Borough of Rankin, PA
Allegheny County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents

§ 4-101 Definitions.

[Ord. 416, 12/13/2015, § 1]
As used in this Part, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context:
BUILDING
An independent structure having a roof supported by columns or walls resting on its own foundation, including but not limited to a dwelling, garage, barn, stable, shed, greenhouse, mobile home, plant, factory, warehouse, school or similar structure.
DANGEROUS BUILDING
All buildings dwellings or structures which have any or all of the following defects may be deemed dangerous buildings:
1. 
Those with interior walls or other vertical structural members that 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.
2. 
Those which, exclusive of the foundation, show damage or deterioration to approximately 33% or more of the supporting member or members or damage or deterioration to approximately 50% or more of the nonsupporting enclosing or outside walls or covering.
3. 
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.
4. 
Those which have been damaged by fire, water, infestation, wind, land subsidence, landslide, or other causes so as to be dangerous to life, safety or the general health and welfare of the occupants or the public.
5. 
Those which are so damaged, dilapidated, decayed, unsafe, unsanitary, vermin infested 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, safety or general welfare of those living therein.
6. 
Those which have parts thereof which are so attached that they may fall and injure persons or property.
7. 
Those which lack illumination, ventilation or sanitation facilities or because of any other condition are unsafe, unsanitary or dangerous to the health, safety or general welfare of the occupants or the public.
8. 
Those which because of their location are unsanitary, or otherwise dangerous to the health or safety of the occupants or the public.
9. 
Those existing in violation of any provision of any building code, property maintenance code, fire prevention code or other code that has been adopted by and/or set forth in any other ordinance or ordinances of the Borough of Rankin.
10. 
Those which have been inspected by the fire department and found to be fire hazards by reason of age, condition, dilapidation, obsolescence or abandonment.
DWELLING
Any building which is wholly or partly used or intended to be occupied by humans for any length of time for living or sleeping. Whenever the word "dwelling" is used in this Chapter, it shall be construed as though it were followed by the words "or any part thereof."
DWELLING UNIT
Any room or group of rooms located within a dwelling and forming a single habitable unit with facilities which are used or intended to be used for occupying, living or sleeping by human occupants. Whenever the words "dwelling unit" are used in this Chapter, they shall be construed as though they were followed by the words "or any part thereof."
ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
The Zoning Officer, Code Enforcement Officer, Building Inspector, Borough Engineer, Fire Official or any other person designated by the governing body to enforce the municipality's ordinances.
EXTERMINATION
Control and elimination of insects, rodents or other pests by eliminating their harborage places, removing or making inaccessible materials that may serve as their food, poisoning, spraying, fumigating, trapping or by any other recognized and legal pest elimination methods.
GARBAGE
Unwanted, worthless or noxious materials.
GOVERNING BODY
The Borough Council of Rankin.
INFESTATION
Presence within or around a dwelling of rodents, pests or colonies or swarms of insects.
MUNICIPALITY
The Borough of Rankin.
OWNER
Person who alone or jointly or severally with others:
1. 
Shall have legal title to any structure, building, dwelling or dwelling unit with or without accompanying actual possession thereof.
2. 
Shall have charge, care or control of any structure, building, dwelling or dwelling unit, as owner or agent of the owner or as executor, executrix, administrator, administratrix or guardian of the estate of the owner. Any such person thus representing the actual owner shall be bound to comply with the provisions of this Chapter and with rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto, to the same extent as if that person were the owner.
PERSON
Any individual, firm, corporation, association, partnership or other legal entity.
PROPERTY
A piece, parcel, lot or tract of land. Whenever the word "property" is used in this Chapter, it shall be construed as though it were followed by the words "or any part thereof."
RUBBISH
Combustible and noncombustible waste materials, except garbage, including residue from the burning of wood, coal, coke and other combustible material, paper, rags, cartons, boxes, wood, excelsior, rubber, leather, tree branches, yard trimmings, tin cans, metals, plastics, mineral matter, glass, crockery, containers of liquid waste and dust.
STRUCTURE
Anything constructed or erected with a fixed or ascertainable location on the ground or in water, whether or not affixed to the ground or anchored in the water, including buildings, walls, fences, platforms, docks, wharves, billboards, signs and walks.

§ 4-102 Nuisances.

[Ord. 416, 12/13/2015, § 2]
All dangerous buildings, structures and dwellings are hereby declared to be public nuisances and shall be repaired, vacated or demolished as herein provided.

§ 4-103 Standards.

[Ord. 416, 12/13/2015, § 3]
The following standards shall be followed in substance by the Enforcement Officer in ordering repair, vacation or demolition:
1. 
If the dangerous building, structure or dwelling can reasonably be repaired so that it will no longer exist in violation of the terms of this Part, it shall be ordered to be repaired.
2. 
If the dangerous building, structure or dwelling is in such condition as to make it dangerous to the health, safety or general welfare of its occupants or the public, it shall be ordered to be repaired or vacated within such length of time as is reasonable with said length of time not to exceed 30 days. Said dangerous building, structure or dwelling shall be placarded so as to place persons on notice that it is unfit for human habitation.
3. 
No dwelling or dwelling unit which has been placarded as unfit for human habitation shall again be used for human habitation until written approval is secured from, and such placard is removed by, the Enforcement Officer. The Enforcement Officer shall remove such placard whenever the defect or defects upon which the placarding action were based have been eliminated.
4. 
If the dangerous building, dwelling or structure, whether or not vacant, has not been repaired in accordance with the notice and order herein provided, and if it is in such condition as to make it dangerous to the health, safety, morals or general welfare of its occupants or of the public, and the vacation of the building, dwelling or structure would not eliminate such condition, it shall be ordered to be demolished.

§ 4-104 Duties of Enforcement Officer.

[Ord. 416, 12/13/2015, § 4]
1. 
The Enforcement Officer shall inspect on a regular basis dwellings, buildings and structures to determine whether any conditions exist which cause any such dwellings, buildings or structures to qualify as a dangerous building within the terms § 4-101 of this Part.
2. 
Whenever an inspection discloses that a dwelling, building or structure has become a dangerous building the dangerous building shall be deemed to be a public nuisance as provided in § 4-201 of this Part and the Enforcement Officer shall issue a written notice to the person or persons responsible therefor. The notice:
A. 
Shall be in writing.
B. 
Shall include a statement of the reasons the notice is being issued.
C. 
Shall state a reasonable time period in which to rectify the conditions constituting the nuisance or to remove and demolish the dwelling, building or structure.
D. 
May contain an outline of remedial action which, if taken, will remedy the dangerous condition of the building.
E. 
Shall contain notice of the right to appeal to the governing body.
F. 
Shall be served upon the owner or his agent, the occupant, the local taxing bodies and upon persons having a recorded mortgage or recorded judgment lien interest in or against the property that is filed and recorded in the public records of the Allegheny County Prothonotary's Office and/or the Allegheny County Recorder's Office. Except in emergency cases, all owners and interested parties described in this subsection shall be personally served with notice if they reside or have a regular place of business in the municipality. All owners and interested parties described in this subsection who do not reside or have a regular place of business in the municipality shall be served notice by U.S. certified mail, return receipt requested, to be sent to the party's last known business or residential address. Notice to the owner shall be additionally posted in a conspicuous place on or in the property. Any owner or interested party that, after reasonable attempts to do so, is not successfully served by the aforementioned methods shall be provided notice by publication published once in the local daily newspaper in which notices of the municipality are typically published.
3. 
Appear at all hearings conducted by the governing body or Hearing Officer designated by the governing body and testify as to the condition of the dangerous building.

§ 4-105 Hearings.

[Ord. 416, 12/13/2015, § 5]
1. 
Any person affected by any notice which has been issued in connection with the enforcement of any provision of this Part may request and shall be granted a hearing on the matter before the governing body, or a Hearing Officer appointed by the governing body, provided that such person shall file with the Municipal Secretary a written petition or letter requesting such hearing and setting forth a brief statement of the grounds therefor within 10 days after the day the notice was served upon such person. The petition or letter must also set forth the name and mailing address of the person requesting the hearing and a phone number at which the person can be contacted. Upon timely receipt of such petition or letter, the Municipal Secretary shall set a time and place for such hearing and shall give the petitioner written notice thereof, by first class, U.S. mail, postage prepaid, sent to the mailing address provided in the petition or letter. At such hearing the petitioner shall be given an opportunity to be heard and to show why the notice should be modified or withdrawn.
2. 
After such hearing, the governing body or Hearing Officer appointed by the governing body, shall sustain, modify or withdraw the notice. If the governing body, or Hearing Officer appointed thereby, sustains or modifies such notice, it shall do so in writing and the writing will be deemed to be a final order of the municipality. Any notice served pursuant to this Chapter shall automatically become a final order of the municipality if a written petition or letter for a hearing is not filed with the Municipal Secretary within 10 days after such notice is served.
3. 
Any aggrieved party may appeal the final order of the Municipality to the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in accordance with the provisions of the Judicial Code, 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 101 et seq.

§ 4-106 Removal of Notice Prohibited.

[Ord. 416, 12/13/2015, § 6]
No person shall remove or deface the notice of dangerous building, except as provided in § 4-301 of this Part.

§ 4-107 Emergency Cases.

[Ord. 416, 12/13/2015, § 7]
Whenever the Enforcement Officer finds that an emergency exists which requires immediate action to protect the public health, he may, without notice or hearing, issue an order reciting the existence of such an emergency and requiring that such action be taken as is necessary to meet the emergency. Notwithstanding the other provisions of this Part, such order shall be effective immediately, but upon petition to the Enforcement Officer, an owner or interested party as described in § 4-104, Subsection 2F, above shall be afforded a hearing as soon as possible. After such hearing, depending upon the findings as to whether the provisions of this Part have been complied with, the Enforcement Officer shall continue such order in effect, or modify or revoke it. The cost of such an emergency repair, vacation or demolition of such dangerous building shall be collected in the same manner as provided herein for other cases.

§ 4-108 Abatement by Municipality.

[Ord. 416, 12/13/2015, § 8]
1. 
If the owner, occupant, mortgagee, or other interested party as listed in § 4-104, Subsection 2F, of this Part having an interest in the dangerous building fails to comply with the order of the Enforcement Officer within the time specified in the notice issued by him and no petition or letter for a hearing is filed as provided for in § 4-105 of this Part, or following a hearing by the governing body or Hearing Officer appointed thereby where the notice is sustained by order as provided for in § 4-105 of this Part, the Enforcement Officer shall cause such building, dwelling or structure to be repaired, vacated or demolished, as determined by the governing body or Hearing Officer appointed thereby in accordance with the standards hereinbefore provided.
2. 
If the municipality requests that the Turtle Creek Valley Council of Governments demolish a dangerous building, then the Solicitor shall certify to the Turtle Creek Valley Council of Governments that the municipality has taken all steps necessary to lawfully demolish the dangerous building, that all proceedings to demolish the dangerous building have occurred and have been properly conducted, that title to properties on which such dangerous building is located has been searched, that all required notices have been given or waivers obtained prior to demolition of the dangerous building and that the municipality will indemnify the Turtle Creek Valley Council of Governments for any claims arising from the demolition of the dangerous building and will pay any claims, suits or judgements entered with respect thereto, except claims arising from the negligence or willful, reckless or wanton conduct of the Turtle Creek Valley Council of Governments or its agents or employees.
3. 
The municipality hereby indemnifies the Turtle Creek Valley Council of Governments for any claims arising from the Turtle Creek Valley Council of Government's demolition of dangerous buildings at the municipality's request and will pay any claims, suits or judgements entered with respect thereto except claims arising from the negligence or willful, reckless or wanton conduct of the Turtle Creek Valley Council of Governments or its agents or employees.
4. 
The municipality may collect the cost of such repair, vacation or demolition together with 10% of such cost, in the manner provided by law.
5. 
The municipality may also seek injunctive relief in a court of competent jurisdiction pursuant.

§ 4-109 Violations and Penalties.

[Ord. 416, 12/13/2015, § 9]
Any person who shall violate any provision of this Chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be sentenced to pay a fine not exceeding $1,000, and in default of payment thereof to undergo imprisonment for a term not to exceed 30 days. Each day that a violation continues beyond the date fixed for a compliance shall constitute a separate offense.

§ 4-201 Occupancy Permit.

[Ord. 192, 11/9/1972, § 1]
That no dwelling house, apartment or other living quarters, or commercial establishment may be occupied when, previously vacated until such time as the owner or his agent has secured an occupancy permit to be issued by the Borough Secretary.

§ 4-202 Application for Occupancy Permit.

[Ord. 192, 11/9/1972, § 2]
The application for the occupancy permit shall disclose the following information: address of the premises, name and address of owner, name and address of tenant, if rented, the number of rooms, bathroom facilities and general condition of the premises. The application shall also disclose the names and occupations of all occupants.

§ 4-203 Permit Issuance.

[Ord. 192, 11/9/1972, § 3]
No permit shall be issued until such time as the premises are deemed to be in a livable and habitable condition after an inspection by the Health Officer, and/or such as other persons as Council may require from time to time.

§ 4-204 Fees.

[Ord. 192, 11/9/1972, § 4]
The application for the permit shall be accompanied by a fee of $2 for residential premises, and a fee of $5 for commercial establishments.