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City of Sunbury, PA
Northumberland County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the City of Sunbury 8-13-2012.[1]; amended in its entirety 12-11-2017. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Housing Authority — See Ch. 15.
Licensed residential structures — See Ch. 107.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 130.
Nuisance property — See Ch. 131.
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also superseded former Ch. 134, Rental Property, adopted 11-10-1997.
A. 
Permit required. No person shall operate or rent to another for occupancy any residential dwelling unit, rooming unit, bed-and-breakfast, one-family dwelling, two-family dwelling, multifamily dwelling, boardinghouse, lodging house, tourist home, dormitory, hotel, or motel until a housing permit has been issued by the Code Administration Office. "Person" shall be defined herein to include, but not be limited to, any individual, agent, corporation, firm, partnership, association, organization, or any other group acting as a unit. It shall also include an executor, administrator, trustee, receiver or other representative appointed according to law. Whenever the word "person" is used in any section of this code prescribing a penalty or fine, as to partnerships or association, the word shall include the partners or members thereof, and as to corporations, shall include the officers, agents or members thereof who are responsible for any violation of such section.
B. 
The property owner or manager shall list all individuals living in the rental unit on the housing permit application in order to maintain a valid rental permit. The property owner or manager shall not allow anyone who is not listed on said housing permit application to live in the rental unit.
C. 
Designation of manager. Every owner who is not a full-time resident of the City of Sunbury, and/or who does not live within 25 miles of the boundaries of the City of Sunbury, shall designate a manager who shall reside in an area that is within 25 miles from the City of Sunbury. If the owner is a corporation, a manager 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 a manager. If the owner is a partnership, a manager shall be required if a partner does not reside within the above-referenced area. Said partner shall perform the same function as a manager. The manager shall be the agent of the owner for service of process and receiving of notices and demands, as well as for performing the obligations of the owner under this chapter and under rental agreements with occupants. The identity, address and telephone number(s) of a person who is designated as manager hereunder shall be provided by the owner or manager to the City, and such information shall be kept current and updated as it changes.
D. 
Display and use of permit. The housing rental permit shall be posted in a conspicuous place in the building inspected if reasonably possible. The permit is and shall remain the property of the City of Sunbury and may be rescinded for noncompliance of the owner, manager, or structure with any provisions of the code or this chapter. The issuance of a permit to an owner or manager of rental property shall constitute consent for inspection and upon request by the Code Administration Office the permit shall be produced by the owner or manager within 24 hours.
A. 
Each owner or manager in the City shall submit a list on a form provided by the City of Sunbury to the Code Administration Office at the time of requesting an occupancy permit which sets forth the following information:
(1) 
Owner name, address, telephone number.
(2) 
Local manager name, address, telephone number (an emergency contact person).
(3) 
Property address and number of units.
(4) 
Maximum occupancy per unit.
(5) 
Emergency telephone number.
(6) 
Actual number of all tenants and/or occupants.
(7) 
Names, addresses, and identification documentation of all tenants and/or occupants over 18 years of age. Identification documentation shall include a copy of driver's license or other government-issued photo identification such as nondriver's photo identification, passport, or birth certificate. Each tenant and/or occupant over 18 years of age shall attest in writing that the information provided is true and correct subject to the penalties provided for unsworn falsification to authorities.
B. 
Each time an owner or manager and tenant enters into a new lease, or additional occupants begin living in the leased property, the owner or manager shall update the housing rental permit application submitted to the Code Administration Office within 10 days of the change to the landlord-tenant relationship and/or additional occupants of the premises and shall provide the information required herein.
C. 
The owner or manager is required to maintain the rental permit for inspection by the Code Administration Officer and upon request provide the following:
(1) 
The current permit and current inspection report issued by the Code Administration Office of the City of Sunbury.
(2) 
The addendum to the license application required by this chapter showing the names of the authorized occupants of the residential rental unit.
The Code Administration Office shall share this information with the office of the City Treasurer, Sunbury Police Department and Sunbury Fire Department.
The Code Administration Office shall issue a new or renewed housing permit to the applicant subject to the following conditions:
A. 
The applicant and structure comply with all provisions of the applicable code of the City of Sunbury.
B. 
A zoning use permit has been issued for the structure and for the purpose for which it will be used.
C. 
The applicant property owner and/or manager are in compliance with the provisions of this chapter.
D. 
The appropriate rental housing permit fees have been paid by the owner and/or manager.
E. 
The applicant maintains fire insurance for the premises and is in good standing regarding all applicable property taxes, sewer fees, and Code Administration Office violations and fees. The Code Administration Office shall not issue a new or renewed permit if the applicant has delinquent property taxes, sewer fees, or has any outstanding fines and costs arising from the enforcement of the applicable code of the City of Sunbury. The owner shall certify and attest in writing that there are no such outstanding taxes, violations, and/or fees, and said information provided is true and correct subject to the penalties provided for unsworn falsification to authorities.
A. 
The owner or manager shall maintain the premises in compliance with the applicable code of the City of Sunbury and shall promptly take all action necessary to fulfill this obligation at the expense of the owner.
B. 
In no case shall the existence of any agreement between owner and occupant relieve an owner of any responsibility under this chapter, or other provisions of the Code of the City of Sunbury, for maintenance of the premises.
C. 
Inspections. The owner or manager shall permit inspections of any premises by the Code Administration Officer at reasonable times upon reasonable notice. Inspections may be made to obtain and maintain compliance with the purposes, intent and requirements of this chapter based upon any one of the following:
(1) 
A complaint received by the City, or by any law enforcement officer, or by the Code Administration Officer, indicating that there is a violation of any ordinance adopted by the City or of Pennsylvania law;
(2) 
An observation by any law enforcement officer, or by the Code Administration Officer, of a violation of the standards or the provisions of any ordinance adopted by the City or of Pennsylvania law;
(3) 
A report or observation of a rental unit that is unoccupied and unsecured or a rental unit that is damaged by fire;
(4) 
The failure to register or comply in any manner with the provisions of this chapter;
(5) 
By resolution of the Board of Health;
(6) 
The need to determine compliance with a notice or an order issued by the City or by its Board of Health;
(7) 
An emergency observed or reasonably believed to exist;
(8) 
A request for an inspection by the owner; or
(9) 
A routine inspection as described in Subsection D below.
D. 
Inspection procedures and standards.
(1) 
The Code Administration Officer shall inspect all rental units at least once every three years and report the inspection on a written inspection report to the owner or manager. Said inspections may be made by the Code Officer anytime within the inspection year.
(2) 
If the inspection discloses violations, the Code Administration Officer shall issue a letter to the owner or manager within seven days of said inspection. The letter shall set forth the following:
(a) 
Street address or appropriate description of the property.
(b) 
Date of inspection.
(c) 
Statement of code violations.
(d) 
Number of days in which the owner is to accomplish repairs and which the temporary certificate of compliance will be in effect.
(e) 
Statement that if the repairs are not completed within the stipulated time frame, the owner will be subject to fines and penalties, including revocation of the temporary certificate of compliance.
(f) 
Statement of delinquent taxes and/or utilities.
(3) 
When the Code Administration Officer has determined that a rental unit is in compliance with all applicable City ordinances, codes and regulations, and with all applicable state laws and regulations, the Code Administration Officer shall issue a certificate of compliance for the inspected rental unit.
(4) 
If, upon completion of an inspection, a rental unit is found to be in violation of one or more provisions of applicable City code or state law, the Code Administration Officer shall take one of the following actions:
(a) 
Provide the owner and/or manager with written notice of such violation(s) and require that they be corrected within a time frame stipulated by the Code Administration Officer. The time period for correcting most violations shall be 30 days or less; however, if a violation cannot reasonably be expected to be corrected within that time period, an extended period shall be permitted at the discretion of the Code Administration Officer. For serious violations that pose a serious risk to the health and safety of the tenants and/or occupants of the premises or others but do not require the property be immediately vacated under Subsection D(4)(c) below, the Code Administration Officer may require that the violations be corrected within a period as short as 24 hours.
(b) 
Set a reinspection date before which such violation(s) shall be corrected. If such violation(s) have not been corrected within the stipulated period of time, the Code Administration Officer shall not issue the certificate of compliance and may take any action necessary to enforce compliance with applicable City code and state law as provided herein.
(c) 
Provide the owner with written notice of violations and make a determination that the rental unit is unfit for human habitation, in which case it shall be vacated. In the event of a violation, a rental unit cannot be occupied unless and until the rental unit is approved as meeting the criteria of this chapter and any other applicable code of the City of Sunbury as determined by the Code Administration Officer.
(5) 
If there is a complaint filed about a rental unit or premises with the City, the owner and/or manager shall be notified in writing. In the event that the complaint is of an emergency nature, as determined by the City or Board of Health, it will require immediate compliance and remediation by the owner and/or manager. In the absence of adequate compliance and remediation, any code violation(s) may be abated by the City and charged to the owner. If the complaint is not of an emergency nature, the owner and/or manager shall be afforded a reasonable period of time to correct such violation(s). The time period for correcting most violations shall be 30 days or less; however, if a violation cannot reasonably be corrected within a thirty-day period, an extended period may be granted by the Code Administration Officer. In the absence of adequate compliance and remediation, any code violation(s) may be abated by the City and charged to the owner.
(6) 
No inspection shall be complete until, inter alia, all inspection fees are paid in full. Failure to secure the required inspection within 30 days of the first scheduled inspection shall result in revocation of any existing certificate of compliance for the rental unit. The owner or manager of any rental unit shall pay a fee for each and every reinspection to cover the costs associated with such reinspection. Said fee shall be charged and shall increase each time a reinspection is required under the terms of this chapter or requested by the Code Administration Officer to determine compliance with this chapter or any other applicable provisions of the Code of the City of Sunbury. A failure to appear for the reinspection or rescheduling a new inspection or reinspection more than twice shall result in the imposition of doubling of the applicable inspection fee. The fees set forth herein shall be listed on the City Fee Schedule.
(7) 
The owner and/or manager shall allow any and all agents, employees and contractors of the City access to the premises, and to any owner-occupied rental unit and/or rental unit situate thereon, to enable the City to make any examinations and investigations that it deems necessary and proper and shall further allow the City and all of its agents, employees, representatives and contractors to take any compliance action authorized by this article or by an order of the Board of Health. No owner and/or manager shall obstruct, impede or otherwise interfere with the entry and actions of the City or of its agents, employees, representatives or contractors. If entry is refused or not obtained, the City and its agents are authorized to pursue recourse as provided by law, including, but not limited to, seeking the issuance of a search warrant.
(8) 
A temporary certificate of compliance may not be upgraded to a certificate of compliance if all associated fees have not been paid in full. Furthermore, a certificate of compliance shall be revoked if all associated fees have not been paid in full within 90 days from original billing date.
The issuance of a certificate of compliance or a temporary certificate of compliance shall not impose any liability upon the City for any errors or omissions which resulted in the issuances of such certificate, nor shall the City be responsible for any liability not otherwise imposed by law.
In case the owner of premises shall neglect, fail or refuse to comply with any notice from the City or its Code Administration Officer to correct a violation relating to quality of life at the premises under any code in effect in the City of Sunbury within the period of time stated in such notice, the City may cause the violation to be corrected. There shall be imposed upon the owner a charge of the actual costs involved, plus 10% of said costs for each time the City shall cause a violation to be corrected, and the owner of the premises shall be billed after same has been completed. Any such bill which remains unpaid and outstanding after the time specified therein for payment shall be grounds for the imposition of a municipal lien upon the premises as provided by law. Such a lien may be reduced to judgment and enforced and collected as provided by law, together with interest at the legal rate and court costs. The remedies provided by this subsection are not exclusive, and the City and its Code Administration Officer may invoke such other remedies available under this chapter or the applicable codes, ordinances or statutes, including, where appropriate, condemnation proceedings or declaration of premises as unfit for habitation; or suspension, revocation or nonrenewal of the license issued hereunder.
A. 
The number of persons occupying a dwelling unit shall not create conditions that, at the discretion of the Code Administration Officer, endanger the life, health, safety or welfare of the occupants.
B. 
The owner or manager shall require that each occupant shall deposit all rubbish, garbage and other waste from the rental unit into container(s) provided by the owner or manager in a clean and safe manner and shall separate and place for collection all recyclable materials, in compliance with the recycling plan submitted by the owner to the City of Sunbury or, if there is no recycling plan for the premises, then in compliance with City of Sunbury's Recycling Ordinance and all other applicable ordinances, laws and regulations. The owner shall be responsible for the removal of such rubbish, garbage, or recycling materials at the expense of the owner.
An individual convicted of any felony drug offense, upon conviction and expiration of any applicable appeal period, shall not be eligible to be listed on an occupancy permit. "Felony drug offense" shall mean an offense that is punishable by imprisonment for more than one year under any law of the United States or of a state or foreign country that prohibits or restricts conduct relating to narcotic drugs and other controlled substances, and specifically includes any prohibited act under Pennsylvania's Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act, 35 P.S. § 780-101 et seq., where the offense is graded as a felony under § 780-113 of that Act. A convicted illegal substance distributor shall not be eligible to be listed on an annual permit and shall be considered in violation of this City ordinance. Seven years after an individual's conviction and the expiration of any applicable appeal period, that individual shall be eligible to be placed back on a rental permit, provided that the individual has no additional conviction(s) of any felony drug offense during that seven-year period. Failure of the property owner to remove said convicted individual from the occupancy permit shall result in nonrenewal of the rental permit.
A. 
General. The Code Administration Officer may initiate disciplinary action against an owner that may result in a formal warning, nonrenewal, suspension or revocation of the owner's license, for violating any provision of this chapter that imposes a duty upon the owner and/or for failing to regulate the breach by occupants as provided for herein.
B. 
Definition of options.
(1) 
Formal warning: formal written notification of at least one violation of this chapter. Upon satisfactory compliance with this chapter and any conditions imposed by the Code Administration Officer and/or the Council of the City of Sunbury, the formal warning shall be removed when the owner applies for license renewal at a time set by the Code Administration Officer or by the Council of the City of Sunbury.
(2) 
Nonrenewal: the denial of the privilege to apply for license renewal after expiration of the license term. The City will permit the owner to maintain occupants in the premises until the end of the license term but will not accept applications for renewal of the license until a time set by the Code Administration Officer or by the Council of the City of Sunbury.
(3) 
Suspension: the immediate loss of the privilege to rent residential rental units for a period of time set by the Code Administration Officer or City Council. The owner, after the expiration of the suspension period, may apply for license renewal without the need to show cause why the owner's privilege to apply for a license should be reinstated. Upon suspension, the owner shall take immediate steps to evict the occupants.
(4) 
Revocation: the immediate loss of the privilege to rent residential rental units for a period of time set by the Code Administration Officer or the City Council and the loss of the privilege to apply for renewal of the license at the expiration of the time period. Upon the loss of the privilege to rent, the owner shall take immediate steps to evict the occupants.
A. 
The Sunbury Code Administration Office shall revoke any and all housing permits if they are found to be in violation of any part of this chapter.
B. 
Property owners shall be notified and given 30 days to comply.
C. 
Any property owner who violates the regulations herein shall, for each offense, upon conviction, pay a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $1,000, together with the costs of prosecution.
D. 
A property owner may appeal to Sunbury City Council the revocation or nonrenewal of a rental permit within 30 days of the revocation or nonrenewal of the permit.