[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Baldwin as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Article I Residential Rental Property Registration, Occupancy Permits and Transfer Inspections
[Adopted 7-28-2009 by Ord. No. 820]
This article shall be known as the Borough of Baldwin "Rental and Real Estate Transfer Inspection Ordinance."
It is the purpose of this article and the policy of the Council of the Borough of Baldwin, in order to protect and promote the public health, safety and welfare of its citizens, to establish rights and obligations of owners and occupancy relating to the rental and sale of residential units in the Borough of Baldwin and to encourage owners and occupants to maintain and improve the quality of housing within the community. It is also the policy of the Borough that owners, managers and occupants share responsibilities to obey the various codes adopted to protect and promote public health, safety and welfare. As a means to those ends, this article provides for a system of inspections, issuance and renewal of occupancy permits and sets penalties for violations. In addition, there is a greater incidence of violations of various codes of the Borough of Baldwin in residential rental properties where owners rent properties to tenants. This article shall be liberally construed and applied to promote its purposes and policies. In considering the adoption of this article, the Borough of Baldwin makes the following findings.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- BOROUGH OF BALDWIN
- The Borough of Baldwin, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.
- Any code or ordinance adopted, enacted and/or in effect in and for the Borough of Baldwin concerning fitness for habitation or the construction, maintenance, operation, occupancy, use or appearance for any premises or residential unit. Included within, but not limited by, this definition are the following which are in effect as of the date of the enactment of this article: the Uniform Construction Code (hereafter "UCC"), International Property Maintenance Code, International Plumbing Code, International Fire Prevention Code, International Electrical Code, Floodplain Management Ordinance, International Building Code and any duly enacted amendment or supplement to any of the above and any new enactment falling within this definition.
- CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
- The duly appointed Code Enforcement Officer(s) having charge of the Office of Code Enforcement of the Borough of Baldwin and any assistants or agents.
- COMMON AREA
- Any open area within a structure by occupants or that the occupants have the right to share, including, but not limited to, kitchens, bathrooms, living rooms, dining rooms, attics, basements and any room used for parties, social events or the congregation of people, excepting bedrooms.
- DISRUPTIVE CONDUCT
- Any form of conduct, action, incident or behavior perpetrated, caused or permitted by any occupant or visitor of a residential unit that is so loud, untimely (as to the hour of the day), offensive, riotous or that otherwise disturbs other persons of reasonable sensibility in their peaceful enjoyment of their premises such that a report is made to police and/or to the Code Enforcement Officer complaining of such conduct, action, incident or behavior. It is not necessary that such conduct, action, incident or behavior constitute a criminal offense, nor that criminal charges be filed against any person, in order for a person to have perpetrated, caused or permitted the commission of disruptive conduct, as defined herein; provided, however, that no disruptive conduct shall be deemed to have occurred unless the Code Enforcement Officer or police shall investigate and make a determination that such did occur, and keep written records, including a disruptive conduct report, of such occurrence.
- One or more persons, jointly or severally, in whom is vested all or part of the legal title to the premises or all or part of the beneficial ownership and a right to the present use and enjoyment of the premises, including a mortgage holder in possession of a residential rental unit (same as "owner").
- LANDLORD-TENANT ACT
- The Landlord and Tenant Act of 1951, 68 P.S. § 250.101 et seq.
- An adult individual designated by the owner of a residential rental unit.
- OCCUPANCY PERMIT
- The permit issued to the owner of residential rental units under this article, which is required for the lawful occupancy of residential units.
- An individual who resides in a residential rental unit, whether or not he or she is the owner thereof, with whom a legal relationship with the owner/landlord is established by a lease or by the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
- One or more persons, jointly or severally, in whom is vested all or part of the legal title to the premises or all or part of the beneficial ownership and a right to the present use and enjoyment of the premises, including a mortgage holder in possession of a residential rental unit.
- OWNER-OCCUPIED RENTAL UNIT
- A rental unit in which the owner resides on a regular, permanent basis.
- A natural person, partnership, corporation, unincorporated association, limited partnership, trust or any other entity.
- The Police Department of the Borough of Baldwin or any properly authorized member or officer thereof or any other law enforcement agency having jurisdiction within the Borough of Baldwin.
- Any parcel of real property in the Borough, including the land and all buildings and appurtenant structures or appurtenant elements, on which one or more rental units are located.
- REAL ESTATE RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY
- Property consisting of a single-family detached home and land.
- RENTAL AGREEMENT
- A written agreement between owner/landlord and occupant/tenant embodying the terms and conditions concerning the use and occupancy of a specified residential rental unit or premises.
- RESIDENTIAL RENTAL UNIT
- Any structure within the Borough of Baldwin which is occupied by someone other than the owner of the real estate as determined by the most current deed and for which the owner of the said parcel of real estate received any value, including but not limited to money, or the exchange of services. Each apartment within a building is a separate structure requiring inspection and a license.
- Any human-made object, the use of which requires an ascertainable stationary location on land, whether or not it is affixed to the land. Each apartment within a building is a separate structure.
- An individual who resides in a rental unit, whether or not he or she is the owner thereof, with whom a legal relationship with the owner/landlord is established by a lease or by the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (same as "occupant").
It shall be the responsibility of every owner to register with the Borough of Baldwin a contact name and twenty-four-hour telephone number for emergency purposes.
Before an occupant initially enters into or renews a rental agreement for a rental unit, the owner or manager shall furnish the occupant with the most recent inspection report relating to the property.
Maintenance of premises.
The owner shall maintain the premises in compliance with the applicable codes of the Borough of Baldwin and shall regularly perform all routine maintenance, including lawn mowing and ice and snow removal and shall promptly make any and all repairs necessary to fulfill this obligation.
The owner and occupant may agree that the occupant is to perform specified repairs, maintenance tasks, alterations or remodeling. In such case, however, such agreement between the owner and occupant must be in writing. Such an agreement may be entered into between the owner and occupant only if:
In no case shall the existence of any agreement between owner and occupant relieve an owner of any responsibility under this article or other ordinances or codes for maintenance of the premises.
Registration. Every owner of a residential rental unit must register the unit with the Code Enforcement Officer in accordance with the following schedule:
All owners of residential units must register the units with the Code Enforcement Officer within 30 days after the effective date of this article.
Any individual, entity or firm which converts any structure to a residential rental unit or units shall register the residential rental unit or units with the Code Enforcement Officer of the Borough of Baldwin within 30 days of the completion of the conversion of the unit or units; within 30 days of the time when any rent, including the exchange of other services for the unit or units, is obtained; or within 30 days of the date within which a tenant or tenants occupy the unit or units, whichever time period is sooner.
It shall be the responsibility of the grantee and the grantee's agent in the purchase of the said real estate, including the grantee's attorney or title company, to notify Baldwin Borough within 72 hours of any purchase or transfer of a rental unit building or real estate residential property.
The owner of a residential rental unit must update the registration information on record with the Code Enforcement Officer within 10 days of any changes of the information set forth below.
Registration information shall be provided by all owners and shall include the following:
Any owner of a residential rental unit shall notify the Borough of Baldwin within 10 days of a new tenant occupying, renting or residing in the landlord's or owner's residential rental unit.
Notwithstanding any other provisions of this article, the names and addresses of a tenant shall not be disclosed by any Borough personnel in the event that the tenant is the subject of a court order requiring that this information be kept confidential.
Complaints. The owner shall reply promptly to reasonable complaints and inquiries from occupants.
Landlord-Tenant Act. The owner shall comply with all provisions of the Landlord-Tenant Act.
Within 10 days after receipt of written notice from the Code Enforcement Office that an occupant of a residential rental unit has violated a provision of this article, the owner shall take immediate steps to remedy the violation and take steps to assure that there is not a reoccurrence of the violation.
Code violations. Upon receiving notice of any code violations from the Code Enforcement Officer, the owner shall promptly take action, or cause the necessary action to be taken, to abate the offending condition and eliminate the violation.
Borough can make repairs. In case the owner of premises shall neglect, fail or refuse to comply with any notice from the Borough or its Code Enforcement Officer to correct a violation relating to maintenance and repair of the premises under any code in effect in the Borough of Baldwin within the period of time stated in such notice, the Borough 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 Borough 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 Borough and its Code Enforcement Officer may invoke such other remedies available under this article 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.
Inspections. The inspection provisions of this section shall also pertain to any real estate residential property in which ownership is being transferred, provided that it has been at least one year since the previous inspection. The owner shall permit inspections of any premises by the Code Enforcement Officer at reasonable times upon reasonable notice. The inspections shall be completed as follows:
The Code Enforcement Officer of the Borough of Baldwin shall inspect at the time of transfer of occupant, provided that it has been at least one year since the previous inspection.
A list of the items for the Code Enforcement Office to inspect for the transfer of rental or real estate residential property shall be on display in the Code Enforcement Office. This list of items may be modified from time to time commensurate with residential UCC codes. The noncompliance provisions of this section shall also pertain to any real estate residential property in which ownership is being transferred.
Any parcel of real estate containing a residential rental unit which has been found to be in noncompliance with this article shall be subject to reinspection by the Code Enforcement Officer as follows:
In the event of a violation, a residential rental unit cannot be occupied unless and until the unit is approved as meeting the criteria of this article and any other applicable codes of the Borough of Baldwin as determined by the Code Enforcement Officer.
Notice of violation.
If, after inspection of one or more of the residential rental units as set forth above, the Code Enforcement Officer determines that there are violations of any code of the Borough of Baldwin, the Code Enforcement Officer shall provide a notice of violation, which shall at a minimum set forth the following:
Within 10 days after receipt of a written notice from the Borough of Baldwin Code Enforcement Officer that there has been a violation of this section or any other applicable ordinances of the Borough of Baldwin, the owner shall take immediate steps to remedy the violation and take steps to assure that there will not be a reoccurrence of the violation.
Within 20 days after receipt of a notice of violation the owner of a residential rental unit shall file with the Code Enforcement Officer a report on a form provided by the Borough of Baldwin setting forth what action the owner has taken to remedy the violation and what steps he or she has taken to prevent a reoccurrence of the violation. The report shall also set forth a plan as to steps the owner will take in the future if the violation reoccurs.
All owners of any real estate containing or upon which are erected any residential rental unit which are in noncompliance with this article and who desire to sell the parcel of real estate shall notify the purchasers, in writing, prior to the sale of the parcel of real estate, that the parcel of real estate is in noncompliance with the terms and conditions of this article. Further, any property owner selling a parcel of real estate upon which is erected a residential rental unit or units which are found to be in noncompliance under the terms and conditions of this article shall notify the Code Enforcement Officer, in writing, within 30 days prior to closing on the sale of said parcel of real estate.
All owners of any parcels of real estate containing residential rental units shall permit access to the property so that the Code Enforcement Officer of the Borough of Baldwin shall be able to complete all inspections necessary to determine compliance with this article and any other applicable ordinances of the Borough of Baldwin. Refusal to allow entry of the residential rental unit by the Code Enforcement Officer of the Borough of Baldwin to inspect the said unit shall be a violation of this article.
The owner of any property containing or upon which is erected a residential rental unit shall pay a fee of $60 for each and every reinspection to cover the cost of a reinspection each time a reinspection is required under the terms of this article or each time a reinspection is requested by the Code Enforcement Officer to determine compliance with this article or any other applicable ordinances of the Borough of Baldwin. The fee set forth herein may be increased or decreased by a resolution of Baldwin Borough Council.
Inspection of premises. The occupant shall permit inspections by the Code Enforcement Officer of the premises at reasonable times, upon reasonable notice.
Occupancy permit requirement. The occupancy permit provisions of this section shall pertain to any real estate residential property in which ownership is being transferred.
As a prerequisite to entering into a rental agreement or permitting the occupancy of any rental unit, the owner of every such rental unit shall be required to apply for and obtain an occupancy permit for each rental unit.
An occupancy permit shall be required for all residential rental units.
The application for the occupancy permit shall be in a form as determined by the Borough.
The owner shall maintain a current and accurate list of the occupants in each rental unit which shall include their name and current telephone number, which shall be available to the Borough for inspection upon reasonable notice. The owner shall notify the Borough of changes in the occupancy or of contact information within 10 days of the change and shall provide the name of the person who is no longer residing in the premises in the event a person departs and the name, current address and current telephone number of new occupants in the event a new person is added.
No occupancy permit shall be issued if the owner has not paid any fines and costs arising from enforcement of this article or any of the ordinances of the Borough of Baldwin relating to land use and/or code enforcement or if any permit fees under this article are due and owing the Borough.
All notices shall be sent to the owner and manager, if applicable, by certified mail. In the event that the notice is returned by the postal authorities marked "unclaimed" or "refused," then the Code Enforcement Officer shall attempt delivery by personal service on the owner or manager, if applicable. The Code Enforcement Officer shall also post the notice at a conspicuous place on the premises.
If personal service cannot be accomplished after a reasonable attempt to do so, then the notice may be sent to the owner or manager at the addresses stated on the most current occupancy permit application for the premises in question, by regular first-class mail, postage prepaid. If such notice is not returned by the postal authorities within five days of its deposit in the U.S. Mail, then it shall be deemed to have been delivered to and received by the addressee on the fifth day following its deposit in the U.S. Mail, and all time periods set forth above shall thereupon be calculated from said fifth day.
Notices. For purposes of this article, any notice required hereunder to be given to a manager shall be deemed as notice given to the owner.
There shall be a rebuttable presumption that any notice required to be given to the owner under this article shall have been received by such owner if the notice was given to the owner in the manner provided by this article.
A claimed lack of knowledge by the owner of any violation hereunder cited shall be no defense to occupancy permit nonrenewal, suspension or revocation proceedings as long as all notices prerequisite to institution of such proceedings have been given and deemed received in accordance with the applicable provisions of this article.
Changes in ownership occupancy. It shall be the duty of each owner of a residential rental unit to notify the Code Enforcement Officer, in writing, of any change in ownership of the premises or of the number of residential rental units on the premises. It shall also be the duty of the owner to notify the Code Enforcement Officer in writing of any increase in number of occupants in any rental unit or of the changing of a rental unit from owner-occupied to non-owner-occupied, which thereby transforms the dwelling into a residential rental unit for purposes of this article.
Owners severally responsible. If any rental unit is owned by more than one person, in any form of joint tenancy, as a partnership or otherwise, each person shall be jointly and severally responsible for the duties imposed under the terms of this article and shall be severally subject to prosecution for the violation of this article.
Confidentiality. All registration and contact information shall be maintained in a confidential manner by the Code Enforcement Officer and shall be utilized for the purpose of enforcement of this article by the Code Enforcement Officer and the Borough Manager.
This article shall be enforced by the Code Enforcement Officer of the Borough of Baldwin.
Basis for violation. It shall be unlawful for any person, as either owner or manager of a residential rental unit for which an occupancy permit is required, to operate without a valid, current occupancy permit issued by the Borough of Baldwin authorizing such operation. It shall be unlawful for any person, either owner or manager, to allow the number of occupants of a residential rental unit to exceed the maximum limit asset forth on the occupancy permit or to violate any other provision of this section.
Penalties. Any landlord or owner of a residential unit which violates any of the provisions (coordinate with our code), together with all of the subsections thereunder, shall, upon conviction thereof, be sentenced to pay a fine of $500 for each and every offense. Each day of the said violation shall be a separate offense.
Fines as imposed through this article shall be collected as allowable by law.
Each day during which any owner of a residential rental unit violates any provisions of this article shall constitute a separate offense.
This article and the foregoing penalties shall not be construed to limit or deny the right of the Borough of Baldwin or its agents or representatives to such equitable or other remedies as may otherwise be available with or without process of law.
In addition to the fines set forth herein, the Borough of Baldwin shall be entitled to reasonable attorney's fees incurred in enforcing this article. The said fees shall be added to any penalties set forth above.
The owners of all residential rental units in the Borough of Baldwin shall have the responsibility of making sure that all occupants within their rental units comply with and abide by this article of the Borough of Baldwin.
If any section or provision of this article is adjudged by a court of competent jurisdiction to be unlawful, void or unenforceable, all the remaining sections and provisions of this article shall remain in full force and effect.