City of Harrisburg, PA
Dauphin County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Harrisburg by Ord. No. 51-1979; amended in its entirety 10-11-2011 by Ord. No. 10-2011. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]

§ 8-509.1 Title.

This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Buyer Notification Law."

§ 8-509.2 Legislative findings and intent.

A. 
In accordance with the Act of November 28, 1973, P.L. 348, as amended, 21 P.S. §§ 611 to 615, the Council of the City finds that many owners of properties in the City are using such properties in violation of City codes and are offering such properties for sale without revealing such illegal use or the existence of City codes violations. Many innocent purchasers of such properties are not aware of the illegal use, the existence of, or the nature of violations until they have entered into agreement of sale or have consummated the purchase.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1-303).
B. 
In order to prevent undue hardships and losses imposed on such purchasers by owners who have failed to reveal the illegal use or condition of the property being conveyed, or who have made misrepresentations in that regard, the City Council finds that it is in the best interests of the citizens of Harrisburg to declare that all sellers of condemned property, as defined herein, shall be required to advise the purchaser of the legal use and condition of such property and to deliver to the purchaser, prior to the execution of the agreement of sale for such property, a buyer notification report as set forth in § 8-509.5, obtained from the Codes Administrator or designee.

§ 8-509.3 Definitions.

When used in this chapter, the following words and phrases shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
AGENT
Any person, partnership, association, corporation, or fiduciary who, for monetary consideration, aids in the sale or exchange of property as defined herein. Whenever used in any clause prescribing or imposing a penalty, the term "agent," as applied to partnerships and associations, shall mean the partners or members thereof and, as applied to corporations, the officers thereof. Liability shall be limited to failure to notify the owner of the obligations imposed by this chapter.
AGREEMENT OF SALE
Any agreement or written instrument which provides that title to any property shall thereafter be transferred from one owner to another owner and shall include, but not be limited to, written leases which contain options to purchase the leased property and agreements which provide that the occupant of the property shall acquire title thereto after the payment of a stipulated number of regular payments or after a stipulated period of time.
CITY CODES
Those ordinances codified in Title 8, Part 1, of the City of Harrisburg Codified Ordinances relating to property maintenance (Chapter 8-107), building (Chapter 8-101), electrical (Chapter 8-103), plumbing (Chapter 8-105), mechanical (Chapter 8-109), residential for one- and two-family dwellings (Chapter 8-111), fuel gas (Chapter 8-113), existing building (Chapter 8-115), the regulations incorporated into the City's Codified Ordinances by adoption of the Uniform Construction Code (Chapter 8-117), and the fire prevention ordinances (Title 3, Chapters 3-901, 3-903 and 3-905), any amendments thereto made from time to time, and any rules and regulations promulgated thereunder meant for the protection and facilitation of the public health, safety, and general welfare.
CONDEMNATION ORDER
An order issued by the Department pursuant to § 8-107.2 of the Codified Ordinances of the City of Harrisburg, indicating that a property is found to be unsafe, unfit for human occupancy or unlawful.
CONDEMNED PROPERTY
Any parcel of real property for which the Department has issued a current condemnation order, as defined herein, and which totally or partially contains any of the following types of residences as defined in the Codified Ordinances of the City of Harrisburg:
A. 
Dwelling, garden apartment;
B. 
Dwelling, mobile home;
C. 
Dwelling, multifamily;
D. 
Dwelling, single-family attached (row townhouse);
E. 
Dwelling, single-family detached;
F. 
Dwelling, single-family semidetached;
G. 
Dwelling, two-family detached;
H. 
Dwelling, two-family semidetached;
I. 
Hotel;
J. 
Boardinghouse; or
K. 
Any other dwelling.
CURRENT CONDEMNATION ORDER
A condemnation order that has been issued in the name of the current owner of the property and has not been rescinded by the Department due to the correction by the owner of the violations noted and has not been overturned by the appropriate administrative appeal body or Court of Common Pleas.
DEPARTMENT
The Department of Building and Housing Development of the City of Harrisburg.
DISTRICT
Any jurisdictional area of a zone, as set forth in the Zoning Code.
MUNICIPAL CLAIM
All monetary obligations recorded or unrecorded due the City as taxes or for services rendered or delivered to the property.
ZONING CODE
Those ordinances codified in Title 7 of the City of Harrisburg Codified Ordinances relating to community development and property use and meant for the protection and facilitation of the public health, safety, morals, and general welfare.

§ 8-509.4 Buyer notification report required.

Prior to entering into an agreement of sale or exchange of any condemned property, as defined herein, or prior to the transfer of such condemned property when no agreement of sale is utilized, the owner shall obtain from the Codes Administrator or designee the buyer notification report set forth in § 8-509.5, unless such condemned property is being sold at a foreclosure sale or pursuant to the Real Estate Tax Act of 1947, P.L. 1368, as amended,[1] or other judicial sale pursuant to federal or state statutes.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 72 P.S. § 5860.101 et seq.

§ 8-509.5 Application for buyer notification report; fees; contents; zoning certification.

A. 
Upon application of the owner and the payment to the City of a fee of $125 for properties containing between one and three dwelling units, the Codes Administrator or designee shall then review the pertinent City records and inspect the premises in question; provided, however, that the Codes Administrator or designee shall not conduct an inspection unless requested in writing by the owner at the time of application or unless the Codes Administrator or designee determines that an inspection is necessary. For properties containing more than three dwellings, the fee shall be $125, plus $25 for each dwelling unit exceeding three.
B. 
Upon completion of the review and inspection, if applicable, the Codes Administrator shall execute and deliver a buyer notification report to the owner, which shall contain the following information:
(1) 
The street address and other appropriate description of the subject property;
(2) 
A statement of the zoning district classification applicable to the property in question, together with an extract of the applicable ordinance(s) showing the uses permitted within that zoning district;
(3) 
A statement of the variances and use permits, if any, granted to that property, together with the conditions and restrictions of such permits;
(4) 
A statement as to whether there appears to be any nonconformity or illegality in the structures on the property or the uses being made thereof. This statement shall also indicate whether or not the property has been approved or designated as a nonconforming use;
(5) 
A detailed list of all violations of City codes;
(6) 
A detached list of all municipal claims currently due and payable; and
(7) 
A copy of the floodplain notification in accordance with Chapter 8-307.
C. 
The buyer notification report shall be valid for a period not to exceed two years from date of issue or for one transfer of title to the property, whichever occurs first.
D. 
Prior to entering into any agreement of sale or any exchange of property, the owner of any residential building or structure that does not meet the definition of a "condemned property," as defined by this chapter, and therefore is not required to obtain a buyer notification report must alternatively obtain a zoning certification, to be produced by the City upon application of the owner and the payment to the City of a fee of $30, containing the following information:
(1) 
The street address and other appropriate description of the subject property;
(2) 
A statement of the zoning district classification applicable to the property in question, together with an extract of the applicable ordinance(s) showing the uses permitted within that zoning district;
(3) 
A statement of the variances and use permits, if any, granted to that property, together with the conditions and restrictions of such permits; and
(4) 
A copy of the floodplain notification in accordance with Chapter 8-307.

§ 8-509.6 Insertion of provisions in agreement of sale.

A. 
Every owner shall insert in every agreement for the sale or transfer of property a provision showing the zoning district classification of such property, stating whether the present use of the property is in compliance with or in violation of the City Zoning Code, and a provision disclosing whether there exists any uncorrected notice of a violation of City codes.
B. 
If any owner fails to include any provision required by this chapter in an agreement for the sale or transfer of property, then in any action, at law or in equity, instituted by a purchaser against an owner, it shall be conclusively presumed that the owner, at the time of the signing of such agreement, represented and warranted to the purchaser that such property was being used in compliance with the then-existing Zoning Code, and that there were no uncorrected violations of City codes.
C. 
Every agent shall, by written document from the owner, be advised of the obligation to comply with the provisions of this chapter.

§ 8-509.7 Waivers prohibited.

Notwithstanding any other law or ordinance, the provisions of this chapter may not be waived or disclaimed by any oral or written agreement executed by any owner or purchaser.

§ 8-509.8 Delivery of buyer notification report; evidence of compliance.

A. 
In the City of Harrisburg, no agent or, if none, no owner shall sell any condemned property, as defined herein, or any interest therein, unless the agent or owner first delivers to the purchaser or transferee, prior to the execution of any agreement of sale, or prior to the transfer of title in the event that no agreement of sale is utilized, the buyer notification report described in § 8-509.5B, unless the property transfer is exempt from this requirement pursuant to § 8-509.4. An agent's or owner's failure to deliver said buyer notification report in the appropriate time frame shall be deemed a breach of that agent's or owner's duty of disclosure to the purchaser or transferee and a violation of this chapter.
B. 
In the City of Harrisburg, no agent or, if none, no owner shall sell any property that does meet the definition of "condemned property," as defined herein, or any interest therein, unless the agent or owner first delivers to the purchaser or transferee, prior to the execution of any agreement of sale, or prior to the transfer of title in the event that no agreement of sale is utilized, the zoning certification described in § 8-509.5D. An agent's or owner's failure to deliver said zoning certification in the appropriate time frame shall be deemed a breech of that owner's or agent's duty of disclosure to the purchaser or transferee and a violation of this chapter.
C. 
The purchaser or transferee shall execute a receipt for the buyer notification report, as furnished by the City, and such receipt shall be delivered by the agent or owner to the Codes Administrator as evidence of compliance with the provisions of this chapter and this chapter only. The buyer notification report described in this chapter in no way implies compliance with any other chapter of these Codified Ordinances.
D. 
No agent shall aid any owner in the sale or transfer of any condemned property, as defined herein, unless the agent first complies with the notification requirements of this chapter.

§ 8-509.9 Liability of City.

The buyer notification report of the Codes Administrator or designee shall be compiled from the records of the City and from an inspection of the property, if applicable. The issuance of the buyer notification report is not in any way a representation or guarantee that the property is without violations or in compliance with the law. Neither the enactment of this chapter nor the preparation and delivery of any buyer notification report required hereunder shall impose any liability upon the City for any errors or omissions contained in such buyer notification report, nor shall the City bear any liability not otherwise imposed by law.

§ 8-509.10 Filing of appeal.

Appeals from the findings set forth in the buyer notification report must be filed, in writing, within three days after issuance of said buyer notification report with the Director of the Department, who will refer the appeal to the applicable Board or Boards as follows:
A. 
The Building and Housing Code Board of Appeals, if the conditions reported constitute violations of City codes, as defined herein, or deal with the construction of a dwelling or structure or the suitability of any dwelling or structure for continued occupancy; or
B. 
The Zoning Hearing Board, if the findings set forth in the certificate relate to matters concerning the classification and the use of property under the Zoning Code.

§ 8-509.99 Penalty; invalidation of sale or exchange.

A. 
Any person who violates the provisions of this chapter shall be subject to the general code penalty, § 1-301.99 of these Codified Ordinances.
B. 
No sale, exchange or transfer of property shall be invalidated solely because of failure of any person to comply with any provisions of this chapter, unless such failure is an act or omission which would be a valid ground for rescission of such sale or exchange in the absence of this chapter.
C. 
Upon conviction for a violation of any provision of this chapter pursuant to Subsection A, in addition to any fines, fees or penalties levied in accordance with Subsection A, an additional neighborhood mitigation penalty shall be levied in the amount of $25. All such penalties levied and collected by any division of the Unified Judicial System existing under Section 1 of Article V of the Constitution of Pennsylvania and 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 301 shall be remitted to the City for deposit into the Neighborhood Mitigation Fund for the purpose of funding mitigation exercises performed by the City on private properties, including but not limited to demolitions, cleanups, clean and seals and light repairs. If the fine is paid on installments, the proportionate amount of the neighborhood mitigation penalty shall be remitted on each installment.