[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Hornell as Art. III of Ch. 8 of the 1970 Municipal Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Amended 7-28-1975; 6-27-1977; 5-26-1987; 8-27-2001; 7-25-2005]
Title. This section shall be known as the "Residential Occupancy Permit Provisions" and is supplementary to applicable provisions of the City Code for the City of Hornell.
Purpose and scope. The purpose and scope is to provide uniform administration and compliance with residential occupancy permits and to establish the responsibilities of parties concerned therewith.
Inspection and certification of premises.
All residential rental dwelling units and commercial rental units shall be inspected and certified by the Code Enforcement Office of the City of Hornell (hereinafter "the Department"), which shall determine compliance with, administer and enforce all applicable provisions of this code. On and after September 1, 2005, residential occupancy permits shall be valid for 30 months from the date of issuance. The vacancy of any unit shall invalidate said permit even if said vacancy shall occur within said 30 months.
Nothing contained herein shall be construed or operate to invalidate an otherwise legally effective permit or certificate issued prior to September 1, 2005, except that such permit or certificate shall be valid only until March 31, 2008, or a change in the tenancy of the residential rental dwelling unit to which the permit or certificate relates, whichever first occurs.
Except as otherwise provided herein, it shall be unlawful and a violation of this chapter to rent, lease, sell on a land contract or otherwise allow the occupancy of any residential or commercial rental unit without the inspection and certification as required herein.
If, upon inspection, said premises do not comply with all applicable provisions of this code or the Uniform Code, the specific reasons for noncompliance shall be specified in writing in a notice and order, as provided. The notice and order shall be provided to the owner or the owner's agent. Occupants or proposed occupants of dwellings shall have the right to inspect the certificate of occupancy of the residential rental dwelling unit, apartment or multiple residence in which they have an interest at no cost.
On or after September 1, 2005, the Department shall have the right to inspect all or any part of the rental dwelling, including any unit or apartment, or entire multiple residence as required herein and/or upon complaint, except that the owner, agent or person in charge thereof shall have the right to insist upon the procurement of a search warrant from a court of competent jurisdiction by the Chief of the Department, or his or her designee, in order to enable such inspection. The officials charged with conducting the inspection shall be required to obtain a search warrant whenever an owner, agent or person in charge refuses to permit a warrantless inspection of the premises after having been advised that he or she has a constitutional right to refuse entry of the officials without a search warrant.
The officials charged with conducting the inspection shall make such inspection, access and circumstances permitting, within three business days of receipt of a request from the owner, agent or occupant.
An owner, agent or occupant may file with the Department a request for such inspection and the issuance of a residential occupancy permit by regular mail or in person at the office of the Chief of the Department.
Nothing herein shall be construed to limit the right of the Department to inspect any property at any time. If, after issuing a residential occupancy permit, the Department received a complaint alleging a violation of this chapter, other than a violation that creates an imminent hazard to the public health or to the physical or mental health of the occupants of the rental property, the Department shall make a good-faith effort to notify the owner or agent of the complaint by either telephone or regular mail, before conducting an inspection under this chapter, and shall provide to the owner or agent one working day to explain what steps the owner or agent is taking to correct the violation. The Department may take steps necessary, by inspection or other means, to assure that the violation is corrected.
No occupancy permit shall be issued unless and until the fee(s) required are paid in full to the Department.
No occupancy permit shall be issued unless the rental dwelling unit is an authorized use pursuant to zoning, and until all other applicable provisions and requirement of the Code of the City of Hornell are complied with and met.
No owner, agent or person in charge shall collect rents during any period of noncompliance with the provisions of this part which would otherwise be due and owing for the rental of premises unless and until he or she shall have complied with the provisions herein. Nothing herein shall be construed to prevent a landlord, upon receipt of an occupancy permit, from receiving the equitable value of the occupancy of the premises from the earliest date of occupancy, but in no event shall a landlord recover in excess of the agreed rent.
These provisions shall not apply to dwellings designed and used exclusively for occupancy as hotels, motels, transient homes or establishments of like nature.
Temporary occupancy permit. The Department may cause to be issued at its discretion a temporary occupancy permit following an initial inspection, which temporary occupancy permit shall be subject to review and revocable at the discretion of the Department. No temporary occupancy permit may be issued in cases where fire safety is involved, such as defective electrical wiring, the absence of either an operating smoke detector or, after September 1, 2005, a carbon monoxide detector where required, or improper or inadequate means of egress and other conditions of like nature.
As a precondition to the issuance of an occupancy permit, the landlord/owner of said rental property must supply the City of Hornell with a property insurance binder indicating that there is fire and liability insurance coverage for the property, which is subject to the occupancy permit. Said insurance binder shall list the City of Hornell for cancellation purposes. If, during the term of a rental agreement, said insurance is cancelled and not renewed, then the occupancy permit for said property shall be deemed null and void for the purposes of this section of the law. This subsection shall take effect on September 1, 2005.
Prior to the issuance of an occupancy permit within the City of Hornell, any and all landlords/property owners must designate an agent of at least 21 years of age, who resides in the City of Hornell, to accept legal service on behalf of the property owner/landlord. Prior to the issuance of an occupancy permit, the property owner/landlord must provide such information to the Codes Office for the City of Hornell. Said information must include the name, address and telephone number of such designated agent. All service of process in the event that said property owner/landlord needs to be served or given notice by the City of Hornell shall be deemed sufficient service for the purpose of the City Code if the City serves the landlord/property owner or his or her designated agent. This subsection shall take effect September 1, 2005.
Penalties for offenses. Any person who shall violate or assist in the violation of these provisions or who fails to comply with a notice and order issued by the Department under these provisions shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine of not less than $250 nor more than $500 each day a violation exists.
This section shall be effective on September 1, 2005.
All unsafe buildings or structures, or portions thereof, are hereby declared to be illegal and shall be abated by repair and rehabilitation or by demolition in accordance with the procedures of this chapter.
Editor's Note: A resolution adopted 5-26-1992 provided that former Sec. 8-34 and former Sec. 8-35, inclusive, be included in the Code. Accordingly, former Sec. 8-36, Examination and record of unsafe buildings; Sec. 8-37, Notice to abatement unsafe condition; Sec. 8-38, Vacation of buildings where there is immediate danger of failure or collapse; posting of notice; Sec. 8-39, Removal of notice; Sec. 8-40, Effect of failure to locate owner; failure to comply with notice; Sec. 8-41, Abatement of unsafe condition by city in cases of emergency; building official's right of entry; and Sec. 8-42, Payment and collection of costs, which immediately followed were deleted at time of adoption of Code 12-28-1992 by L.L. No. 4-1992. For current provisions regarding abandoned and unsafe buildings, see Ch. 122.