City of Buffalo, NY
Erie County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Derived from Art. XVIII of Ch. XXV of the Charter and Ordinances, 1974, of the City of Buffalo. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Building construction and demolition; fire prevention — See Ch. 103.
Unsafe buildings — See Ch. 113.
Certificates of occupancy — See Ch. 129.
Sanitation enforcement — See Ch. 137.
Electricity — See Ch. 165.
Garbage, rubbish and refuse — See Ch. 216.
Heating — See Ch. 238.
Inspections — See Ch. 249.
Lodging houses — See Ch. 269.
Eviction for illegal drug use and possession — See Ch. 270.
Multiple housing — See Ch. 281.
Plumbing — See Ch. 326.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 341.
Sanitation — See Ch. 378.
Smoke detectors — See Ch. 395.
Every building used in whole or in part as a home or residence of one or more persons shall conform to the requirements of §§ 242-1 through 242-11, inclusive, irrespective of the class to which such building may otherwise belong and irrespective of when such building may have been constructed, altered or repaired, unless otherwise provided in this chapter.
This chapter establishes minimum standards for occupancy, facilities and maintenance and does not replace or modify standards or laws otherwise established for the construction, replacement or repair of buildings and dwellings, except such as are less restrictive than those hereinafter required.
A. 
The Erie County Commissioner of Health or his authorized representative and/or the Commissioner of Permit and Inspection Services or his authorized representative is hereby empowered and directed to make inspections to determine the condition of dwellings and premises located within the City in order that he may perform his statutory duty of safeguarding the health and safety of the occupants of dwellings and of the general public. For the purpose of making such inspections, the Commissioner or his representative is hereby authorized to enter, examine and survey, at all reasonable times, all dwellings and premises within the City.
[Amended 4-17-2001, effective 4-30-2001]
B. 
It shall be the duty of the owner or occupant of a dwelling or the person in charge thereof to give an authorized representative of the Erie County Department of Health and/or the Commissioner of Permit and Inspection Services free access to such dwelling and its premises at all reasonable times for the purpose of such inspection, examination and survey.
[Amended 4-17-2001, effective 4-30-2001]
C. 
It shall be the duty of every occupant of a dwelling to give the owner thereof or his agent or employee access to any part of such dwelling or its premises at all reasonable times for the purpose of making such repairs or alterations as are necessary to effect compliance with the provisions of this chapter or with any lawful rule, regulation or order adopted or issued pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
[Added 7-20-2004, effective 8-2-2004]
Upholstered furniture may not be located, stored, or used on any porch unless such porch is fully enclosed year-round in such a fashion as to prevent any access to or use of the furniture by rodents or other pests as harborage or nesting, or for nest-building material.
[1]
Editor's Note: Former § 242-4, Definitions, was repealed 12-9-2003, effective 12-19-2003.
[1]
Editor's Note: Former § 242-5, General regulations, was repealed 12-9-2003, effective 12-19-2003.
[1]
Editor's Note: Former § 242-6, Area requirements; use of basement and cellar space; egress, was repealed 12-9-2003, effective 12-19-2003.
[1]
Editor's Note: Former § 242-7, Lighting and ventilation; heating, was repealed 12-9-2003, effective 12-19-2003.
[1]
Editor's Note: Former § 242-8, Cooking and plumbing facilities; garbage disposal; lodging houses, was repealed 12-9-2003, effective 12-19-2003.
The designation of a dwelling or dwelling unit as unfit for human habitation and the procedure thereon shall be in compliance with the following:
A. 
Whenever the owner, occupant or lessee or agent for the owner, occupant or lessee or any person having charge or care of such premises fails or refuses to comply with the orders of the Erie County Commissioner of Health and/or the Commissioner of Permit and Inspection Services based on the provisions of this chapter or on any rules or regulations adopted by the Department of Health pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, such dwelling or dwelling unit may be condemned by the Commissioner as being unfit for human habitation and shall be vacated or brought into compliance with the provisions of this chapter or any other applicable laws, codes or ordinances within a reasonable time as ordered by the Commissioner.
[Amended 4-17-2001, effective 4-30-2001]
B. 
Before such placarding procedure may be used, except in a case of emergency as mentioned in § 242-10B, a notification or order of the Commissioner, based on the provisions of this chapter or rules or regulations adopted thereunder, to any owner or occupant or person having charge or care of any premises shall be put in writing and contain a brief description of the conditions complained of which are alleged to be in violation of specified provisions of this chapter or rules or regulations adopted thereunder or any other applicable ordinance, code or statute; and such notification or order may further state that if such alleged violations are not corrected within 10 days of service thereof, that the premises involved may be placarded under the provisions of this chapter or such other and further action may be taken as the Commissioner deems justified. Such notification or order may be served by mail or by personal service upon either the owner, occupant or person in charge of the premises or upon all of them, depending on the circumstances as to responsibility for the alleged violations complained of. If the premises are unoccupied, such notification or order may be mailed to the owner at the name and address shown on the records of the Department of Assessment and Taxation.
[Amended 4-17-2001, effective 4-30-2001]
C. 
The following listed defective conditions in a dwelling or dwelling unit shall not be deemed to be exclusive if other or different conditions exist on such premises that may reasonably be deemed by the Commissioner to cause the premises to be unsafe or in such condition as to be dangerous to human life or property and to the health and safety of the public:
(1) 
Where interior walls or other vertical structural members list, lean or buckle more than 1/2 out of the vertical plane of the thickness of those members between any two floors or the floor is sagged or slanted more than 1/4 out of the horizontal plane of the depth of floor structural members in any ten-foot distance.
(2) 
Where the dwelling or dwelling unit has been so damaged by fire, wind, flood or other cause as to become dangerous to the health or safety of its occupants or of the public.
(3) 
Where the dwelling or dwelling unit, in whole or in part, is so dilapidated, decayed, unsafe or insanitary that it is likely to cause injury to the health or safety of its occupants or of the public.
(4) 
Where the light, air or sanitation facilities are inadequate to protect the health or safety of its occupants or of the public.
(5) 
Where the dwelling or dwelling unit has inadequate facilities for egress in case of fire or panic or has unsafe stairways, elevators, fire escapes or other means of egress.
(6) 
Where the dwelling or dwelling unit has structural or other parts which are so attached that they may fall or collapse and injure the person or property of the occupants or of the public.
(7) 
Where the dwelling or dwelling unit, because of its general condition, is unsafe, insanitary or otherwise dangerous to the health or safety of its occupants or of the public.
(8) 
Where a condition exists in violation of any applicable provision of the laws or codes of this state or in violation of any applicable ordinances or codes of the City so as to cause such dwelling or dwelling unit to be in an unsafe or insanitary condition or otherwise dangerous to the health or safety of its occupants or of the public.
D. 
No dwelling or dwelling unit which has been condemned as unfit for human habitation and so placarded by the Commissioner shall be used for human habitation until such placard is removed by the Commissioner. Any person affected by any notice or order relating to the condemning and placarding of a dwelling as unfit for human habitation may request and shall be granted a hearing on the matter before the Commissioner at a time and place set by him. In cases of emergency and immediate and apparent danger to the life, property or safety of the occupants of the dwelling or the public, the Commissioner shall have authority to cause the premises to be immediately vacated and all use thereof to cease until the cause for condemnation has been corrected, abated or removed, and no hearing shall interfere with or delay such action on the part of the Commissioner.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Ch. 113, Buildings, Unsafe.
A. 
Any person affected by any notice or order which has been issued under any provision of this chapter or of any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto may request and shall be granted a hearing on the matter before the Commissioner of Health or the Commissioner of Permit and Inspection Services, depending upon which Commissioner issued the notice or order. Upon receipt of a written petition from such person, which petition shall contain a brief statement of the grounds therefor, the Commissioner shall hold a hearing, at which time such person shall be given an opportunity to show why such notice or order should be modified or withdrawn. No such hearing shall be required unless the petition therefor shall have been filed in the office of the Commissioner within five days after the date the notice or order was issued. On receipt of such petition, the Commissioner shall set a time and place for such hearing and shall give the petitioner written notice thereof. The hearing shall be commenced not later than 10 days after the date on which the petition was filed. After such hearing, the Commissioner may sustain, modify or withdraw the notice or order complained of by the petitioner, depending upon his finding as to whether the provisions of this chapter and of rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto have been complied with. After any such hearing, in the case of any notice or order suspending any permit required by this chapter, when such notice or order has been sustained by the Commissioner, such suspended permit shall be deemed to have been revoked. The proceedings at such hearing, including the findings and decision of the Commissioner, shall be reduced to writing and entered as a matter of public record in the office of the Commissioner. Such record shall also include a copy of every notice or order issued in connection with the matter. Any person aggrieved by the decision of the Commissioner may appeal therefrom to any court of competent jurisdiction under the procedures provided by the laws of this state.
[Amended 4-17-2001, effective 4-30-2001]
B. 
No provision or requirement herein contained for a hearing shall in any way whatsoever affect or impair the right of the Commissioner to at any time bring such legal proceedings, actions or prosecutions as otherwise or elsewhere are permitted by law or ordinance.
C. 
Whenever the Commissioner finds that an emergency exists which requires immediate action to protect the public health, he may, without notice or hearing, issue an order reciting the existence of such an emergency and requiring that such action be taken as he deems necessary to meet the emergency. Notwithstanding the other provisions of this chapter, such order shall be effective immediately. Any person to whom such order is directed shall comply therewith immediately but, upon written petition to the Commissioner, shall be afforded a hearing as soon as possible. After such hearing, depending upon his finding as to whether the provisions of this chapter and of the rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto have been complied with, the Commissioner shall continue such order in effect or modify or revoke it.
[1]
Editor's Note: Former § 242-11, Responsibilities of owners and occupants, as amended, was repealed 12-9-2003, effective 12-19-2003.
[Added 4-18-1995, effective 5-1-1995; amended 3-23-1999, effective 4-6-1999; 12-9-2003, effective 12-19-2003]
A. 
Every property owner shall pay a fee of $75, to be assessed against the property, for each inspection after the second inspection in which violations of a state or local building code are found, unless such fee is waived by the Bureau of Administrative Adjudication. Inspectors shall assess the fee, after consultation with the Chief Building Inspector or the Commissioner of Permit and Inspection Services, when, in the evaluation of the inspector, the status of the violation has not progressed or been satisfactorily completed. The fee shall not be applicable to inspections ordered after the commencement of a court action.
B. 
Each request for a waiver must be in writing to the Bureau of Administrative Adjudication, setting forth in detail the circumstances justifying the waiver, and shall be limited to one inspection. The waiver request must include the name of the property owner, the address of the property assessed the fee and the address of the owner of the property, if different from the subject property. Nothing in this section shall limit the number of waivers a property owner may request; however, each request must be submitted separately to the Bureau of Administrative Adjudication. The Bureau of Administrative Adjudication may grant a waiver when extraordinary circumstances have been shown to exist. Those circumstances include but are not limited to the weather, financial hardship, family situations and illness. Each waiver granted by the Bureau of Administrative Adjudication shall be in writing and shall set forth the rationale behind granting the waiver.