Township of Warminster, PA
Bucks County
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[Ord. 743, 4/19/2018]
[1]
Editor's Note: Original Part 9, Cable Television, adopted by Ord. 588, 11/7/2002, was repealed by Ord. 737, 1/19/2017.
This Part 9 shall be known and may be cited as the Township's "Residential Rental License Ordinance."
For the purposes of this Part 9, the following terms, phrases, words and their derivations shall have the meanings given herein. When not inconsistent within the context, words used in the present tense include the future, words in the plural number include the singular number, and the words in the singular number include the plural number. Words in the masculine shall also include the feminine. The word "shall" is always mandatory and not merely directory.
COMMONWEALTH
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
HABITABLE SPACE
Space in a structure for living, sleeping, eating, or cooking. Bathrooms, toilet compartments, closets, halls, storage or utility spaces, and similar areas shall not be considered to be habitable spaces.
LANDLORD
A person which leases as lessor to a tenant any rental property, the use or occupancy of which continues for a period in excess of 30 days, and/or a person appointed to act as a resident agent under this Part 9.
MUNICIPAL ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL
The individual duly appointed by the Municipality with the responsibility of enforcing this Part 9, any assistants or deputies thereof and any other Code Enforcement Officer of the Municipality.
PERSON
Any individual, partnership, association, firm, limited liability company or corporation.
PROPERTY OWNER
One or more person(s), corporation, partnership, or limited liability company, who, jointly or severally, have legal title to a rental unit, dwelling unit or building.
RENTAL AGREEMENT
An agreement written or otherwise between owner and tenant.
RENTAL PROPERTY
Any dwelling, including but not limited to a house, townhouse, row house, duplex, twin, apartment, condominium, rooming house or mobile home, and any building containing any such units, from which the owner derives income or any other consideration from persons residing at such dwelling, as evidenced by a contract, lease, sublease or agreement, but not including any hotel, motel, bed-and-breakfast, or any other business licensed to provide transient lodging to overnight guests.
RENTAL UNIT
A dwelling unit or rooming house unit that is occupied for residential purposes and that is not: (a) an owner-occupied dwelling unit or (b) otherwise exempted by this Part 9.
RESIDENT AGENT
A person residing in the commonwealth and within a twenty-five-mile radius of the Township appointed by the landlord pursuant to this Part 9. A resident agent may also be a tenant.
RESIDENTIAL RENTAL LICENSE
The license issued by the Municipality to the owner allowing a rental unit to be rented or leased to a tenant who is not the owner of the dwelling unit.
TENANT
A person who has the use or occupancy of a rental property for a period exceeding 30 days, regardless of the payment of monetary consideration associated with the use or occupancy of the rental property.
TOWNSHIP
The Township of Warminster.
1. 
General.
A. 
It shall be the duty of every property owner to keep and maintain the rental unit premises in compliance with all applicable codes and ordinances of Warminster Township and all applicable state laws and shall keep the leased premises in good and safe condition.
B. 
As provided for in this Part 9, every property owner shall ensure compliance with all municipal ordinances and codes for each rental unit.
C. 
Each property owner shall apply for, obtain and maintain in good standing a residential rental license permit as required by § 13-904 of this Part 9, for each rental unit owned. If a valid license has not been issued within the time-frame established by this Part 9, or the license has been suspended or revoked, then the rental unit shall not be rented for residential use. If a rental unit is rented for residential use without a valid residential rental license permit, such action shall be considered a violation of this Part 9.
D. 
The property owner and/or resident agent shall accompany the Municipal Enforcement Official to all scheduled inspections conducted pursuant to this Part 9.
2. 
Designation of resident agent.
A. 
The property owner may designate a person to serve as resident agent of all units owned. The resident agent shall have the authority to act on behalf of the property owner. The resident agent shall be the agent of the property owner for service of process and receiving of notices and demands, as well as for performing the obligations of the property owner under this Part 9 and under rental agreements with tenants.
B. 
Resident agents shall be responsible to ensure that a landlord's property meets all requirements of this Part 9, the Code of Warminster Township, including the property maintenance, grass, garbage collection, recycling, snow and ice and other provisions, and shall, in addition to the landlord, be subject to any and all relevant enforcement and penalty provisions associated therewith.
C. 
The legal name, mailing address, daytime physical address (not a post office box), and day time and evening telephone number(s) of the resident agent shall be provided in writing to the Municipality by the property owner and such information shall be kept current and updated within five business days after it changes.
3. 
Disclosure. The property owner or resident agent shall disclose to the tenant in writing on or before the commencement of the tenancy: the name, address and telephone number of the resident agent.
4. 
Maintenance of premises.
A. 
The landlord shall keep and maintain the rental unit in compliance with all applicable codes and ordinances of Warminster Township and all applicable state laws and shall keep the rental unit in good and safe condition including all routine maintenance, lawn mowing, ice and snow removal, and shall promptly make any and all repairs necessary to fulfill this obligation.
B. 
The property owner and tenant may agree that the tenant is to perform specified repairs, maintenance tasks, alterations, or remodeling if such responsibilities are established in writing. If the tenant is unable or unwilling to comply with or perform the required responsibilities or meet the requirements of this Part 9, then the property owner shall be held responsible by the Municipality for all required repairs.
C. 
The existence of an agreement between the property owner and the tenant shall not relieve the property owner of any responsibility under this Part 9 for proper repair and maintenance of a building or premises. The property owner shall obtain all permits necessary from the Municipality to perform any required repairs.
D. 
Buildings that contain locking entry doors (security doors) at entry points to the building shall include a rapid key access system as may be approved by the Fire Marshal.
E. 
Buildings containing a fire suppression system shall have the system inspected and certified by an approved and qualified fire protection system contractor who is trained and experienced in the maintenance and inspection of fire suppression systems with a copy of the certification to be provided to the Municipality on an annual basis during the Fire and Life Safety Inspection performed by the Township's Department of Emergency Management. Inspection and maintenance shall be in accordance with the appropriate NFPA Standard.
F. 
Buildings containing a fire detection and/or alarm system monitored by a central station shall have the system inspected and certified by an approved and qualified monitoring system contractor who is trained and experienced in the maintenance and inspection of monitoring systems with a copy of the certification to be provided to the Municipality on an annual basis during the Fire and Life Safety Inspection performed by the Township's Department of Emergency Management. Inspection and maintenance shall be in accordance with the appropriate NFPA Standard.
5. 
Violations. Upon receiving notice of any violations of this Part 9 from the Municipal Enforcement Official, the property owner shall take necessary action, or cause such action to be taken, to eliminate the violation within the time limit provided on the notice or citation, which shall include but not be limited to acquiring all necessary building and related permits from the Municipality for the required repairs, as applicable.
6. 
Inspection of premises.
A. 
The property owner or resident agent or tenant shall permit, schedule and accompany the Municipal Enforcement Official on all inspections of rental units and premises during normal business hours except if both the Municipal Enforcement Official and property owner or resident agent agree on a different inspection time.
B. 
The property owner or resident agent shall provide a minimum of three calendar days' advance notice to at least one adult tenant of each rental unit of the time and date of the inspection. These advance notice requirements shall not apply when the Municipality or the Municipal Enforcement Officer has reason to believe that an imminent threat to public health, safety and welfare may exist. In such event, the time periods set forth herein may be abandoned.
1. 
General. The tenant shall comply with all obligations imposed by this Part 9, all applicable codes and ordinances of the Municipality and such applicable provisions of state law.
2. 
Health regulations. Tenants shall collect and dispose of all rubbish, garbage, and other waste in a clean and sanitary manner, and dispose of same in such manner as may be designated by property owner or resident agent, as may be approved by the Health Department of the Bucks County, as applicable.
3. 
Inspection of premises. Tenants shall permit inspections by a Municipal Enforcement Official of the premises during normal business hours.
1. 
All owners of rental properties in the Township of Warminster shall make application to the Township Department of Licenses and Inspections, on or before December 1 of each calendar year, for the issuance of a residential rental license permit under this Part 9.
2. 
The residential rental license permit shall be valid for a period of one calendar year (January 1 to December 31). A separate application shall be required for each rental unit under this Part 9.
3. 
The tenant list shall be updated any time that a change of tenant occurs during the term of the residential rental license permit. Failure to update the tenant list shall constitute a violation of this Part 9.
4. 
The annual fee for a residential rental license permit shall be as provided in the Fee Schedule as fixed from time to time by resolution of the Board of Supervisors.
5. 
The fee for all rental licenses is due by December 1 for the upcoming calendar year.
1. 
Upon every first application for a residential rental license permit under this Part 9, the Department of Licenses and Inspection shall perform an inspection of the rental property subject to the application, to ensure that the rental property meets all of the requirements of the Code of the Township of Warminster, including, but not limited to, the International Property Maintenance Code, the Uniform Construction Code, the International Fire Code, the Zoning Ordinance,[1] the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance,[2] the terms and conditions of this Part 9, and any and all other applicable provisions of the Code of the Township of Warminster or the laws of the commonwealth.
A. 
Any rental property proposed to be issued a residential rental license permit under this Part 9, in addition to any other relevant requirements as fixed from time to time by resolution of the Board of Supervisors, must demonstrate compliance with the following standards:
(1) 
Each dwelling unit must have at least one habitable room not less than 120 square feet.
(2) 
All spaces, other than kitchens, must contain a minimum of 70 square feet to be considered habitable spaces.
(3) 
Bedrooms must contain a minimum of 70 square feet, plus an additional 50 square feet for each additional person occupying the same room.
(4) 
No basement space may be considered habitable unless it meets the requirements for secondary means of egress/escape as defined by the applicable Township Building or Property Maintenance Code.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 27, Zoning.
[2]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 22, Subdivision and Land Development.
2. 
The Department of Licenses and Inspection shall schedule inspections of rental properties under this Part 9 with a minimum of 10 days' advance notice. Nothing in this Part 9 shall be deemed to limit or restrict the ability of the Township to conduct inspections of any residential rental property as deemed necessary to enforce any portion or part of the Code of the Township of Warminster or the laws of the commonwealth. The property owner is responsible for the payment of any and all costs of the inspection, as fixed from time to time by resolution of the Board of Supervisors.
3. 
Upon successful completion of all requirements of this Part 9, the Department of Licenses and Inspection shall issue an appropriate residential rental license permit. Rental units which fail to meet the requirements of this Part 9 shall not qualify for issuance of a residential rental license permit, unless the rental property is brought into compliance with this Part 9. A reinspection fee may be paid by a landlord who requires a reinspection prior to the issuance of a rental license due to identified deficiencies in the original inspection. Reinspection fees shall be as fixed from time to time by resolution of the Board of Supervisors.
4. 
Residential rental license permits issued under this Part 9 shall be valid for a period of one calendar year and may be renewed upon application. All rental units seeking renewal of a residential rental license permit must comply with all terms and conditions of this Part 9. Change of tenant during the period of a valid license does not require a new inspection.
5. 
Inspection schedule.
A. 
Beginning in 2019, and continuing thereafter, properties subject to a residential rental license permit under this Part 9 shall be inspected as provided herein:
(1) 
Single-family dwellings (including townhouses and twins): every two years.
(2) 
Multifamily condominiums dwellings: annually.
(3) 
Multifamily apartment dwelling: annually.
B. 
The Department shall have discretion to schedule inspections of licensed units consistent with this Part 9. Failure to comply with a notice from the Department of Licenses and Inspection regarding the scheduling or conduct of a mandatory inspection under this Part 9 may result in suspension and/or revocation of any residential rental license permit under this Part 9. Inspections under this subsection shall be subject to such fees and charges as set by the Township for inspections and/or reinspections, as applicable.
6. 
Residential rental license permits under this Part 9 shall not be subject to transfer or assignment.
1. 
General.
A. 
Notice of violations. The Municipal Enforcement Official shall provide written notification of violations of the applicable Code of the Township of Warminster, including, but not limited to, the International Property Maintenance Code, the Uniform Construction Code, the International Fire Code, the Zoning Ordinance,[1] the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance,[2] the terms and conditions of this Part 9, and any and all other applicable provisions of the Code of the Township of Warminster or the laws of the commonwealth and require that they be corrected within a reasonable period of time, as may be established by the Municipal Enforcement Official in their reasonable discretion.
(1) 
If a Municipal Enforcement Official determines that a rental unit is unfit for human habitation, the unit shall be vacated and remain vacated until such time as the violation is corrected.
(2) 
The Municipal Enforcement Official may require a violation be corrected within 24 hours, or such other expedited time period as the Municipal Enforcement Official may determine, if the Municipal Enforcement Official reasonably believes that there is an imminent threat to the health, safety or welfare of the tenant or the public at large. Such time period for corrective action shall be provided on the notice of violation with a clear explanation of the corrective action necessary for the unit to come into compliance.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 27, Zoning.
[2]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 22, Subdivision and Land Development.
B. 
Nonrenewal. A Municipal Enforcement Official may deny the issuance of a renewal residential rental license permit if there are outstanding violations of applicable municipal ordinances remaining for any rental unit owned or registered to that property owner. If the violations are not a threat to safety of tenants or other members of the public, a Municipal Enforcement Official shall permit the current tenants to continue to reside in the unit for a reasonable period of time to allow for the unit to come into compliance. A Municipal Enforcement Official may issue a temporary residential rental license permit that is conditioned upon certain actions being taken within a certain time period.
C. 
Revocation. The revocation of a residential rental license permit may occur if the Municipal Enforcement Official determines that the existing violation(s) present a threat to the safety of tenants or other members of the public. Upon revocation, the owner shall take immediate steps to evict or relocate the tenants. The residential rental license permit may be reinstated upon the unit coming into compliance with the stated violation(s).
D. 
Suspension. The Municipal Enforcement Official may suspend a residential rental license permit if:
(1) 
Violations of the applicable municipal ordinance(s) have not been corrected within a time period set forth in the pending notice of violation.
(2) 
The violation(s) are not a threat to safety of tenants or other members of the public, in which event, the current tenants may continue to reside in the unit under the suspended permit.
(3) 
The property owner or his/her designated resident agent were not available for a scheduled inspection, or if the name and contact information for the property owner or resident agent are no longer valid, and were not updated as required by this Part 9.
2. 
Procedure for nonrenewal, suspension or revocation of residential rental license permit. Following a determination that a residential rental license permit shall not be renewed, or has been suspended or revoked, the Municipal Enforcement Official shall notify the property owner or resident agent of the action taken and the reason therefor. Such notification shall be in writing, addressed to the property owner or resident agent and shall contain the following information:
A. 
The address of the premises in question and identification of the affected rental unit(s).
B. 
A description of the violation which has been found to exist.
C. 
A statement that the residential rental license permit for said rental unit(s) shall be suspended, revoked, or will not be renewed. Time deadlines shall be provided in the notice. In the case of a revocation, the notice shall state the date upon which such revocation will commence.
D. 
A statement that during the license nonrenewal or revocation, the property shall not be rented for occupancy, except for any temporary conditional residential rental license permit extension that a Municipal Enforcement Official may issue.
E. 
Information regarding the owners and/or resident agent's right to an appeal.
3. 
Appeals.
A. 
Any person affected by a decision, violation notice, report or order of a Municipal Enforcement Official under this Part 9 shall have the right to appeal to the Township of Warminster's Property Maintenance Board of Appeals.
B. 
An application for appeal may be made when it is claimed that the provisions of this article have been improperly applied or administered or that factual errors were made by the Municipal Enforcement Official, or for such other grounds under this article as the applicant may allege. A written application for appeal is required to be filed within 30 days after the day the decision, report, notice or order was received or served. A fee as identified within the Fee Schedule shall be paid in advance by the person requesting the hearing for each appeal to the Property Maintenance Board of Appeals.
4. 
Notifications.
A. 
Notices of violations and license suspensions, revocations and nonrenewals shall be sent to the property owner, and resident agent if applicable, by regular mail.
B. 
The Municipality shall not be responsible for failing to provide notice if the owner has not provided an up-to-date name and address for the property owner or the resident agent for the rental unit.
C. 
For purposes of this Part 9, any notice required hereunder to be given to a resident agent shall be deemed as notice given to the property owner.
D. 
A claimed lack of knowledge by the property owner of any violation hereunder cited shall not be a defense to residential rental license permit nonrenewal, suspension or revocation or an eviction order as long as all required notice involving such proceedings have been sent to the last known address of the property owner.
E. 
Reinstatement. A residential rental license permit may be reinstated if the property owner of a rental unit corrects the reason for the revocation of the residential rental license permit within the time period provided in the notice of violation and has paid the required fee.