Borough of Denver, PA
Lancaster County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Denver 7-11-2005 by Ord. No. 551. Amendments noted where applicable.]
144a Exhibit A

§ 144-1 Purpose and scope.

The purpose of this chapter and the policy of the Borough of Denver shall be to protect and promote the public health, safety and welfare of its citizens, to establish rights and obligations of owners and occupants relating to residential rental units in the Borough, and to encourage owners and occupants to maintain and improve the quality of rental housing within the Borough. As a means to these ends, this chapter provides for a systematic inspection program, registration and licensing of residential rental units, and penalties.

§ 144-2 Definitions and word usage.

Unless otherwise expressly stated, the following terms shall, for the purpose of this chapter, have the meanings indicated as follows:
BOROUGH
The Borough of Denver, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
A person designated by Borough Council to enforce this chapter, including issuance of residential rental licenses and the issuance of citations.
CODES
Any state or local code or ordinance adopted, enacted or in effect in and for the Borough, including, but not limited to, the Building Code, codified as Chapter 94; the Property Maintenance Code, codified as Chapter 140; the Zoning Ordinance, codified as Chapter 200; and general nuisance ordinances.
COUNTY
The County of Lancaster.
DESIGNEE
A person retained by an owner to be responsible for one or more residential rental units within the Borough.
HOTEL UNIT
Any room or group of rooms located within a hotel, motel, or bed-and-breakfast forming a single habitable unit used or intended to be used for living and sleeping only on a transient basis for a period of less than 30 days for a hotel or motel, and no more than seven consecutive days for a bed-and-breakfast.
OCCUPANT
Any person over one year of age living and sleeping in a residential rental unit or having actual possession of said residential rental unit for a period of 30 days during the calendar year.
OWNER
The person who holds record title and/or the equitable owner under an agreement of sale of a property upon which a residential rental unit is erected or maintained. If more than one person owns the residential rental unit as joint tenants, tenants in common, tenants by the entireties, or tenants in copartnership, each such person shall be considered an owner and shall have all of the duties of an owner under this chapter.
PERSON
A natural individual, unincorporated association, partnership, corporation, estate, trust or any other legally recognized entity, and the members of such partnership and the officers of such corporation.
PERSONAL CARE HOME
A premises in which food, shelter, and personal assistance or supervision are continually provided for four or more adults who are not relatives of the operator, who do not require the services in or of a licensed long-term facility, but who do require assistance or supervision in matters such as dressing, bathing, diet, financial management, evacuation of a residence in the event of an emergency, or medication prescribed for self-administration and which meets regulations of any applicable government licensing agency.
PREMISES
Any parcel of real estate within the Borough, including the land and all buildings and appurtenant structures, on which one or more residential rental units are located.
PROPERTY MAINTENANCE CODE
The Borough Property Maintenance Code enacted as Chapter 140 of the Code of ordinances, as it may be amended in the future.
RENTAL INSPECTOR
A person designated by Borough Council to perform inspections of residential rental units. The Rental Inspector may also serve as the Code Enforcement Officer.
RESIDENTIAL RENTAL LICENSE
A document issued by the Code Enforcement Officer to the owner of a residential rental unit.
RESIDENTIAL RENTAL UNIT
A rooming unit, or a dwelling unit let for rent, or a residential unit occupied by any persons other than one occupied solely by the owner and members of the owner's family. Each individual townhouse dwelling, each individual apartment unit, each individual unit in a multifamily building, and each rooming unit shall be considered a separate residential rental unit. If a structure contains a rooming unit or if any portion of the structure is let for rent, it shall be considered a residential rental unit whether or not the owner or a relative of the owner also resides in the structure. A residential rental unit shall not include a hotel unit or a personal care home. A residential rental unit includes dwelling units under lease-purchase agreements, or long-term (greater than six months) agreements of sale.
ROOMING UNIT
A portion of a dwelling unit including any room or group of rooms forming a single habitable unit used or intended to be used for living and sleeping, but not for cooking purposes. Granting of permission to use shared or common cooking facilities may be associated with the leasing of a rooming unit.

§ 144-3 Duties of owners and designees of residential rental units.

A. 
It shall be the duty of every owner to:
(1) 
Keep and maintain all residential rental units in compliance with all applicable Codes and provisions of all applicable state laws and regulations, including but not limited to Chapter 200, Zoning.
(2) 
Keep and maintain all premises in good and safe condition.
(3) 
Be aware of, and to act to eliminate disruptive conduct in all residential rental units.
(4) 
Employ policies and to manage the residential rental units under his/her control in compliance with the provisions of this chapter, Borough codes and applicable state laws.
(5) 
Pay or insure payment of all real estate taxes, water rates, and sewer rates to insure that such vital utilities are provided.
(6) 
Obtain and maintain a residential rental license for each residential rental unit.
(7) 
Provide the Borough within 30 days of the names of all tenants of the residential rental unit and notify the Borough of changes in the occupancy of the residential rental unit.
(8) 
Provide trash and recyclable collection and disposal services and instruct tenants of the method of trash and recyclable collection (e.g., curbside or dumpster) and, if applicable, the day of week of trash and recyclable pickup.
(9) 
Provide each tenant with a disclosure statement containing the requirements of this chapter, including the provisions relating to disruptive conduct. Provision of a copy of this chapter to each tenant will satisfy this requirement.
(10) 
Take all actions necessary to insure that each residential rental unit is occupied by only one family. For the purposes of this subsection, a "family" shall be considered to be a "family" as that term is defined in Chapter 200, Zoning.
(11) 
Require a written rental agreement for each residential rental unit.
(12) 
Retain a designee when this chapter requires that a designee be designated.
B. 
If the owner has appointed a designee shall be jointly responsible to fulfill all of the obligations in Subsection A. No owner may relieve himself of the responsibility to perform the duties set forth in Subsection A by appointing a designee.
C. 
It shall be unlawful for any person to conduct or operate or cause to be rented either as owner or designee any residential rental unit within the Borough without having a residential rental license as required by this chapter.
D. 
The owner and, if applicable, the designee shall include the amendment attached hereto as Exhibit A, identified as "Addendum to Residential Rental Agreement" in each lease of a residential rental unit taking effect on or after September 1, 2005.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: The Addendum to Residential Rental Agreement is included at the end of this chapter.
E. 
It shall be the responsibility of every owner and every designee of any building where there is a common area used by two or more tenants to display the residential rental license in the common area. It shall be the responsibility of every owner and every designee to demonstrate that he or she has provided the tenant with a copy of the license for any rental unit where there is no common area. The residential rental license shall include the following information:
(1) 
The name, mailing address and telephone number of the owner or designee.
(2) 
The evenings on which garbage and recycling are to be placed curbside for collection.
(3) 
The telephone number to call to register complaints regarding the physical condition of the residential rental unit.
(4) 
The telephone number for emergency police, fire and medical services.
(5) 
The date of expiration of the residential rental license.
(6) 
A summary of the owner's and occupant's duties under this chapter.
F. 
No residential rental license shall be issued to any owner residing more than 50 miles from the municipal limits of the Borough unless the owner provides the Code Enforcement Officer with the name, mailing address, and telephone number of a designee residing within 50 miles from the municipal limits of the Borough, who is authorized to accept service of process on behalf of the owner. For the purpose of this subsection, a post office box is not acceptable for the designee's address. This designation shall not be valid unless signed by the owner and the designee designated to act on behalf of the owner. The owner shall notify the Code Enforcement Officer within 30 days of any change in designee.

§ 144-4 Exemption from licensing requirements.

A. 
All property owned by the county or any housing authority created by the county which is inspected annually by those agencies to assess conformance with federal standards, or properties that are inspected annually for compliance with the requirements of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development or the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, regardless of the occupants, shall be exempt from the licensing provisions of this chapter.
B. 
If, in response to a complaint, an exempt unit is found to be in violation of a Code, the owner and, if applicable, the designee shall correct the violation(s) within the time frame cited by the Code Enforcement Officer. If the violation(s) is/are not corrected, the unit shall lose its exemption until the violation(s) is/are corrected. If three verified complaints are received in any twelve-month period, the unit shall lose its exemption from the requirement to obtain a license for a period of five years.
C. 
All occupants of residential rental units, whether or not the residential rental unit is exempt from the licensing requirements of this chapter, shall be subject to the provisions of § 144-5 of this chapter.

§ 144-5 Duties of occupants of residential rental units.

Each occupant of a residential rental unit shall have the following duties:
A. 
Comply with all obligations of this chapter and all applicable Codes and Borough ordinances, as well as all state laws and regulations.
B. 
Conduct himself/herself and require other persons, including, but not limited to, guests on the premises and within their residential rental unit with their consent, to conduct themselves in a manner that will not disturb the peaceful enjoyment of the premises by others and that will not disturb the peaceful enjoyment of adjacent or nearby dwellings by people occupying the same.
C. 
Not engage in, nor tolerate, nor permit others on the premises to cause damage to the residential rental unit or engage in disruptive conduct, or other violations of this chapter, Codes, Borough ordinances, or applicable state laws.
D. 
Use the trash and recyclable collection services provided by the owner.
E. 
Use the residential rental unit for no purpose other than as a residence.
F. 
Maintain the residential rental unit in a manner meeting all requirements for occupants of structures set forth in the Property Maintenance Code.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 140, Property Maintenance.
G. 
Allow the Rental Inspector and/or the Code Enforcement Officer to inspect the residential rental unit in accordance with this chapter at reasonable times.
H. 
Not allow persons other than those identified on the lease to reside in the residential rental unit.
I. 
Not allow the residential rental unit to be occupied by more than one family. For the purpose of this subsection, a "family" shall be considered to be a "family" as that term is defined in Chapter 200, Zoning.
J. 
Not permit the possession of, serving to or consumption of alcohol by underage persons.

§ 144-6 Residential rental unit licensing.

A. 
The owner or designee of each residential rental unit shall apply for and obtain an annual residential rental license for each residential rental unit by January 1 of each calendar year; provided, however, that in 2005 the owner or designee of each residential unit who previously obtained a permit under Chapter 11, Part 1, as in effect prior to July 11, 2005, shall apply for and obtain a residential rental license for 2005 only if there is a change in circumstances relating to such residential rental unit after July 11, 2005.
B. 
Prior to initial occupancy of newly constructed residential rental units, newly created residential rental units, or substantially rehabilitated residential rental units, the owner or designee shall register with and make written application to the Code Enforcement Officer for a residential rental license as herein provided.
C. 
The Code Enforcement Officer shall issue residential rental license if the owner provides the name, address and phone number of a designee (if applicable), pays the registration fee, submits a complete and accurate occupant listing for the residential rental unit and is current on real estate taxes, water rates, and sewer rates for the residential rental unit.
D. 
The Code Enforcement Officer shall deny and may revoke a residential rental license if the owner does not provide the name, address and phone number of a designee (if applicable), does not pay the annual registration fee, is not current on real estate taxes, water rates, or sewer rates for the residential rental unit, does not submit a complete and accurate occupant listing for residential rental unit with the application for renewal of the residential rental unit license or within one month after a change in the identity of the occupants of the residential rental unit, and/or does not correct a code violation within the time frame cited by the Code Enforcement Officer.
E. 
The Code Enforcement Officer shall deny and may revoke a residential rental license if the following occur within the licensed residential rental unit or on the premises:
(1) 
Failure to abate any violation of the Property Maintenance Code[1] within the time specified in the notice of violation unless an appeal is pending.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 140, Property Maintenance.
(2) 
Occurrence of three violations of this chapter and/or of any other Borough codes or ordinances that apply to the residential rental unit or premises during the term of the license. Before an occurrence may be considered a violation there must be either (i) a summary conviction or (ii) the Code Enforcement Officer must send the owner a written notice of the violation within 30 days of the incident and the period for the owner to file an appeal from the determination of the Code Enforcement Officer must have expired.
F. 
The Code Enforcement Officer shall forward written notice to the owner if the Code Enforcement Officer will deny, refuse to renew or revoke a residential rental license. The notification shall (i) identify the residential rental unit; (ii) the grounds for the denial, nonrenewal or revocation, including the factual circumstances and the section of this chapter supporting such determination; and (iii) informing the owner of the right to appeal the denial, nonrenewal or revocation of the residential rental license to Borough Council under this chapter.
G. 
The Code Enforcement Officer may reinstate a residential rental license if the owner or designee corrects the reason for the revocation of the residential rental license and has paid the residential rental license reinstatement fee.

§ 144-7 Inspection of residential rental units.

Prior to initial occupancy of newly constructed residential rental units, newly created residential rental units, or substantially rehabilitated residential rental units (as documented by a certificate of occupancy), the owner or designee shall register with and make written application to the Code Enforcement Officer for a residential rental license as herein provided.
A. 
Initial inspections will occur in accordance with a systematic inspection program to be prepared and made available upon request by the Code Enforcement Officer. A minimum 30 days written notice shall be given for all initial inspections. The penalty for not allowing an inspection shall be revocation of the residential rental license.
B. 
The Rental Inspector shall inspect residential rental units after completion of the initial inspections under this chapter in accordance with a systematic program. The Rental Inspector also shall inspect residential rental units upon a change in occupancy of the residential rental unit, upon receipt of complaints, or for any other reasonable cause.
C. 
If the Code Enforcement Officer, upon completion of the inspection by the Rental Inspector, finds that the applicable Codes have not been met, the Code Enforcement Officer shall issue notices and, if appropriate, commence enforcement actions under the procedure set forth in the Code which has been violated. The following notices shall be issued to the owner of the residential rental unit or the designee. Notice provided to a manger shall be deemed notice provided to the owner.
(1) 
If the Code Enforcement Officer finds violations warranting condemnation of the residential rental unit under the Property Maintenance Code, in addition to the remedies under the Property Maintenance Code,[1] the Code Enforcement Officer shall:
(a) 
Issue a 10 Day Notice of Violation; and
(b) 
If after 10 days from the date of the 10 Day Notice of Violation, a reinspection reveals that the violations are not corrected and arrangements satisfactory to the Code Enforcement Officer have not been made, the residential rental license for the residential rental unit shall be revoked, and if the residential rental unit is vacant, it shall remain vacant.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 140, Property Maintenance.
(2) 
If the Code Enforcement Officer finds violations not warranting condemnation of the residential rental unit under the Property Maintenance Code, the Code Enforcement Officer shall issue a 30 Day Notice of Violation.
(a) 
If after 30 days from the date of the 30 Day Notice of Violation, the first reinspection reveals that all violations have not been corrected, a 30 Day Legal Action Warning shall be issued.
(b) 
If after 30 days from the date of the 30 Day Legal Action Warning, the second reinspection reveals that all violations have not been corrected, the Code Enforcement Officer shall revoke the residential rental license for the residential rental unit, and if the residential rental unit is vacant, it shall remain vacant.
(c) 
The Code Enforcement Officer shall maintain a list of all residential rental units and their ownership that have been the subject of prosecution during the preceding five years.

§ 144-8 Sale or transfer of residential rental units.

A residential rental license shall not be transferred. In the case of licensed residential rental units that are sold or transferred, the new owner shall seek a residential rental license for each residential rental unit and have each residential rental unit inspected. Failure to seek a residential rental license for each residential rental unit within 60 days of the date of sale or transfer of ownership shall result in the revocation of the residential rental license.

§ 144-9 Appeals.

An appeal from any decision of the Code Enforcement Officer shall be taken to Borough Council. Such appeal shall be made in writing within 10 working days after such decision has been made. The appeal shall be verified by an affidavit, shall state the grounds therefore and shall be filed with the Borough Secretary. The appeal shall be accompanied by the appeal fee which shall be established by ordinance or resolution of Borough Council. The appellant or his representative shall have the right to appear and be heard, if such right is requested in the written appeal. Borough Council shall make a prompt decision on such appeal. Borough Council shall render a written decision, copies of which shall be provided to the Code Official and the appellant.

§ 144-10 Violations and penalties.

A. 
Violations. It shall be a violation of this chapter to commit or to permit any other person to commit any of the following acts:
(1) 
To lease, let, or allow the occupancy of a residential rental unit without obtaining a residential rental license where required by this chapter.
(2) 
To refuse to permit inspections required under this chapter for a residential rental unit.
(3) 
To fail to perform the duties established by § 144-3 of this chapter if such person is an owner or a designee of a residential rental unit.
(4) 
To fail to perform the duties established by § 144-5 of this chapter if such person is an occupant of a residential rental unit.
(5) 
To place false information on or to omit relevant information from an application for a residential rental license.
(6) 
To fail to comply with any other provision of this chapter.
B. 
Penalties and remedies:
(1) 
Allowing occupancy of a residential rental unit after the residential rental license has been revoked: A fine of not less than $500 per residential rental unit for each month the violation exists. Each month the violation exists constitutes a separate violation.
(2) 
Failure to seek a residential rental license:
(a) 
The owner or designee shall be sent a 30 Day Notice of Violation, warning them of their failure to comply with the terms of this chapter. If they do not comply at the end of 30 days, there shall be a fine of not less than $500 per residential rental unit for each month the violation exists. Each month the violation exists constitutes a separate violation.
(3) 
Whoever violates any other provision of this chapter shall upon a first offense be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned not more than 30 days, or both.
(4) 
In addition to prosecution of persons violating this chapter, the Code Enforcement Officer or any duly authorized agent of the Borough may take such civil or equitable remedies in any court of record of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, against any person or property, real or person, to effect the provisions of this chapter.
(5) 
The provisions of this section and the provisions of this chapter governing revocation, suspension or nonrenewal of residential rental licenses shall be independent, non-mutually exclusive, separate remedies, all of which shall be available to the Borough as may be deemed appropriate. The remedies and procedures in this chapter are not intended to supplant or replace, to any degree, the remedies provided to the Borough in Property Maintenance Code,[1] Chapter 200, Zoning, or any other Code.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 140, Property Maintenance.
(6) 
Upon summary conviction or in a civil action, the defendant may be assessed reasonable attorneys’ fees incurred by the Borough in the enforcement proceedings in accordance with Section 3321(6) of the Borough Code.[2]
[Added 7-29-2013 by Ord. No. 612]
[2]
Editor’s Note: See 53 P.S. § 48321(6).