[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Fort Edward 3-10-2003 by L.L. No. 1-2003. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Rental of dwelling units that are substandard or in violation of the Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code pose a danger to life, health and property of residents of the Town. The Town Board finds that current provisions are inadequate to prevent such rentals and that the health, safety and welfare of the inhabitants of the Town will be protected and enhanced by enactment of rental property permit requirements and annual inspection requirements for all rental units within the corporate boundaries of the Town of Fort Edward.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
- Includes the Building Inspector or his or her designated agent.
- A structure or building in which a rental unit is located or, in the case of a rented single-family dwelling, the entire rental unit.
- RENTAL PROPERTY
- Includes "premises" and "rental unit."
- RENTAL UNIT
- All rental dwelling units in the Town of Fort Edward (outside the boundaries of the Village), including accessory apartments or rented rooms in owner-occupied premises, rented single-family dwellings, apartments within apartment buildings and any other building or portion of a building occupied by one or more persons, whether or not related to the owner of the premises, as a home or residence under an arrangement whereby the occupant(s) pay rent, whether in the form of money, goods or services, for occupancy and use of the unit.
- RENTAL UNIT PERMIT
- A permit issued pursuant to this chapter. Any dwelling unit or any other premises shall be deemed to be rented if they are occupied by any natural person, corporation, organization or entity other than the owner, regardless of whether actual rent is received.
The provisions of this chapter shall not be applicable to a room occupied by an immediate family member of the owner of the premises if the owner is also an occupant of the premises and there are no separate kitchen facilities. An "immediate family member" shall include children, stepchildren, parents, grandparents, grandchildren, or siblings of the owner and his or her spouse.
It shall be unlawful to:
List, solicit, advertise, offer, exhibit or show to any person a rental unit located within the Town of Fort Edward for the purpose of bringing about its rental, without a rental unit permit.
Accept a deposit of rent or security in connection with the rental of a rental unit located within the Town of Fort Edward, or use, establish, maintain, operate, lease, rent or let a rental unit, entirely or partially, for residential occupancy in the Town of Fort Edward without a rental unit permit.
Owners of rental units which are currently occupied shall apply for a permit within 90 days after the effective date of this chapter. Owners of property which includes or is intended for use as a rental unit shall obtain a rental unit permit prior to advertising unit(s) for rent, accepting any rental deposits or allowing occupancy of any rental unit(s) by a tenant.
Immediately following the effective date of this chapter, all property owners will be notified of its enactment. Additionally, all owners of rental properties which have current rental unit permits will receive notice, 60 days prior to the expiration of those permits, to file an application for renewal (which will be enclosed with notice), within 30 days of receipt of the notice. Included on the application will be a proposed inspection date and time, which will be no sooner than 30 days from the time of notice and no later than 60 days after the notice (which will be the time of the current rental unit permit expiration).
No permit shall be granted without an inspection by the Code Enforcement Officer to determine if the premises and all rental units are in compliance with all of the provisions of the applicable State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code, the Code of the Town of Fort Edward and any other applicable Town, county, state and federal laws, rules and regulations. Once it is determined that the building is in compliance with the pertinent code(s), the permit will be granted.
No rental permit shall be issued until the Code Enforcement Officer shall inspect the premises and rental units to determine that they are equipped with functioning smoke detector devices, approved as to design by the applicable Fire Prevention Code, if any, or conforming to standards of the New York State Board of Fire Underwriters, if any, or, if none, approved by the Code Enforcement Officer.
No permit shall be issued if inspection results in a finding of noncompliance with building, fire, or other local codes and the Code Enforcement Officer shall notify the property owner, or his or her authorized agent, of the specific Code violations and permit denial, and shall proceed to enforce the provisions of the Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code as provided therein.
In the case of noncompliance with the permit requirement for rental property, rental premises will remain subject to annual inspection and the owner of such property will be subjected to the penalties outlined for violation of such permit requirement. In the case of a determination of noncompliance with pertinent building or fire codes following inspection (whether for permit purposes or due to a complaint investigation of a current permit holder), the landlord/owner will be given 30 days to correct the problem, unless an emergency exists which subjects the occupants or community to immediate risk of harm and warrants immediate correction of the problem.
Authorization for inspections.
The Code Enforcement Officer of the Town of Fort Edward is authorized to make or cause to be made inspections to determine the condition of premises and rental units in order to safeguard the health, safety, and welfare of the public. The Code Enforcement Officer or his designated representative is authorized to enter, upon adequate notice (three-day minimum) and consent of the owner, authorized managing agent, or occupant (as to their own rental unit and common areas of the premises), any rental unit or premises at any reasonable time during daylight business hours, or at such other time without consent of the owner as may be necessary in an emergency, for the purposes of performing his duties under this chapter.
The Code Enforcement Officer must send a written request, giving at least a thee-day notice to the owner (or authorized agent) and current occupant of the premises to make an inspection.
The proposed inspection time must be during regular business hours. The Code Enforcement Officer will be responsible for arranging such inspections and for initiating any other appropriate action under these regulations. He or she will give special consideration to any requests for specific inspection times by the owner, including requests that the inspection be conducted during nonbusiness hours for the convenience of tenant(s) or owner(s). In the absence of such a specific request by the owner, his or her authorized agent, or tenant, the inspections will be conducted at a time designated by the Code Enforcement Officer, during normal daylight business hours.
Application for search warrant authorized.
If the owner or tenant refuses to allow an inspection of the rental unit and premises and where there is a probable cause to believe that an inspection is needed or that a violation has occurred, the Code Enforcement Officer of the Town of Fort Edward or his designated representative is authorized to make an application to a court of competent jurisdiction for the issuance of a search warrant in order to conduct an inspection of any property covered by this chapter. The application for a search warrant shall in all respects comply with the applicable laws of the State of New York, which include a less stringent standard of "probable cause" to inspect and do not require probable cause to believe a violation has taken place.
Nothing in this chapter, except for provisions concerning emergency inspections, shall be deemed to authorize the Code Enforcement Officer of the Town of Fort Edward or his authorized representative to conduct an inspection, if denied access by the owner or occupying tenant, without a warrant duly issued by an appropriate court.
Application for a permit shall be made to the Code Enforcement Officer on a form provided by the Building Department for that purpose. The application shall include:
The name, address and telephone number, if any, of the owner of the premises and a statement of whether the owner resides at the premises;
The name, address and telephone number of the managing agent or operator, if any;
The street address and Tax Map description (section, block and lot or lots) of the premises;
A description of each rental unit in the premises intended, used or occupied for rental occupancy, including the number of units, the number of rooms in each unit and the number of persons intended to occupy each unit;
The names and relationships, if any, to the owner of the premises, of each person residing in or occupying each rental unit.
A statement by the owner that he or she fully understands that each rental unit for which a rental permit is issued shall comply with the Uniform Fire and Building Codes (including all pertinent federal, state and local requirements, which require that all premises be kept in a safe, sanitary condition in accordance with the applicable codes).
A statement that the owner is aware that all rental premises are subject to annual inspection by the Code Enforcement Officer upon a three-day written notice of proposed date and time for inspection to both landlord, or, if indicated, authorized managing agent, and occupant(s).
A line indicating the preferred date and time of inspection, noting that the owner or authorized managing agent may change the time to suit his or her convenience. The Code Enforcement Officer will initially select the time for inspection only in the case of a mailed application for renewal.
A statement that the owner and/or the tenant (as to his/her own private dwelling) has the right to require the Code Enforcement Officer to secure a search warrant for such inspection.
A statement that the filing of the signed and sworn application for a permit pursuant to this chapter shall constitute a consent to inspection by the Code Enforcement Officer of all or any part of the property for which the permit is sought, unless the owner, agent or person in charge thereof, or tenant of rental unit to be inspected insists upon the procurement of a search warrant from a court of competent jurisdiction in order to enable such inspection.
A statement that fines and penalties may be applied to the owner for violation of this chapter.
A statement that the owner will notify the Code Enforcement Officer as to any change in ownership or tenancy of the rental property.
The application must be signed by the owner of the premises.
Upon the Code Enforcement Officer's receipt of the application and a definitive time scheduled for inspection, a written notice (three-day minimum) of the date and time of inspection, which must be within reasonable business hours (unless otherwise agreed), must be delivered by certified mail to both owner and tenant.
The Code Enforcement Officer shall review each application for completeness and accuracy and shall make an on-site inspection of the proposed rental unit(s). If satisfied that the proposed rental unit(s), as well as the premises in which the unit(s) are located, comply fully with all applicable laws, ordinances, rules and regulations and that such rental unit(s) would not create an unsafe or dangerous condition, or constitute an unsafe or substandard structure as defined in the applicable laws, ordinances, rules and regulations, the Code Enforcement Officer shall issue the rental permit applied for.
[Amended 6-13-2005 by L.L. No. 6-2005]
A nonrefundable fee per rental unit in the amount adopted by the Town Board pursuant to Town Code §50-1 and listed on the Fee Schedule will be charged to the landlord/owner if, on initial inspection, the rental unit is found to be noncompliant with codes, requiring a second inspection by the Code Enforcement Officer.
The rental unit permit shall be valid for a period of one year from the date of issuance.
It shall be the duty of the Code Enforcement Officer to maintain a register of rental permits issued pursuant to this chapter. Such register shall be kept by street address, showing the name and address of the permittee, the number of rental units at such address, the number of rooms in each rental unit and the date of expiration of the rental unit permit for the premises. Such registry shall be kept available for public inspection during regular business hours at the office of the Building Department.
All residents of the Town of Fort Edward shall initially be notified of this chapter through publication of the notice of adoption in the Glens Falls Post Star.
All holders of rental unit permits will be notified 60 days prior to the expiration of their current rental permit(s) of the need to renew. They will also receive an enclosed permit application form, which will advise the owner of his or her rights and responsibilities and will include a tentative inspection date, allowing the owner the option to select a different time. This notification will require the owner to return the application within 30 days of receipt by the owner and will advise him of the penalties for noncompliance with this chapter.
Upon receipt of the application by the Code Enforcement Officer, notification will be sent to both the owner and tenant confirming the date and time chosen for inspection. Official notification must always give at least a thee-day notice prior to the inspection.
In lieu of response from the owner within the thirty-day time frame for application submission, or upon an owner's noncompliance in general, the Code Enforcement Officer shall send notice (minimum of thee days) as to date and time of proposed annual inspection. Included in this notice will be an outline of the penalties for noncompliance with this chapter. If access is denied for the inspection, the Code Enforcement Officer must then secure a search warrant to conduct the inspection in the best interest of public health and welfare.
Any person who shall violate any provision of this chapter shall be subject to the applicable penalties under this chapter, in addition to those imposed by Article 18, § 382, and any other applicable code or ordinance, without limitation. The chapter penalties include:
Fines. The person who violates any provision of this chapter shall be liable to a civil penalty of not more than $250 for each day or part thereof during which such violation shall be continued.
Alternatively, or in addition to an action to recover the civil penalties provided by Subsection "A," the Town Board may institute any appropriate action or proceeding to prevent, restrain, enjoin, correct or abate any violation of or to enforce any provision of this chapter.