Borough of Wilmerding, PA
Allegheny County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Wilmerding 7-10-1979 by Ord. No. 805 (Ch. 4, Part 1, of the 1989 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Code enforcement — See Ch. 138.
Uniform codes — See Ch. 145.
Fire prevention — See Ch. 169.
Property maintenance of vacant structures — See Ch. 228, Art. I.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
DANGEROUS BUILDINGS
All buildings or structures which have any or all of the following defects shall be deemed "dangerous buildings":
A. 
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 of the middle third of its base.
B. 
Those which, exclusive of the foundations, show 33% or more of damage or deterioration of the supporting member or members or 50% of damage or deterioration of the nonsupporting enclosing or outside walls or covering.
C. 
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.
D. 
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 the Borough of Wilmerding.
E. 
Those which have become or are so dilapidated, decayed, unsafe 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.
F. 
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.
G. 
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.
H. 
Those which have parts thereof which are so attached that they may fall and injure members of the public or property.
I. 
Those which because of their condition are unsafe, unsanitary or dangerous to the health, morals, safety or general welfare of the people of this Borough.
J. 
Those buildings existing in violation of any provision of the Building Code of this Borough or in violation of the Fire Prevention Code or other ordinances of this Borough.
The following standards shall be followed in substance by the Building Inspector or assistants specially designated thereto and the Borough Council in ordering repair, vacation or demolition:
A. 
If the dangerous building can reasonably be repaired so that it will no longer exist in violation of the terms of this chapter, it shall be ordered repaired.
B. 
If the dangerous building is in such condition as to make it dangerous to the health, morals, safety or general welfare of its occupants, it shall be ordered to be vacated.
C. 
In any case where a dangerous building is 50% damaged or decayed or deteriorated from its original value or structure, it shall be demolished; and in all cases where a building cannot be repaired so that it will no longer exist in violation of the terms of this chapter, it shall be demolished. In all cases where a dangerous building is a fire hazard existing or erected in violation of the terms of this chapter or any ordinance of the Borough or statute of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, it shall be demolished.
All "dangerous buildings," within the terms of § 122-1 of this chapter, are hereby declared to be public nuisances and shall be repaired, vacated or demolished as hereinbefore and hereinafter provided.
The Building Inspector or assistants specially designated thereto shall:
A. 
Inspect or cause to be inspected annually all public buildings, schools, halls, churches, theaters, hotels, tenements, commercial, manufacturing or loft buildings for the purpose of determining whether any conditions exist which render such places a "dangerous building" within the terms of § 122-1 of this chapter.
B. 
Inspect any building, wall or structure about which complaints are filed by any person to the effect that a building wall or structure is or may be existing in violation of this chapter.
C. 
Inspect any building, wall or structure reported (as hereinafter provided for) by the Fire or Police Department of this Borough as probably existing in violation of the terms of this chapter.
D. 
Inspect buildings in any ward of this Borough to determine whether they are "dangerous buildings" within the terms of § 122-1 of this chapter.
E. 
Notify in writing the owner, occupant, lessee, mortgagee, agent and all other persons having interest in said building, as shown by the Recorder of Deeds of the County of Allegheny, of any building found by him to be a dangerous building within the standards set forth in § 122-1 of this chapter that:
(1) 
The owner must vacate or repair or demolish said building in accordance with the terms of the notice and this chapter;
(2) 
The occupant or lessee must vacate said building or may have it repaired in accordance with the notice and remain in possession; or
(3) 
The mortgagee, agent or other persons having an interest in said building, as shown by the land records of the Recorder of Deeds of the County of Allegheny, may at his own risk repair, vacate or demolish said building or have such work or act done, provided that any person notified under this subsection to repair, vacate or demolish any building shall be given such reasonable time, not exceeding 30 days, as may be necessary to do, or have done, the work or act required by the notice provided for herein.
F. 
Set forth in the notice provided for in Subsection E hereof a description of the building or structure deemed unsafe, a statement of the particulars which made the building or structure a dangerous building, and an order requiring the same to be put in such condition as to comply with the terms of this chapter within such length of time, not exceeding 30 days, as is reasonable.
G. 
Report to the Borough Council any noncompliance with the notice provided for in Subsections E and F hereof.
H. 
Appear at all hearings conducted by the Borough Council and testify as to the condition of dangerous buildings.
I. 
Place a notice on all dangerous buildings, reading as follows:
"This building has been found to be a dangerous building by the Building Inspector or assistants specially designated thereto. This notice is to remain on this building until it is repaired, vacated or demolished in accordance with the notice which has been given the owner, occupant, lessee, mortgagee or agent of this building, and all other persons having an interest in said building as shown by the land records of the Recorder of Deeds of the County of Allegheny. It is unlawful to remove this notice until such is complied with."
The Borough Council shall:
A. 
Upon receipt of a report of the Building Inspector or assistants specially designated thereto, as provided for in § 122-4G hereof, give written notice to the owner, occupant, mortgagee, lessee, agent and all other persons having an interest in said building as shown by the land records of the Recorder of Deeds of Allegheny County to appear before Council on the date specified in the notice to show cause why the building or structure reported to be a dangerous building should not be repaired, vacated or demolished in accordance with the statement of particulars set forth in the Building Inspector's notice provided for herein in § 122-4F.
B. 
Hold a hearing and hear such testimony as the Building Inspector or assistants specially assigned thereto, the owner, occupant, mortgagee, lessee or any other person having an interest in said building, as shown by the land records of the Recorder of Deeds of the County of Allegheny, shall offer relative to the dangerous buildings.
C. 
Make written findings of fact from the testimony offered pursuant to Subsection B as to whether or not the building in question is a "dangerous building" within the terms of § 122-1 hereof.
D. 
Issue an order based upon findings of fact made pursuant to Subsection C commanding the owner, occupant, mortgagee, lessee, agent and all other persons having an interest in said building, as shown by the land records of the Recorder of Deeds of Allegheny County, to repair, vacate or demolish any building found to be a dangerous building within the terms of this chapter, provided that any person so notified, except the owners, shall have the privilege either of vacating or repairing said dangerous building or any person, not the owner of said dangerous building but having an interest in said building as shown by the land records of the Reorder of Deeds of the County of Allegheny, may demolish said dangerous building at his own risk to prevent the acquiring of a lien by the Borough against the land upon which said dangerous building stands, as provided in Subsection E hereof.
E. 
If the owner, occupant, mortgagee or lessee fails to comply with the order provided for in Subsection D hereof, within 10 days, the Borough Council shall cause such building or structure to be repaired, vacated or demolished as the facts may warrant, under the standards hereinabove provided for in § 122-2 of this chapter and shall, with the assistance of the Borough Solicitor, cause the cost of such repair, vacation or demolition to be charged against the land on which the building existed as a municipal lien or to be recovered in a suit at law against the owner, provided that, in cases where such procedure is desirable and any delay thereby caused will not be dangerous to the health, morals, safety or general welfare of this Borough, the Borough Council shall notify the Borough Solicitor to take legal action to force the owner to make all necessary repairs or demolish the building.[1]
[1]:
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
F. 
Report to the Borough Solicitor the names of all persons not complying with the order provided for in § 122-5D hereof.
[Amended 11-14-1989 by Ord. No. 899]
The owner, occupant or lessee in possession of any building who shall fail to comply with any notice or order to repair, vacate or demolish any such dangerous building given by any person authorized by this chapter to give such notice or order, or who violates any of the provisions of this chapter or any regulation issued thereunder, shall, upon conviction, be subject to a fine not exceeding $600 and costs or, in default of payment thereof, shall be subject to imprisonment for a term not to exceed 30 days. Each day that a violation of this chapter continues shall constitute a separate offense. The provisions for penalties contained in this chapter are in addition to any other remedies provided by this chapter.
The Borough Solicitor shall:
A. 
Prosecute all persons failing to comply with the terms of the notices provided for herein in § 122-4E and F and the order provided for in § 122-5D.
B. 
Appear at all hearings before Borough Council in regard to dangerous buildings.
C. 
Bring suit to collect all municipal liens, assessments or costs incurred by the Borough Council in repairing, or causing to be vacated or demolished, dangerous buildings.
D. 
Take such other legal action as is necessary to carry out the terms and provisions of this chapter.
In cases where it reasonably appears that there is immediate danger to life or safety of any person unless a dangerous building, as defined herein, is immediately repaired, vacated or demolished, the Building Inspector or assistants specially designated thereto shall report such facts to the Borough Council, and the Borough Council shall cause the immediate repair, vacation or demolition of such dangerous building. The cost of such emergency repair, vacation or demolition of such dangerous buildings shall be collected in the same manner as provided in § 122-5E hereof.
In cases, except emergency cases, where the owner, occupant, lessee or mortgagee is absent from the Borough, all notices or orders provided for herein shall be sent by certified mail to the owner, occupant, mortgagee, lessee and all other persons having an interest in said building, as shown on the land records of the Recorder of Deeds of the County of Allegheny, to the last known address of each, and a copy of such notice shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the dangerous building to which it relates. Such mailing and posting shall be deemed adequate service. Where desirable, the notices and orders provided for herein may be served in the same manner a summons is served in the courts of general jurisdiction.
No officer, agent or employee of the Borough of Wilmerding shall render himself personally liable for any damage that may accrue to persons or property as a result of any act required or permitted in the discharge of his duties under this chapter. Any suit brought against any officer, agent or employee of the Borough of Wilmerding as a result of any act required or permitted in the discharge of his duties under this chapter shall be defended by the Borough Solicitor until the final determination of the proceedings therein.
The employees of the Fire Department of the Borough shall make a report in writing to the Building Inspector of all buildings or structures which are, may be, or are suspected to be "dangerous buildings" within the terms of this chapter. Such reports must be delivered to the Building Inspector within 24 hours of the discovery of such buildings by any employee of the said Borough Fire Department.
All employees of the Police Department shall make a report in writing to the Building Inspector of any buildings or structures which are, may be, or are suspected to be "dangerous buildings" within the terms of this chapter. Such reports must be delivered to the Building Inspector within 24 hours of the discovery of such buildings by any employee of the Police Department.
Except as modified by this chapter, all provisions of all other ordinances of the Borough of Wilmerding shall remain in full force and effect without alteration.