation, use and occupancy of structures within the Borough of Quakertown, be and hereby are adopted as the official codes of the Borough of Quakertown, providing for the issuance of permits and collection of fees therefor; and each and all of the regulations, provisions, penalties, conditions and terms of said codes on file in the office of the Borough Manager of the Borough of Quakertown are hereby referred to, adopted, and made a part hereof as if fully set out in this Part 1.
[Ord. 1169, 3/3/2010]
All prior ordinances of the Borough of Quakertown adopting or establishing codes which are inconsistent with or in conflict with this Part 1 or any of the International Codes hereby adopted are hereby repealed.
[Ord. 1169, 3/3/2010]
If any section, subsection, sentence, clause or phrase of this Part 1 or any International Code hereby adopted is for any reason held to be unconstitutional or in violation of law, such determination shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions or sections of this Part 1 or the International Codes hereby adopted. The Borough Council of the Borough of Quakertown hereby declares that it would have passed and enacted this Part 1, and each section, subsection, clause or phrase thereof and of each International Code hereby adopted, irrespective of the fact that any one or more sections, subsections, sentences, clauses and phrases be declared unconstitutional or in violation of law.
[Ord. 1169, 3/3/2010]
Nothing within this Part 1 or any of the International Codes hereby adopted shall be construed to affect any suit or proceeding pending in any court, or any rights acquired, or liability incurred, or any cause of action acquired or existing, under any act or ordinance hereby repealed; nor shall any just or legal right or remedy of any character be lost, impaired or affected by this Part 1.
[Ord. 1169, 3/3/2010]
This Part 1 and the International Codes hereby adopted shall take effect and be in full force and effect 30 days from and after the date of its final passage and adoption.
[Added by Ord. 1186, 12/7/2011]
1. 
Whenever the Code Enforcement Officer determines that there is or has been a violation of any provision of this Part 1, or of other applicable codes and ordinances, or of any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, he shall give notice to the owner, operator, occupant or other responsible person, as the case may be, of such determined violation. Said notice shall be in writing, signed by the Code Enforcement Officer, and shall include the following:
A. 
A statement of the determined violation and the action or actions necessary for compliance.
B. 
A reasonable period of time, as determined by the Code Enforcement Officer, but not less than 10 days’ notice, for correction of the determined violation or violations, unless, in the opinion of the Code Enforcement Officer, an emergency condition exists or the violation or violations constitute an immediate threat to the health, safety or welfare of any individual or individuals.
2. 
Any person who fails to correct a violation or take a remedial action as ordered by the Code Enforcement Officer, or who violates a provision or fails to comply with any requirement of this Part 1 or of any of the other applicable codes and ordinances, shall be liable, upon conviction, to pay a fine of not less than $25 nor more than $300, plus costs of prosecution, and in default of payment of such fine and costs, to imprisonment not exceeding 30 days, for each and every day the violation exists, which shall be determined to be a separate violation, at the discretion of the District Justice or the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County.
[Added by Ord. 1186, 12/7/2011]
Any prosecution for violation of this Part 1 shall be brought in the name of Quakertown Borough before the District Justice, and all fines and penalties shall be paid to the Secretary or Treasurer of Quakertown Borough and applied to the general funds of Quakertown Borough to pay operating costs.
[Added by Ord. 1186, 12/7/2011]
The remedies as set forth herein shall not be exclusive, and the Borough of Quakertown shall have the right to avail itself of any other remedy at law or equity which it may deem to be appropriate.
[Ord. No. 1216, 9/7/2016]
1. 
It is the purpose and intent of the Borough of Quakertown to establish a process to address the amount of deteriorating real property located within the Borough, which includes property, whether vacant or occupied, about which a public notice of default has been filed, is in foreclosure, or where ownership has been transferred to a lender or mortgagee by any legal method. It is the Borough's further intent to specifically establish an abandoned property program as a mechanism to protect neighborhoods from becoming blighted through the lack of adequate maintenance and security of abandoned properties.
2. 
For the protection and promotion of the public health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the Borough of Quakertown, the Borough Council hereby establishes the rights and obligations of owners, mortgagees and property management companies of vacant and abandoned properties within the Borough and encourages owners, mortgagees and property management companies to maintain and secure such property through registration and compliance with this Part.
[Ord. No. 1216, 9/7/2016]
Where the following words are used in this Part, they shall be defined as follows:
ABANDONED REAL PROPERTY
Any property that is vacant or is subject to a mortgage under a current notice of default or notice of mortgagee's sale, or pending tax claim sale or vacant properties that have been the subject of a foreclosure sale where the title was retained by the beneficiary of a mortgage involved in the foreclosure and any properties transferred under a deed in lieu of foreclosure or sale.
ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
Any building official, zoning inspector, code enforcement officer, fire inspector or building inspector employed by the Borough.
EVIDENCE OF VACANCY
Any condition that, on its own or combined with other conditions present, would lead a reasonable person to believe that the property is vacant. Such conditions may include, but not be limited to, overgrown or dead vegetation, accumulation of abandoned real property, as defined herein, or statements by neighbors, passersby, delivery agents or government agents, among other evidence that the property is vacant.
FORECLOSURE
The process by which a property, placed as security for a real estate loan, is sold at public sale to satisfy the debt if the borrower defaults.
MORTGAGE
A conveyance of title to property that is given as security for the payment of debt or the performance of a duty and that will become void upon payment or performance according to the stipulation.
MORTGAGEE
One to whom property is mortgaged or the mortgage creditor or lender.
MORTGAGEE IN POSSESSION
A mortgagee who takes control of mortgaged land by agreement with the mortgagor, usually upon default of the loan secured by the mortgage.
OWNER
Any person, agent, operator, firm or corporation having a legal or equitable interest in real property; or recorded in the official records of the commonwealth, county or Borough as holding title to the property; or otherwise having control of the property, including the guardian of the estate of any such person, and the trustee, executor or administrator of the estate of such person if authorized by law to take possession of real property, or if ordered or authorized to take possession of real property by a court.
PERSON
An individual, corporation, partnership or any other group acting as a unit.
PROPERTY MAINTENANCE COMPANY
A property manager, property maintenance company or similar entity or individual responsible for the maintenance of abandoned real property.
VACANT PROPERTY
Any building or structure that is not legally occupied and has been unoccupied for a period in excess of 90 consecutive days.
[Ord. No. 1216, 9/7/2016]
The sections of this Part shall be considered cumulative and not superseding or subject to any other law or provision for same, but rather shall be an additional remedy available to the Borough above and beyond any other state, county or local provisions for the same.
[Ord. No. 1216, 9/7/2016]
1. 
Any mortgagee who holds a mortgage on real property located within the Borough shall, upon default by the mortgagor and prior to the issuance of a notice of default, perform an inspection of the property that is the security for the mortgage. If the property is found to be vacant or shows evidence of the vacancy, it shall be deemed abandoned real property, and the mortgagee shall, within 10 days of the inspection, register the property with the Borough, or its designee, on forms provided by the Borough or through a website designated by the Borough. A registration is required for each property, whether vacant or occupied.
2. 
If the property is occupied but the mortgage on the property remains in default, the property shall be inspected to determine vacancy or occupancy status by the mortgagee or his designee monthly until:
A. 
The mortgagor or other party remedies the default; or
B. 
It is found to be vacant or shows evidence of vacancy, at which time it is deemed abandoned, and the mortgagee shall, within 10 days of that inspection, update the property registration to a vacancy status, providing the date of last inspection on forms provided by the Borough.
3. 
Registration pursuant to this section shall contain the name of the mortgagee and the servicer, the direct mailing address of both parties, a direct contact name and telephone number for both parties, a facsimile number and e-mail address for both parties, the folio or tax number, and the name and twenty-four-hour contact phone number of the property management company responsible for the security and maintenance of the property.
4. 
This section shall also apply to properties that have been the subject of a foreclosure sale where the title was transferred to the beneficiary of a mortgage involved in the foreclosure and any properties transferred under a deed in lieu of foreclosure/sale.
5. 
A registration fee in the amount of $200 per property shall accompany the registration form(s).
6. 
Properties subject to this section shall remain under the registration requirement, security and maintenance standards of this section as long as they remain vacant.
7. 
Any person or corporation that has registered a property under this section must report any change of information contained in the registration, in writing, within 10 days of the change to the Borough of Quakertown.
[Ord. No. 1216, 9/7/2016]
1. 
Properties subject to this Part shall be kept free of weeds, overgrown brush, dead vegetation, trash, junk, debris, building materials, any accumulation of newspapers, circulars, flyers, or notices (except those required by federal, state, or local law), abandoned vehicles, portable storage devices, discarded personal items, including, but not limited to, furniture, clothing, large and small appliances, printed material or any other items that give the appearance that the property is abandoned.
2. 
The property shall be maintained free of graffiti or similar markings by removal or painting over with an exterior-grade paint that matches the color of the exterior structure.
3. 
Front, side, and rear yards, including landscaping, shall be maintained in accordance with the Borough's ordinances, including, by example and not limitation, the Borough's adopted International Property Maintenance Code.
4. 
Yard maintenance shall include, but not be limited to, grass, ground covers, bushes, shrubs, hedges or installation. Acceptable maintenance of yards and/or landscaping shall not include weeds, gravel, broken concrete, asphalt or similar material.
5. 
Maintenance shall include, but not be limited to, watering, irrigation, cutting, and moving of required ground cover or landscape and removal of all trimmings.
6. 
Pools and spas shall be maintained so that the water remains free and clear of pollutants and debris. Pools and spas shall comply with all requirements of the Borough's ordinances, the Borough's International Property Maintenance Code, and the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code, as amended from time to time.
7. 
Failure of the mortgagee or property owner on record to properly maintain the property may result in a violation of the Borough's Code and issuance of a citation or notice of violation.
[Ord. No. 1216, 9/7/2016]
1. 
Properties subject to this Part shall be maintained in a secure manner so as not to be accessible to unauthorized persons.
2. 
A "secure manner" shall include, but not be limited to, the closure and locking of windows, doors, gates, and other openings of such size that may allow a child to access the interior of the property or structure. Broken windows shall be secured by reglazing of the windows.
3. 
If the property is owned by a corporation or mortgagee that is unable or unwilling to perform maintenance and inspections itself, the corporation or mortgagee shall contract with a property management company to perform biweekly inspections to verify compliance with the requirements of this section, and any other applicable laws.
4. 
The mortgagee shall inspect or have inspected the property on a biweekly basis to ensure that the property is in compliance with this Part. Upon the request of the Borough, the mortgagee shall provide a copy of the inspection reports to the Borough Code Enforcement Department.
5. 
Failure of the mortgagee or property owner of record to properly maintain the property will result in a violation of the Borough ordinance and will result in the issuance of a citation. Pursuant to a finding and determination by the Borough's Code Enforcement Office, the Borough may take the necessary action to ensure compliance with this Part.
[Ord. No. 1216, 9/7/2016]
1. 
The Borough, or its designee, shall have authority to require the mortgagee or owner of record of any property affected by this Part, to implement additional maintenance or security measures, including, but not limited to, securing any and all doors, windows or other openings, employment of an on-site security guard, or other measures as may be reasonably required to prevent a decline of the property. Further, in view of the last referenced authority, it is specifically declared that:
A. 
Whenever a structure or equipment is determined by the enforcement officer to be unsafe, or when the enforcement officer determines that a structure is unfit for human occupancy or found to be unlawful such that said structure shall be subject to condemnation proceedings under the International Property Maintenance Code as adopted by the Borough of Quakertown (with amendments thereto), then such unsafe structure or equipment or structure unfit for inhabitancy shall be condemned under the provisions of the International Property Maintenance Code as adopted by the Borough of Quakertown (with amendments thereto).
B. 
At the point of condemnation by the enforcement officer as identified in Subsection 1A above, all continuing and future action by the enforcement officer and all penalties and procedures shall be governed by the requirements of the International Property Maintenance Code as adopted by the Borough of Quakertown (with amendments thereto), which such code and amendments are incorporated herein by reference as though set forth at length.
[Ord. No. 1216, 9/7/2016]
Any enforcement officer or any person authorized by the enforcement officer shall be immune from prosecution, civil or criminal, for reasonable, good-faith trespass upon real property while in the discharge of duties imposed by this Part.
[Ord. No. 1216, 9/7/2016]
1. 
It shall be a violation of this Part to commit or permit any other person to commit any of the following acts:
A. 
To fail to perform any inspection or to register any property required by § 5-204 of this Part.
B. 
To fail to pay a registration fee in the amount of $200 pursuant to § 5-204, Subsection 5, of this Part.
C. 
To fail to maintain property as required under § 5-204 of this Part.
D. 
To fail to perform the inspection and maintenance relating to properties so that they are maintained in a secure manner pursuant to the provisions of § 5-205 of this Part.
E. 
To refuse to permit inspections required under this Part.
F. 
To place any false information on or to omit relevant information from an application for registration provided under this Part.
G. 
To fail or refuse to comply with any other provision of this Part.
2. 
Penalties and Remedies.
A. 
Any person who shall violate any of the provisions of this Part shall be guilty of a summary offense and, upon conviction thereof before a Magisterial District Judge, shall be sentenced to pay a fine of $500 and the cost of prosecution for each and every offense, and in default of payment thereof, shall be sentenced to imprisonment in Bucks County Prison for not more than 30 days. Each violation and each day of violation shall constitute a separate offense.
B. 
In addition to prosecution of the persons violating this Part, a Borough enforcement officer, Borough Solicitor, and any other duly authorized agent of the Borough may bring such civil or equitable actions, seeking civil or equitable remedies, in any appropriate court of record of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, against any persons and/or property, real or personal, to effect the provisions of this Part. The remedies and procedures of this Part are not intended to supplant or replace, to any degree, the remedies provided to the Borough in the Borough's International Property Maintenance Code, Uniform Construction Code, Zoning Ordinance, or any other Borough code, ordinance or resolution.
[Ord. No. 1216, 9/7/2016]
1. 
Any person aggrieved by the action of the Borough or its designee relevant to the provisions of this Part may appeal to the Borough's UCC Appeals Board within 30 days of that action.
2. 
Any person aggrieved by any decision of the Borough or the Borough's UCC Appeals Board relevant to the provisions of this Part may appeal to the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas within 30 days of the decision.
[Ord. No. 1216, 9/7/2016]
If any section, clause, sentence, or phrase of this Part is for any reason held invalid or unconstitutional by a court of competent jurisdiction, the holding shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this Part.