City of Pottsville, PA
Schuylkill County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Pottsville as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Sale of property — See Ch. 172.
176a Minimum Requirements Checklist
[Adopted 9-10-1985 by Ord. No. 350]

§ 176-1 Definitions.

The following words when used in this article shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section except where the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning:
LANDLORD
Any person who grants a lease or otherwise permits the use of his real estate or portion thereof for a consideration, monetary or otherwise.
PERSON
Any natural person, partnership, association, firm or corporation.
TENANT
That person or persons who has the use of real estate of a landlord and is responsible for the giving of any type of consideration therefor, but excluding those who are tenants for a period of less than 30 days.

§ 176-2 Landlord's report required.

All landlords, within 30 days after the effective date of this article, or, in case of real estate thereafter acquired or thereafter rented or becoming available for rental, within 30 days after the acquisition, rental or availability for rental thereof, as the case may be, shall report to the City Treasurer, in writing, during regular business hours the number of parcels or units of real estate presently or hereafter rented or available for rental, a description (by address, unit or apartment number and/or some other meaningful method) of said parcels or units and the names of its tenants at the time of such report, together with a designation as to which unit or parcel is occupied by each.

§ 176-3 Landlords to report changes.

[Amended 12-12-1994 by Ord. No. 526]
Any change in the occupancy of real estate or leased property or in the identity of the tenants from that shown in the report of the landlord as required in § 176-2 hereof shall be reported by the landlords to the City Treasurer within 10 days after such change. It is intended hereby that landlords shall report a new tenant or a tenant who rents or leases a different unit or parcel of real estate and when a unit or parcel of their real estate becomes vacant.

§ 176-4 Forms.

The City Treasurer may prepare a form report entitled "Status of Occupancy Report," which form report may require that information set forth above and such other pertinent information that the City Council by resolution may direct the City Treasurer to incorporate into said report form. The failure to have such report forms, however, shall not excuse the obligation of landlords to provide the information required herein.

§ 176-5 Violations and penalties.

[Amended 12-12-1994 by Ord. No. 526]
Any landlord violating any of the provisions of this article or who furnishes false information to the City or who uses a false name or address in any report by this article shall, upon conviction thereof before any District Justice, be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $600 and costs of prosecution and, in default of payment thereof, to suffer imprisonment in the Schuylkill County Prison for not more than 90 days.
[Adopted 3-9-1998 by Ord. No. 593]

§ 176-6 Title.

This article shall be known as the "Residential Rental Unit Registration and Inspection Law."

§ 176-7 Definitions.

As used in this article, the following words shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
AGENT
Any person, corporation, copartnership, association or fiduciary who or which, for monetary consideration, aids in the rental of property as defined herein. When used in this article in a clause proscribing any activity or imposing a penalty, the term, as applied to partnerships and associations, shall mean each partner and, as applied to corporations, the officers thereof.
CODES
The Fire Prevention, Building, Housing, Mechanical, Property Maintenance, Electrical and Plumbing Codes, as adopted by the City from time to time, and any rules and regulations promulgated thereunder.
[1]
OWNER
Any person, agent, operator, firm, corporation, partnership, association, property management group, housing authority or fiduciary having legal, equitable or other interest in any real property as recorded in the official records of the state, county or municipality as holding title to the property.
[Amended 6-15-1999 by Ord. No. 612; 1-13-2014 by Ord. No. 832]
REGISTRATION LICENSE
The annual business privilege license assigned by the Tax Administrator of the City of Pottsville issued to the owner/landlord of a real property rental unit.
[Added 3-10-2003 by Ord. No. 688]
RESIDENTIAL RENTAL UNIT
Any dwelling unit or structurally enclosed area including or intended to be used as the living quarters for one or more individuals and not occupied by the owner thereof.
RESIDENTIAL RENTAL UNIT REGISTRATION NUMBER
The distinct registration number assigned by the Code Enforcement Office to a residential rental unit.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Chapters 121, 95, 116, 147, 170, 112 and 167, respectively.

§ 176-8 Registration required; specifications; insurance.

A. 
No owner or agent shall own or operate a residential rental unit unless and until a current registration license, for each specific unit and use thereof, has been issued to the owner or agent by the Tax Administrator of the City of Pottsville pursuant to this article.
[Amended 3-10-2003 by Ord. No. 688]
B. 
The registration license required by Subsection A shall be valid for the calendar year for which it is issued or, if issued during the calendar year, for the remainder of such calendar year. The license shall be renewable for successive calendar years when the licensed premises complies with the codes and all other applicable regulations. The license shall not be transferrable and may be revoked, at any time, for noncompliance with the codes or any other applicable regulations.
C. 
Every owner or agent owning or operating any building requiring a license under Subsection A shall, on or before January 31 of each year, register such building and all such residential rental units with the City on forms provided by the Code Enforcement Office of the City.
D. 
Any owner or agent who transfers legal title to and/or operational control over any building and/or residential rental unit, requiring a license under Subsection A shall give notice of such transfer, in writing, to the Code Enforcement Office within five business days after having transferred ownership of or operational control over such building and/or residential rental unit.
E. 
Every owner, agent and/or operator of a licensed building or residential rental unit shall advise each occupant thereof, in writing, either in the lease between the parties or otherwise, of the maximum number of occupants permitted in the leased premises.
F. 
Each applicant for a registration license required by Subsection A shall, at the time of application, pay an initial registration fee as may be determined by further ordinance (whether or not the residential rental unit is occupied at the time) and annually thereafter a renewal registration fee as may be determined by further ordinance (whether or not the residential rental unit is occupied at the time). A fee is not required for an owner-occupied dwelling unit or one that is not rented or for rent at any time during that calendar year. The renewal registration fee shall be due and payable on or before the thirty-first day of January of each year. No registration fee is currently anticipated.
G. 
No owner or agent may offer for rent or assist in offering for rent, by advertising or otherwise, any residential rental unit without first ascertaining that a valid registration license exists for such residential rental unit. Any advertisement for rent of a residential rental unit, including but not limited to newspaper, radio or television advertisement, placard advertisement or real estate listing, shall include the residential rental unit registration number assigned by the City.
H. 
Failure to register the residential rental units with the Code Enforcement Office within 90 days of the effective date of this article or within 30 days following the purchase or conversion of a structure to a rental property shall constitute a violation of this article.
I. 
All owners of rental properties for occupancy in the City shall maintain hazard and general liability insurance coverage with the appropriate limits to be in place for restoration or demolition or other repair of the property in adherence to the City Code and all applicable ordinances in the event of a fire or loss covered by such insurance. The property owner shall be required to place the insurance company name, policy number and policy expiration date on the rental certificate of compliance upon issuance. The City shall be named as a certificate holder on the policy.
[Added 2-9-2009 by Ord. No. 774; amended 1-13-2014 by Ord. No. 832]
J. 
Every owner who is not a full-time resident of the City of Pottsville and/or who does not live within 20 miles of the City of Pottsville or within Schuylkill County shall designate a responsible entity who shall reside within 20 miles from the City of Pottsville. If the owner is a corporation, a responsible entity shall be required if an officer of the corporation does not reside within the above-referenced area. The officer shall perform the same function as the responsible entity. If the owner is a partnership, a responsible entity shall be required if a partner does not reside within the above-referenced area. Said partner shall perform the same function as the responsible entity. The responsible entity shall be the agent of the owner, will receive notices and demands, and will perform the obligations of the owner under this article and under rental agreements with occupants. The identity, address and telephone number(s) of a person who is designated as the responsible entity hereunder shall be provided by the owner or the responsible entity to the City, and such information shall be kept current and updated as it changes. Designation of a responsible entity shall not prohibit other authorized agents by the owner. It shall be presumed, for the purposes of this subsection, any communication with a properly identified responsible entity shall serve as a communication with the owner.
[Added 1-13-2014 by Ord. No. 832]

§ 176-9 Occupancy prohibited without certificate.

No residential rental unit shall be occupied by other than the owner thereof unless a registration license has been obtained and a certificate of compliance, as required by the provisions of this article, is displayed at the structure in which the residential rental unit is located.

§ 176-10 Inspections.

A. 
Each residential rental unit shall be inspected by the Code Enforcement Officer or designee at least one time in every thirty-six-month period, and, for such purpose and for any reinspection required hereunder, the Owner shall provide access to City representatives.
(1) 
As for any residential rental unit unoccupied or occupied by the owner on or after the effective date hereof, a certificate of compliance shall be issued and displayed prior to occupancy of such residential rental unit by anyone other than the owner and subsequent inspections shall occur as set forth in Subsection A(2).
(2) 
As for any residential rental unit occupied by other than the owner as of the effective date hereof and for all subsequent inspections, inspections required by this article shall be completed and the certificate of compliance issued and displayed not later than December 31 of the year for which inspection is required. In no event shall such an inspection be conducted prior to January 1 of the year for which inspection is required.
(3) 
Districts.
(a) 
The City shall be divided into districts as follows:
[1] 
District I.
[2] 
District II.
[3] 
District III.
[4] 
District IV.
[Added 6-15-1999 by Ord. No. 612]
[5] 
District V.
[Added 6-15-1999 by Ord. No. 612]
(b) 
The district boundaries shall be as determined from time to time by resolution of Council.
(c) 
Residential rental units subject to the inspection requirements of this article and located in District I shall be inspected during the first calendar year after the year in which this article shall become effective and every fifth year thereafter. Residential rental units subject to the inspection requirements of this article and located in District II shall be inspected during the second calendar year subsequent to the calendar year in which this article shall become effective and every fifth year thereafter. Residential rental units subject to the inspection requirements of this article and located in District III shall be inspected during the third calendar year subsequent to the calendar year in which this article shall become effective and every fifth year thereafter. Residential rental units subject to the inspection requirements of this article and located in District IV shall be inspected during the fourth calendar year subsequent to the calendar year in which this article shall become effective and every fifth year thereafter. Residential rental units subject to the inspection requirements of this article and located in District V shall be inspected during the fifth calendar year subsequent to the year in which this article shall become effective and every fifth year thereafter.
[Amended 6-15-1999 by Ord. No. 612]
(4) 
No residential rental unit which would otherwise be subject to the inspection requirements of this article shall be required to be inspected under this article within the three calendar years subsequent to the year in which any certificate of occupancy required before occupancy of new construction is issued.
(5) 
When a certificate of compliance has been issued prior to a residential rental unit being occupied other than the owner, said residential rental unit shall not be subject to reinspection under the terms of this article prior to the first applicable calendar year occurring after the calendar year subsequent to issuance of the initial certificate of compliance.
(6) 
If a change of ownership of a residential rental unit occurs, the City reserves the right to inspect that unit regardless of the District that the unit falls under.
[Added 1-13-2014 by Ord. No. 832]
B. 
This inspection shall be for the purpose of determining compliance with the provisions of the codes as in effect in the City on the date of the inspection.
C. 
Failure of the owner to permit access to conduct such inspection shall be deemed a violation of this article.
D. 
For the purpose of enforcing this article, the Code Enforcement Officer or designee may seek to obtain a search warrant issued by a competent authority for the purpose of compelling an inspection of a residential rental unit.

§ 176-11 Certificate of compliance.

If the inspection of the residential rental unit discloses no Codes violations, the Code Enforcement Officer or designee shall issue a certificate of compliance to the owner within 14 days of the inspection. Issuance of a certificate of compliance shall not denote compliance with any applicable Code. The certificate of compliance shall be in such form as approved from time to time by the Code Enforcement Office. The certificate of compliance shall be displayed in plain view within the residential rental unit or structure.

§ 176-12 Notice of noncompliance.

[Amended 1-13-2014 by Ord. No. 832]
If the inspection of a residential rental unit discloses codes violations, the Code Enforcement Officer or designee shall issue a notice of noncompliance within 14 days of said inspection. The notice of noncompliance shall set forth the following:
A. 
The street address or appropriate description of the subject property;
B. 
The date of inspection;
C. 
The identify of the inspector;
D. 
A statement of the zoning district applicable to the subject property, together with an extract of the applicable ordinance(s) showing the uses permitted within that district;
E. 
A statement of any variances and use permits granted to the subject property, together with the conditions and restrictions of such permits;
F. 
A statement as to whether there appears to be any nonconformity in the structures on the property or the uses being made thereof. This statement shall also indicate whether the property has been approved or designated as a nonconforming use;
G. 
A list of the codes violations;
H. 
The number of days in which the owner is to accomplish repairs, including a provision allowing for a reasonable time extension upon the owners showing of good faith compliance to the satisfaction of the Code Enforcement Officer; and
I. 
Notice that, if the conditions are not repaired within the time specified, the residential rental unit may be placarded as unfit for human occupancy or subject to rent withholding in accordance with § 176-20C of these Codified Ordinances.

§ 176-13 Reinspection.

A. 
Upon the expiration of the time specified to accomplish repairs or upon notice from the owner that the repairs have been accomplished, whichever occurs first, the Code Enforcement Officer or designee shall reinspect the subject residential rental unit.
B. 
In the event that such reinspection discloses that the owner accomplished the repairs, the Code Enforcement Officer or designee shall issue a certificate of compliance to the owner in accordance with § 176-11 of this article.
C. 
In the event that such reinspection discloses that the owner failed to accomplish the repairs, the Code Enforcement Officer or designee shall issue a new certificate of noncompliance, in accordance with § 176-12 of this article. Further, the owner shall pay a reinspection fee in an amount equal to the initial application fee as set forth in § 176-14 of this article.

§ 176-14 Certificate application and fee.

A. 
Upon application for a certificate of compliance and the payment to the City of a fee of $35 per residential rental unit for up to three residential rental units plus $15 per residential rental unit for each residential rental unit exceeding three, the Code Enforcement Officer or designee shall review the pertinent City records and inspect the subject premises in accordance with § 176-10 of this article. All inspection fees shall be paid prior to the inspection regardless of the number of units. Failure to pay inspection fees shall be deemed a failure and/or refusal to comply with the provisions contained herein, and will be subject to the penalty contained in § 176-20.
[Amended 12-29-2011 by Ord. No. 808]
B. 
Upon application and the payment to the City of a fee of $35 per residential rental unit for up to three residential rental units plus $15 for each residential rental unit exceeding three, the Code Enforcement Officer or designee shall review the pertinent City records and inspect the subject premises in accordance with § 176-8 of this article.
[Amended 12-29-2011 by Ord. No. 808]
C. 
Owners of multiple properties containing more than one residential rental unit are hereby entitled to aggregate all such units owned within the corporate limits of the City for the purposes of the calculation set forth in Subsection B above. For purposes of this aggregation, ownership shall be determined by the official records in the Office of the Recorder of Deeds of Schuylkill County.

§ 176-15 Nonliability of City.

The issuance of a certificate of compliance is not a representation by the City that the residential rental unit and/or the building in which it is located is in compliance with the Fire Prevention, Building, Mechanical, Property Maintenance, Electrical or Plumbing Codes. The issuance of a certificate of compliance indicates that the residential rental unit did not have any dangerous conditions as of the date of the inspection. However, neither the enactment of this article nor the issuance of a certificate of compliance shall impose any liability upon the City for any errors or omissions which resulted in the issuance of such certificate, nor shall the City bear any liability not otherwise imposed by law.

§ 176-16 Appeals.

[Amended 1-13-2014 by Ord. No. 832]
The owner of a residential rental unit aggrieved by a decision of the Code Enforcement Officer or designee may, within 30 days or the time fixed for repair, whichever is shorter, appeal the decision to a Board of Appeals in accordance with the Codified Ordinances.

§ 176-17 Codes violations.

Nothing in this article shall preclude or prohibit the Code Enforcement Officer or designee from identifying any violations of the Fire Prevention, Building, Mechanical, Property Maintenance, Electrical or Plumbing Codes which exist and noting the same on any inspection report.

§ 176-18 Notice requirements.

A. 
Newspaper advertisement. The Code Enforcement Office shall each year cause notice to be published two times in a newspaper of general circulation within the City. The initial notice shall be published during the first six months of the calendar year this article shall become effective. Thereafter a notice shall be published during October of each calendar year and a second notice published during July of each calendar year. The notice shall set forth the district for which inspection of residential rental units occupied other than by the owner is required during the year of publication, that inspection may be required before a residential rental unit is occupied by other than the owner, that all residential rental units are required to be registered and where a copy of the ordinance may be obtained.
[Amended 6-15-1999 by Ord. No. 612; 1-13-2014 by Ord. No. 832]
B. 
Deeds and agreements of sale. Every deed and agreement of sale executed and delivered on or after the effective date of this article with respect to any premises within the City which includes one or more residential units shall include therein a notice substantially in the form which follows:
Residential rental units within the City of Pottsville which are occupied other than by the owner thereof are subject to registration and inspection requirements of the Codified Ordinances of the City of Pottsville.

§ 176-19 Delegation of authority.

[Amended 1-13-2014 by Ord. No. 832]
Appropriate City officials are authorized and directed to take such actions as are necessary to effectuate this article. Appropriate City officials are authorized and directed to develop procedures which shall be enacted by resolution of City Council as necessary to effectuate this article.

§ 176-20 Violation and penalties.

A. 
Any owner or agent who has violated or permitted the violation of this article shall be subject to the following penalties:
(1) 
First violation: costs of prosecution and either a fine of $300, or 30 days imprisonment, or both.
(2) 
Second violation: costs of prosecution and either a fine of $600, or 60 days imprisonment, or both.
(3) 
Third and each subsequent violation: costs of prosecution and either a fine of $1,000, or 90 days imprisonment, or both.
B. 
Each violation of this article and each day the same is continued shall be deemed a separate offense. A separate violation shall exist for each unregistered or uncertificated residential rental unit and be deemed a separate offense.
C. 
In addition to the placarding of the premises, rent withholding and other civil remedies available to the City, the City may seek the enforcement of any order for corrections from the Court of Common Pleas of Schuylkill County.