[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Amherst 2-4-2019 by L.L. No. 2-2019. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Town Board of the Town of Amherst hereby finds and declares that the management and rental of residential properties constitutes a business which impacts upon the public health, safety, general welfare, comfort, peace and prosperity of the people of the Town of Amherst. The intent of this Chapter is to regulate the management of residential rental properties to protect the public health, safety, general welfare, comfort, peace and prosperity of the people of the Town of Amherst by providing for a licensing procedure for property managers who engage in the management of three (3) or more residential units in the Town of Amherst.
As used in this Chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- DWELLING UNIT
- A room or group of rooms within a building forming a single habitable unit which may be occupied by a person for living, sleeping, eating, working and access to sanitation facilities at all times.
- PROPERTY MANAGEMENT
- The engaging on behalf of an owner of residential property of those activities commonly associated with the operation and rental of three (3) or more residential rental units, including but not limited to the advertising or soliciting of apartments or rental units for rent; tenant review and screening; the collecting and/or oversight of rental profits; and/or the conducting of and/or arranging for minor repairs and maintenance of residential properties in the Town of Amherst.
- PROPERTY MANAGER
- An individual or entity who engages in the property management of three (3) or more residential rental units in the Town of Amherst. The individual must reside in Erie, Niagara or Genesee Counties or the entity must be based in Erie County. A residential property occupied by its owner shall not be included in any calculation to determine property manager status.
- For the purposes of this section and only this section the term "residential" shall refer to a property with any number of dwelling units and is not limited to one- or two-unit properties. If a dwelling unit is owner-occupied, that unit will not be included in the calculation to determine property manager status. For example, if a property has three (3) dwelling units and one unit is occupied by the owner of the property, a property manager is not required for the property. A residential unit shall not include a facility which targets residents over the age of 55 or a senior living facility.
No person, firm, corporation or entity shall act as a property manager or engage in property management activities within the meanings of this Chapter for three (3) or more non-owner-occupied, residential rental units without first obtaining a license from the Commissioner of Building.
Every applicant for a license issued pursuant to this Chapter shall submit the following information to the Building Department:
The name, address, e-mail address (if applicable) and telephone number of the individual or entity applying for the license. The address provided shall be in Erie, Niagara or Genesee Counties.
A description of all properties proposed to be managed by the applicant, including the street addresses, owners and number of units.
Proof of liability and casualty insurance in amounts satisfactory to the Building Department, if deemed necessary by the Commissioner of Building or his/her designee.
If an applicant will collect rents or negotiate rental of property, a copy of his New York State real estate broker's license is required. If an applicant is licensed as "Associate Real Estate Broker" or "Real Estate Salesperson" a copy of the real estate broker's license they work under is required. If an applicant is strictly performing maintenance and no rents are collected or negotiating of rental property is done, then a broker's license is not required.
Other additional information as required by the Building Commissioner.
The information required by this Chapter shall be filed and updated annually with the Building Department.
All applications for licenses and renewals thereof shall be referred by the Commissioner of Building to the Amherst Police Department for approval. Upon receipt of said referral, the Amherst Police Department shall promptly cause an investigation to be made into the criminal background and professional fitness of the applicant and shall promptly report to the Building Commissioner as to whether or not approval and issuance of the license is recommended. If approval is not recommended, such report shall state the reasons therefore.
All applications for licenses and renewals shall also be forwarded to the Planning Department, Building Department and Town Attorney for review and comment. The relevant department shall have fourteen (14) days to review and comment upon the application after its receipt thereof, based on his/her familiarity with the applicant from past cases they may have been involved in.
All new applications for a property manager license shall be referred to the Town Board for approval.
If a property manager collects rents or negotiates the rental of property, a real estate broker, associate real estate broker or real estate salesperson license as issued by the New York State Department of State pursuant to Article 12-A of the New York State Real Property Law is required. As per Article 12-A of the New York State Real Property Law, a property manager or property management company who negotiates the rental of property or collects rents is required to be licensed as a real estate broker, associate real estate broker or real estate salesperson in the State of New York.
Upon approval of the license, a property manager must contact tenants in all dwelling units managed by the property manager and provide them with contact information as the property manager or property management company. This must be completed within thirty (30) days of approval.
If, subsequent to receiving a property management license, a property manager acquires additional properties in the Town of Amherst, he/she shall notify the Building Department, in writing, of the additional properties he/she now manages. Said notification must occur within forty-five (45) days of acquiring the additional properties.
If a property manager is found by the Town to be in violation of this Chapter, or any section of the Town Code pertaining to his duties as a property manager, the Town Board shall have the authority to summon him/her to appear before it for review of his/her license.
The Town of Amherst may impose additional conditions upon any license issued pursuant to this Chapter.
All licenses issued pursuant to this Chapter shall expire annually on the 31st day of March unless otherwise approved by the Town Board. Each new applicant for re-issuance or renewal shall be required to submit a new application in accordance with the requirements set forth in this Chapter.
The Town of Amherst, its departments, and agents may inspect any property managed by a licensee at any reasonable hour.
A license issued pursuant to this Chapter may be revoked or suspended for cause by the Building Commissioner after notice and a hearing. Any violation of or failure to comply with any of the laws or ordinances applicable to the management of residential properties, fair housing complaints or tenants rights complaints shall be cause for revocation or suspension. The Building Commissioner may consider such factors, including, but not limited to, the property manager's conduct during the license period, including relevant criminal or housing court actions and dispositions, the nature and disposition of any notices of violation issued for conduct at any of the properties included on said license and the nature and frequency of complaints about the properties generated from, among other sources, Police Department incident reports, 911 calls, complaints to the Building Department, property inspection reports and other verifiable information reported to the Town. The procedures for revocation or suspension shall be as follows:
Whenever the Building Commissioner determines that a building or a dwelling unit contained therein is in violation of the housing code, he/she shall issue a notice of violation setting forth at a minimum:
Such notice may contain any additional information as determined by the Building Commissioner which may be necessary to achieve the goals of this Chapter.
For purposes of this Chapter, the Building Commissioner, upon good cause shown, may grant additional time to correct violations of the housing code beyond thirty (30) days for sufficient cause as determined by the Building Commissioner. Any such extensions shall be issued in writing by the Building Commissioner stating the reasons for such extension and otherwise in accordance with the requirements of this Section.
Licenses issued hereunder are not transferable.
Any individual or entity engaging in activity in violation of this Chapter shall be subjected to the penalties provided in § 83-1-5 and Chapter 83 of the Town Code.
The fees for licenses issued pursuant to this chapter shall be Seventy-Five Dollars and Zero Cents ($75.00). Any individual or entity possessing proof of a valid "Real Estate Broker," "Associate Real Estate Broker" or "Real Estate Salesperson" license as issued by the New York State Department of State pursuant to Article 12-A of the New York State Real Property Law shall be exempt from having to pay the fee provided for in this Chapter upon the presentation of said license to the Building Commissioner.
The provisions of this Chapter are severable. If any court of competent jurisdiction decides that any section, clause, sentence, part, or provision of this Chapter is illegal, invalid, or unconstitutional, such decision shall not affect, impair, or invalidate any of the remaining sections, clauses, sentences, parts, or provisions of the Chapter.