City of Buffalo, NY
Erie County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Derived from the Charter and Ordinances, 1974, of the City of Buffalo as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Building construction and demolition; fire prevention — See Ch. 103.
Certificates of occupancy — See Ch. 129.
Discrimination — See Ch. 154.
Housing standards — See Ch. 242.
Lodging houses — See Ch. 269.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 341.
Zoning — See Ch. 511.
[Derived from Art. VII-A of Ch. III of the Charter and Ordinances, 1974]
Loans of public funds may be made to owners of existing multiple dwellings within the City of Buffalo in accordance with the provisions of Article VIII of the Private Housing Finance Law of the State of New York, the provisions of this article and the provisions of rules and regulations established pursuant to this article.
The Division of Rehabilitation and Conservation of the Department of Inspections and Licenses of the City of Buffalo is hereby designated to be the agency of the City of Buffalo defined in § 401 of Article VIII of the Private Housing Finance Law and, as such agency, shall have the power and authority to carry out the functions vested in it under the provisions of said Article VIII of the Private Housing Finance Law or delegated to it by the Common Council in order to carry out the purposes and provisions of said Article VIII of the Private Housing Finance Law.
A. 
A separate fund is hereby created pursuant to the provisions of § 402 of Article VIII of the Private Housing Finance Law, to be known as the "Housing Rehabilitation Fund," which shall be used to pay the expenses of the City in administering and carrying out the provisions of said Article VIII of the Private Housing Finance Law, including the financing of loans.
B. 
The following funds and moneys shall be credited to and kept in said fund:
(1) 
All funds and moneys appropriated or otherwise made available by the City for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of said Article VIII of the Private Housing Finance Law.
(2) 
All funds and moneys received or collected in connection with loans to owners of multiple dwellings, including but not limited to funds and moneys received or collected as payments of principal, interest, fees, charges, costs and penalties.
(3) 
All other funds and moneys received or collected by the City in carrying out the provisions and purposes of Article VIII of the Private Housing Finance Law.
No loan or advance, either permanent or temporary, or contract to loan shall be made unless adequate unencumbered funds are available in the Housing Rehabilitation Fund for the intended purpose and the Comptroller has so certified.
[Amended 12-9-2003, effective 12-19-2003]
Rules and regulations implementing the provisions of this article and Article VIII of the private Housing Finance Law which are not inconsistent therewith may, subject to the approval of the Commissioner of Permit and Inspection Services and the Comptroller, be prescribed from time to time by the Director of Rehabilitation and Conservation, as head of the Division of Rehabilitation and Conservation, which said rules and regulations so prescribed shall take effect upon their approval by the Common Council.
[Derived from Art. V of Ch. XII of the Charter and Ordinances, 1974]
[1]
Editor's Note: Former § 281-6, Maintenance of premises, was repealed 12-9-2003, effective 12-19-2003.
A. 
Whenever there are at least 10 but less than 15 families occupying any multiple housing and the owner does not reside within the City, he shall designate some other person responsible on his or her behalf who shall reside within the City. All tenants shall be informed of this responsible person, his name, address and telephone number.
B. 
Whenever there are 15 families occupying any multiple housing and the owner does not reside therein or within a distance of 1,000 feet from said dwelling, there shall be some other person responsible on behalf of the owner who shall either reside in said dwelling or within a dwelling located within a distance of 1,000 feet from said dwelling and have charge of said dwelling, and all tenants shall be informed of this responsible person, his name, address and telephone number. Where multiple housing is connected or adjoining, one resident janitor, housekeeper or superintendent shall be sufficient, provided that he shall furnish personnel to lawfully care and maintain such a project.
On all existing multiple housing, there shall be filed a set or sets of plans, sketches or diagrams acceptable to the Department. Each set or sets shall contain a complete floor plan of each story, showing complete dimensions of all rooms, windows, doors, height of ceilings, hallways, etc., including all means of egress. Such plans, sketches or diagrams shall be accompanied by an affidavit stating the building complies with said plans as of the date clearly affixed thereon. Affidavit shall be executed by the individual or individuals who prepared such plans, sketches or diagrams. The Department shall have the right to refuse to accept any plans, sketches or diagrams that do not clearly describe in an understandable manner the above or furnish the necessary dimensions clearly defined or is not prepared in an acceptable workmanlike manner. Any plans furnished by a registered architect or licensed professional engineer which are clearly stamped with his seal and bearing his signature need not comply with the affidavit part of this section.
[1]
Editor's Note: Former § 281-9, Certificate of approval required for construction or alteration, was repealed 12-9-2003, effective 12-19-2003.
A. 
Definitions.
(1) 
Unless otherwise expressly stated, the following terms shall, for the purpose of this section, have the following meanings:
ALTERATION AND IMPROVEMENTS
A physical change in an existing structure other than painting, ordinary repairs, normal replacement or maintenance items, except that repairs and modernization designed to accommodate the provisions of the New York State Energy Conservation Construction Code shall be eligible for tax exemption and abatements under this section.
CITY OF BUFFALO BOARD OF REVIEW
The Mayor, Council President and Comptroller of the City of Buffalo.
COMPLETE AN ALTERATION OR IMPROVEMENT
Conclude or terminate any physical operation such as is referred to in the definition of "start an alteration or improvement" to an extent or degree which renders such building capable of use for the purpose for which the alterations or improvements were intended.
EXISTING DWELLING
A Class A multiple dwelling not used, in whole or in part, for single-room occupancy or a building consisting of one or two dwelling units over space used for commercial occupancy.
ORDINARY REPAIRS
Repairs or ordinary maintenance items or normal replacement items made to an existing dwelling.
START AN ALTERATION OR IMPROVEMENT
Begin any physical operation undertaken for the purpose of making alterations or improvements.
(2) 
The following terms shall have the meanings defined in the Multiple Dwelling Law: "private dwelling," "multiple dwelling," "Class A multiple dwelling," "Class B multiple dwelling" and "single-room occupancy."
B. 
Any increase in the assessed valuation of real property shall be exempt from taxation for local purposes to the extent hereinafter set forth, provided that such increase in assessed valuation results from:
(1) 
Conversion of Class B multiple dwellings or other buildings or structures to Class A multiple dwellings not used in whole or in part for single-room occupancy;
(2) 
Alterations or improvements to eliminate unhealthy or dangerous conditions or to replace inadequate and obsolete sanitary facilities, any of which represent fire or health hazards, in any existing Class A multiple dwelling or buildings consisting of one or two dwelling units over space used for commercial occupancy, except insofar as the gross cubic content of the building is increased thereby; or
(3) 
Alterations or improvements which are designed to conserve the use of fuel, electricity or other such energy sources in any dwelling or other building or structure described in Subsection B(1) or (2) of this section.
C. 
Such exemption shall take effect on the first taxable status date after the completion of the work which results in the exemption and shall continue for eight years and shall be at the following rates: an exemption of 100% in the first and second years; an exemption of 75% in the third and fourth years; an exemption of 50% in the fifth and sixth years; and an exemption of 25% in the seventh and eighth years. The conversion, alterations or improvements for which such exemption is granted shall have been started after June 1, 1976, and shall be completed within two years after the date on which the same shall have been started, if started prior to January 1, 1978, and shall be completed within 36 months after the date on which same shall be started, if started on or after January 1, 1978, and shall in any event be completed prior to December 31, 1984. Alterations and improvements described in Subsection B(3) of this section shall only receive the benefits of this section where such alterations or improvements are commenced on or after January 1, 1978.
D. 
The real property taxes levied by the City of Buffalo on any property, including the land, eligible to receive the benefits of Subsection B(3) of this section shall be abated and reduced by an amount no greater than 8 1/3% of the reasonable cost of such energy-related alterations or improvements each year for a period of 10 years, commencing with the first tax bill after the completion thereof. In no event shall any abatement granted herein exceed in the aggregate 83 1/3% of the reasonable cost of such alterations or improvements nor shall such abatement in any consecutive twelve-month period exceed the amount of taxes payable in such twelve-month period.
E. 
The benefits of this section shall not apply to any private dwelling, notwithstanding any other provision of this section, unless such private dwelling is:
(1) 
In an area approved for clearance, replanning, reconstruction or neighborhood rehabilitation pursuant to Chapter 887 of the Laws of 1945, as from time to time amended; or in an area designated for studies, tests, demonstrations and other activities for the prevention and elimination of slums and urban blight pursuant to Chapter 608 of the Laws of 1956, as from time to time amended; or in an area for which a preliminary or final plan has been approved pursuant to Chapter 688 of the Laws of 1957 or Chapter 924 of the Laws of 1958, as from time to time amended, or Chapter 971 of the Laws of 1960; or in an area for which a urban renewal plan or tests, studies or demonstrations have been approved pursuant to Article 15 of the General Municipal Law; and
(2) 
Certified by the project board for the area as a dwelling which is to be or has been improved in conformity with such replanning, reconstruction, neighborhood improvement, studies, tests, demonstrations or plans.
F. 
The benefits of this section shall apply to any multiple dwelling, building or structure as provided in Subsections B and C of this section which, after conversion, alteration or improvement, is operated for the benefit of persons or families who are entitled to occupancy by reason of ownership of stock or membership in the corporate owner or for the benefit of such persons or families and other persons or families entitled to occupancy under applicable provisions of law without ownership of stock or membership in the corporate owner or is owned as a condominium and is occupied as the residence or home of three or more families living independently of each other.
G. 
The benefits of this section shall be restricted to buildings and structures which the Department of Community Development or any agency successor thereto shall certify to be structurally sound and in compliance with all applicable provisions of law.
H. 
The Department of Community Development or any agency successor thereto shall determine and certify the reasonable cost of any such conversion, alterations or improvements and eligibility for the benefits of this section, and for that purpose it may adopt rules and regulations; administer oaths to and take the testimony of any person, including but not limited to the owner of such property; may issue subpoenas requiring the attendance of such persons and the production of such hooks, papers or documents as it shall deem necessary; may make preliminary estimates of the maximum reasonable cost of such conversion, alterations or improvements; shall establish maximum allowable costs of specified units, fixtures or work in such conversion, alterations or improvements; and may require the submission of plans and specifications before the start thereof. Such determination and certification shall be submitted to the City of Buffalo Board of Review for conditional approval before the commencement of construction.
I. 
The Department of Community Development or any agency successor thereto shall notify the Department of Assessment, the Division of Audit and the Department of Administration and Finance of any property which has been certified as eligible for the benefits of this section, the date on which such conversion, alterations or improvements were started, the date on which such conversion, alterations or improvements were completed and the approved reasonable cost of such conversion, alterations or improvements.
J. 
The Department of Assessment may adopt and promulgate such rules and regulations as it shall deem necessary for the effectuation of the purposes of this section.
K. 
The Department of Community Development or any agency successor thereto shall accept no application for the benefits of this section if there are outstanding real property taxes or water or sewer charges due and owing on such property or if the applicant has not documented the expenditure of approved reasonable costs or if all claimed work has not been performed and completed in a satisfactory manner.
L. 
The benefits of this section shall be revoked by the Department of Assessment or the Department of Community Development or any agency successor thereto at any time during the authorized term of such benefits if City real property taxes or water or sewer charges remain unpaid for one year after the same shall become due and payable. The benefits of this section shall also be revoked by the Department of Assessments or Department of Community Development or any agency successor thereto if a hazardous condition substantially violating the applicable ordinances of the City of Buffalo exists upon such property.
M. 
During the period for which an exemption is granted any property pursuant to this section, the assessed valuation of such property may be increased because of an increase in the value of the land or because of improvements to the building or structure other than those made under the provisions of this section.
N. 
Any person who shall knowingly and willfully make any false statement as to any material matter in any application for the benefits of this section shall be guilty of an offense punishable by a fine of not more than $1,500 or imprisonment for a period of not more than 15 days, or both.
O. 
All the benefits of this section shall be subject to final approval by the City of Buffalo Board of Review.
[Added 5-14-1991, effective 5-24-1991]
A. 
Intent. The purpose of this section is to enable the City of Buffalo to grant tax exemptions pursuant to § 421-e of the New York State Real Property Tax Law for low-income housing projects developed under Article XVIII of the New York State Private Housing Finance Law.
B. 
Eligible projects. Any cooperative, condominium, homesteading or rental project which receives payments, grants or loans pursuant to Article XVIII of the New York State Private Housing Finance Law is eligible.
C. 
Application. Application for tax exemptions pursuant to this section should be made to the Department of Assessment. Such application shall have sufficient proof that the project for which the tax exemption is sought was developed under Article XVIII of the Private Housing Finance Law.
D. 
Approval. Upon receiving a completed application, the Department of Assessment shall determine the eligibility of any project proposed for exemption under this section and approve or deny the application.
E. 
Benefits and limitations. Projects eligible for exemptions under this section shall be exempt from all or any portion of the taxes imposed by a municipality, including those imposed by a school district, other than assessment for local improvements for a period not to exceed 20 years in the aggregate after the taxable status date immediately following the completion thereof, calculated not to exceed the following exemptions: 12 years of full exemption followed by two years of exemption from 80% of such taxation, followed by two years of exemption from 60% of such taxation, followed by two years from exemption of 40% of such taxation, followed by two years of exemption from 20% of such taxation, provided that the tax exemption authorized by this section shall be in addition to any other tax exemption or abatement authorized by law.
[Amended 11-16-1993, effective 11-29-1993]
[Added 7-20-1993, effective 8-2-1993]
A. 
Intent. The purpose of this section is to enable the City of Buffalo to grant real property tax exemptions to low-income turnkey/enhanced rental project(s) developed with funds authorized by Article XVIII-A of the New York State Private Housing Finance Law. Authorization for this section is found at § 1106-h of the law.
B. 
Eligible projects. Any low-income turnkey/enhanced rental project developed with funds authorized by Article XVIII-A of the New York State Private Housing Finance Law is eligible for the exemption provided in this section.
C. 
Benefits and limitations.
(1) 
Pursuant to an agreement as provided in Subsection D below, an eligible project shall have all or any portion of the value of the property included in a turnkey/enhanced rental project which represents an increase over the assessed valuation of the real property, both land and improvements, prior to the improvements of the property necessary or intended to effectuate the purposes of this article, exempt from any and all City real property taxes, as defined in Subdivision 20 of § 102 of the Real Property Tax Law, real property special ad valorem levies, as defined in Subdivision 14 of § 102 of the Real Property Tax Law, and special assessments, as defined in Subdivision 15 of § 102 of the real property tax law, except that the assessed valuation may be increased or decreased to reflect a change in the level of assessment as certified pursuant to Title 2 of Article 12 of the Real Property Tax Law.
(2) 
An eligible project shall also receive an abatement of any or all of the real property taxes which are payable to the City for such duration as may be approved by the Common Council, if any property taxes remain to be paid after the exemption or abatement provided in this section is determined.
(3) 
The tax exemption or abatement authorized by this section shall be in addition to any other tax exemption or abatement authorized by law, and provided further, however, that in the event a project ceases to be subject to one or more provisions of this article, any tax exemption or abatement authorized pursuant to this section with respect to the eligible property of such project shall terminate.
D. 
Application and approval. Application for the benefits provided for this section shall be made to the Department of Assessment on such forms or subject to such procedures as may be established by the Department of Assessment. The application shall be submitted to the Department of Inspections and Community Revitalization for recommendation of a tax-exemption agreement between the City and the project owner to the Common Council. Such agreement shall be subject to approval by the Common Council and may be equal to or less than the exemption applied for by the project owner initially.