[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Cortlandt 2-9-2010 by L.L. No. 6-2010. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known as the "Rental Dwelling Registry and Occupancy Law of the Code of the Town of Cortlandt."
It is the intent of the Town of Cortlandt Town Board to establish a Rental Dwelling Registry and Occupancy Law for the protection of the health, safety and welfare of residents, to protect the diversified housing stock from deterioration, to provide uniform administration and compliance with the building and fire requirements of New York State and this municipality and to address ongoing issues within the Town of Cortlandt by owners of real property who offer the same for rent but do not reside in the structure.
Except as hereinafter provided, this chapter shall apply to every three-unit or larger rental dwelling, dwelling unit and premises that are leased, rented, let, assigned or otherwise classified as a rental property) with or without valuable consideration, by an owner, occupant, or absentee owner.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any building which is wholly or partly used or is intended to be used as habitable space for human occupants.
- Any person or entity who or which, alone or with others, has legal or equitable title.
- OWNER-OCCUPIED DWELLING
- A dwelling occupied by its owner or by members of his or her family on a nonrental basis.
- RENTAL DWELLING UNIT
- Any room or contiguous group of rooms located within a building and forming a single, habitable living space for one family.
- ROOMING UNIT
- Any furnished room for rent located within a building or forming a single sleeping space.
All rental units containing three or more units shall be registered with the Town of Cortlandt by the owner as required herein.
All rental dwellings with three or more units existing as of the effective date of this chapter shall be registered on or before August 1, 2010. The Director of Technical Services may require and order registration prior to that date for any dwelling cited in a notice under the Code of the Town of Cortlandt. Failure to comply with such an order is a violation of this chapter.
The owner of a new rental dwelling or any dwelling newly converted to a rental dwelling shall register the rental dwelling prior to allowing occupancy of any new rental unit.
The owner of any rental dwelling already registered with the Town of Cortlandt shall re-register within 30 days after any change occurs in registration information. A new owner of a registered dwelling shall re-register the dwelling within 60 days of assuming ownership.
In addition, owners must notify Code Enforcement of any change in maintenance personnel or management company at the dwelling within 30 days of the change.
The Town shall maintain a registry of all rental dwellings and rental units containing the following information, which shall be provided by the owner on forms available from the Zoning Administrator:
The name, legal residence address and telephone number of the owner and any agent in control of the rental dwelling, and, in the event the owner or agent is not a natural person, then the owner information shall be that of the president, general manager or other chief executive officer of the organization. Where more than one natural person has an ownership interest, the required information shall be included for each owner. The information required herein shall also include the address and phone number where the owner(s), agent(s) and/or responsible person(s) may be reached day and night.
The name and address of the 24/7 contact of the on-site maintenance person(s) or management company.
The number and type of rental units in the dwelling.
The address of the rental dwelling.
The employer identification number in the event that the rental dwelling is owned by a corporation.
If neither the address of the owner or the address of the agent in control of the premises as provided in Subsection A is within a radius of 25 miles of the premises, the name, legal residence or business address within Westchester County and telephone number of a natural person who shall be an agent for service of notices and orders issued under this chapter and for service of process in connection with the prosecutions of violations of this chapter in Town of Cortlandt Court or other court of competent jurisdiction.
It shall be a violation of this chapter for an owner or a responsible person to provide inaccurate information for the registry of rental dwellings or to fail to provide the information required herein for the registry.
All residential rental dwelling units which are not subject to the New York State Building Code and which are located in a structure which is non-owner-occupied shall be inspected and certified by the Fire and/or Building Inspector, who shall determine compliance with, administer and enforce all applicable provisions of the Building and Fire Codes of the State of New York and the Code of the Town of Cortlandt. Said inspections and certifications shall commence as soon as practicable upon the passage of this chapter and will be conducted no less than every 36 months.
Except as otherwise provided herein, it shall be unlawful and a violation of this chapter to rent, lease or otherwise allow the occupancy of any residential rental unit without the inspection and certification as required herein.
If, upon inspection, said premises do not comply with all applicable provisions of this code or the New York State Building and Fire Codes or the Code of the Town of Cortlandt, the specific reasons for noncompliance shall be specified in writing and delivered to the property's owner or legal agent.
On or after the passage of this chapter, the Director of Technical Services or the Building Inspector shall have the right to inspect all or any part of the rental dwelling, including any unit or apartment as required herein and/or upon complaint, except that the owner, agent or person in charge thereof shall have the right to insist upon the procurement of a search warrant from a court of competent jurisdiction by the Director of Technical Services or the Building Inspector, or his or her designee, in order to enable such inspection. The officials charged with conducting the inspection pursuant to this section shall be required to obtain a search warrant whenever an owner, agent or person in charge refuses to permit a warrantless inspection of the premises after having been advised that he or she has a constitutional right to refuse entry of the officials without a search warrant.
The officials charged with conducting the inspection shall make such inspection, access and circumstances permitting, within three business days of receipt of a request from the owner, agent or occupant.
Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the right of the Zoning Administrator or the Building Inspector to inspect any property at any time. If, after issuing a residential occupancy permit, the Department receives a complaint alleging a violation of this section, other than a violation which creates an imminent hazard to the public health or to the physical or mental health of the occupants of the rental property, the Zoning Administrator and/or Building Inspector shall make a good faith effort to notify the owner or agent of the complaint by either telephone or regular mail, before conducting an inspection under this section, and shall provide to the owner or agent one working day to explain what steps the owner or agent is taking to correct the violation. The Zoning Administrator and/or Building Inspector may take steps necessary, by inspection or other means, to assure that the violation is corrected.
No owner, agent or person in charge shall collect rents during any period of noncompliance with a notice to cure issued pursuant to this chapter which would otherwise be due and owing for the rental of the premises unless and until he or she shall have complied with the provisions herein.
The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to dwellings designed and used exclusively for occupancy as hotels, motels, transient homes or establishments of like nature.
Any person who shall knowingly and willfully violate or assist in the violation of or who fails to comply with a notice and order issued by the Fire and/or Building Inspector under the aforementioned sections shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000 or a civil penalty not exceeding $3,000.
The following schedule of fees shall apply with respect to the inspection and certification of resident dwelling units:
There shall be no charge for an initial inspection to determine compliance with the applicable provisions of this Code.
Any and all subsequent reinspection(s) necessary to determine compliance with required corrective action or repairs shall be subject to a charge of $50 per unit inspected.
Failure to appear within 15 minutes of a scheduled inspection ("no show") shall result in a fee of $20 per unit.
Cancellation of a scheduled inspection less than 24 hours before that scheduled inspection ("late cancellation") shall result in a fee of $20 per unit.
Cancellation of a scheduled inspection for the unit more than once or after a "no show" ("second cancellation") shall result in a fee of $20 per unit.
Fees prescribed under this section for failure to appear at, and cancellation of, a scheduled inspection may be waived at the discretion of the Zoning Administrator or the Building Inspector for good cause shown.
Unpaid fees shall be subject to the placement and recording of a lien by the Town of Cortlandt against the inspected property.