[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of North Tonawanda as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Article I Registration of Rental Housing Units
[Adopted 8-5-2008 by L.L. No. 1-2008]
The purpose of this article is to establish rules, regulations and enforcement procedures for the identification of owners, as defined below, of rental housing units and to provide a means to effectuate service of legal process upon such owners or authorized agents of rental housing units located in the City of North Tonawanda. This article is intended to preserve the City's existing housing stock and to protect the health, safety and welfare of the general public.
The following definitions shall apply in the interpretation and enforcement of this article:
Whenever the words "dwelling" and "dwelling unit," "rooming house," "rooming unit," "premises" and "structure" are used in this article, they shall be construed as though they were followed by the words "or any part hereof."
Whenever the phrase "any provision of this article" is used in this article, it shall be construed as though it were followed by the words "or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereof."
Whenever the words "Code Enforcement Officer, Director of Code Enforcement and/or Code Enforcement Inspector" are used, it shall be construed to mean or be equivalent to the "Chief Building Inspector of the City of North Tonawanda."
Definitions. As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- DWELLING UNIT
- Any building, except for temporary housing, which is used or intended to be used for living or sleeping by human occupants.
- MULTIPLE DWELLING
- Any dwelling containing two or more dwelling units.
- Any person over one year of age living, sleeping, cooking or eating in or having actual possession of a dwelling unit or rooming unit, unless otherwise provided.
- Any person who has charge, care or control of a building, or a part thereof, in which units are let.
- Any person who, alone or jointly or with others shall have legal title (including through a land contract) to any rental unit or multiple dwelling, with or without accompanying possession thereof, or shall have charge, care or control of any rental unit or multiple dwelling as either owner or agent of the owner, or as executor, executrix, administrator, administratrix, trustee or guardian of the estate of the owner. Any person thus representing the actual owner according to the definition provided shall be bound to comply with the provisions of this article to the same extent were he or she the owner.
- Any party, land contractee, individual, firm, corporation, limited-liability company, association, partnership or any other similar entity.
- RENTAL UNIT
- Any residential dwelling, dwelling unit, rooming house or rooming unit not solely occupied by the owner.
- That place where a person maintains a fixed, permanent and principal home and to which he, wherever temporarily located, always intends to return. Any two of the following may be considered by the Department of Building Inspection as proof of residency; a valid New York State driver's license, New York State voter registration card, utility bills, 911 service listing, New York State income tax return, social security statement and/or automobile registration.
Owners and lessors, or their respective agents, of rental housing units or multiple dwellings who do not reside or maintain a principal place of business within Niagara County, New York, or an adjoining county of Niagara County, New York, shall, within two months after the effective date of this provision or within 30 days from the date of mailing forms by the Code Enforcement Officer, whichever occurs first, register with the Department of Building Inspection each rental housing unit or multiple dwelling they own or operate in the City of North Tonawanda. The following information shall be provided:
The names and addresses of the owner and/or lessor and of his or her respective property manager, agents or other person responsible for the maintenance of the leased premises. The address shall not be a post office address.
The name, address and phone number(s) of a property manager or other person responsible for the maintenance of the leased premises located within Niagara County, New York or a contiguous county in the State of New York, who can be reached 24 hours per day seven days a week, and upon whom violation orders may be served within the County of Niagara, State of New York, or a contiguous county in the State of New York.
Such other appropriate information as may be requested, including, but not limited to, number of units, number and type of rooms, number of stories, type of heating system and location of such, sprinkler system and fire alarm controls, etc.
It shall be the responsibility of the property owner to maintain all information provided to the Code Enforcement Office pursuant to this article, and such owners must inform the Code Enforcement Office of any change in the information provided within 10 days of the change. Failure to maintain the information provided to the Code Enforcement Office pursuant to this article shall subject the owner to the penalties provided for in § 51D-4 of this article.
A failure to register any rental unit or multiple dwelling required to be registered under this article shall be a violation, and any person or entity convicted of such violation shall be punished as follows:
Failure to register and/or pay a fine within 30 calendar days of the court order imposing the fine shall thereupon become and be a charge and lien upon the real property of the rental housing unit and shall be collected the same as other taxes upon the rental housing unit.
The Code Enforcement Office shall maintain, for public review, a database of rental units or multiple dwellings registered pursuant to this article. That database shall list the name of the owner or lessor and the owner's addresses. It shall also include the name, local address and phone number of the property manager, agent or person otherwise responsible for the maintenance of the building. It shall also state whether there is a currently valid certificate of registration on file for each building.
A certificate of registration may be issued for any rental housing unit, regardless of whether it is required to be registered by § 51D-3 of this article, pursuant to the request of owners, lessors or lessees. A certificate of registration shall be issued and shall remain in effect for two years or until change of ownership, whichever occurs first.
A fee as set forth from time to time by Common Council resolution for each new issuance and/or renewal will be charged.
Each and every clause, sentence, paragraph and section in this article is separately written; in the event that any such provision should be decided by a court of competent jurisdiction to be unconstitutional or invalid, such a decision does not effect the validity of this article as a whole, or any part thereof, other than the part declared to be unconstitutional or invalid.