City of Pittsfield, MA
Berkshire County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
GENERAL REFERENCES
Building Code — See Ch. 3.
[Ord. No. 1047, § I, 10-26-2010; Ord. No. 1062, 7-10-2012]
It is the intent of this chapter to protect and preserve public health and safety, security, and quiet enjoyment of occupants, abutters, and neighborhoods by (1) requiring all residential property owners, including lenders, trustees, and service companies, to properly maintain their properties and (2) regulating the maintenance of residential properties to prevent blighted and unsecure residences.
[Ord. No. 1047, § I, 10-26-2010; Ord. No. 1062, 7-10-2012]
When used in this chapter, unless a contrary intention clearly appears, the following terms shall have the following meanings:
CITY
City of Pittsfield.
CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
One or more of the following:
1. 
The Commissioner of Building and/or his designated agent.
2. 
The Director of Public Health and/or his designated agent.
3. 
The Fire Chief and/or his designated agent.
DAYS
Consecutive calendar days.
FORECLOSURE
The process by which a property, placed as security for a real estate loan, is prepared for sale to satisfy the debt if the borrower defaults.
INITIATION OF THE FORECLOSURE PROCESS
Taking any of the following actions: (1) taking possession of a residential property pursuant to MGL c. 244, § 1; (2) delivering the mortgagee's notice of intention to foreclose to the borrower pursuant to MGL c. 244, § 17B; or (3) commencing a foreclosure action on a property in either the Land Court or Superior Court.
MORTGAGEE
The creditor, including, but not limited to, service companies, lenders in a mortgage agreement and any agent, servant or employee of the mortgagee, or any successor in interest and/or assignee of the mortgagee's right, interest or obligation under the mortgage agreement.
NON-OWNER OCCUPIED
Any residential property, for which the property owner does not reside.
OWNER
Every person, entity, service company, or property manager, who alone or severally with others:
1. 
Has legal or equitable title to any dwelling, dwelling unit, mobile dwelling unit, or parcel of land, vacant or otherwise, including a mobile park; or
2. 
Has care, charge or control of any dwelling, dwelling unit, mobile dwelling unit or parcel of land, vacant or otherwise, including a mobile park, in any capacity, including but not limited to agent, executor, executrix, administrator, administratrix, trustee or guardian of the estate of the holder of legal title; or
3. 
Is a mortgagee in possession of any property; or
4. 
Is an agent, trustee, or other person appointed by the court and vested with possession or control of any such property; or
5. 
Is an officer or trustee of the association of unit owners of a condominium. Each such person is bound to comply with the provision of these minimum standards as if he were the owner. However, this chapter shall not apply to a condominium association created pursuant to MGL c. 138A to the extent that such association forecloses on or initiates foreclosure process for unpaid assessments due or owing to the association. "Owner" also means every person who operates a rooming house; or
6. 
Is a trustee who holds, owns or controls mortgage loans for mortgage-backed securities transactions and has initiated the foreclosure process.
PROPERTY
Any real, residential property, or portion thereof, located in the City, including buildings or structures situated on the property. For the purpose of this section only, "property" does not include property owned by or subject to the control of the City or any of its governmental bodies. Such property includes, but is not limited to, property owned or controlled by the Pittsfield Housing Authority.
REPRESENTATIVE
The person primarily responsible for the maintenance of property at all times of the day and night.
RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY
Any property that contains one or more dwelling units used, intended, or designed to be occupied for living purposes.
SECURING
Conforming with the state building and fire codes, including but not limited to requiring the owner to:
1. 
Remove all materials determined by the Fire Chief or Code Enforcement Officer to be dangerous in case of fire.
2. 
Secure all floors accessible from grade utilizing one of the following methods so long as such method is approved by the Fire Chief and Code Enforcement Officer in writing.
3. 
Secure all window and door openings in accordance with the U.S. Fire Administration, National Arson Prevention Initiative Board Up Procedures, continuously until such time as the building is re-occupied.
4. 
Maintain any existing fire alarms or sprinkler systems unless written permission is obtained from the Fire Chief in accordance with MGL c. 148, § 27A, to shut off or disconnect said alarms or systems.
5. 
Maintain utilities unless written permission is obtained from the Code Enforcement Officer to disconnect said utilities. Permission to disconnect utilities shall not be granted if it will result in inadequate heat to prevent freezing of an automatic sprinkler system or inadequate utilities to maintain any other protection systems.
SECURITY
Measures that assist in making the property inaccessible to unauthorized persons.
VACANT
Any property not currently legally occupied for 180 days or more and which the owner does not intend to re-occupy.
[Ord. No. 1047, § I, 10-26-2010; Ord. No. 1062, 7-10-2012]
Effective January 1, 2011, all owners shall register non-owner-occupied residential properties, vacant residential properties, and properties in foreclosure with the Director of Public Health on forms provided by the Director of Public Health. All registrations shall state the owner's and owner's representative's (if applicable) phone number and mailing address as required by MGL c. 59, § 57D, MGL c. 156D, § 5.02, and 950 CMR 113.20.
All property registrations shall expire on the last day of the calendar year in which it was filed. A registration fee of $10 for the first property plus $1 for each subsequent property shall accompany the annual registration form or forms.
Mortgagees are required to register with the Health Department on forms provided by the Director of Public Health within 30 days of the initiation of foreclosure on any residential property.
If a property's ownership changes, becomes occupied, becomes owner occupied, or is no longer subjected to foreclosure, the owner shall provide proof of such to the Director of Public Health, prior to removal from the registration requirement or modification of the registration certifications.
If a Code Enforcement Officer determines that the status of a non-owner-occupied property has changed since registration or that a residential property is vacant and/or that foreclosure proceedings have been initiated, the owner shall be notified that registration must be received within 14 days of the Code Enforcement Officer's citation of such change in status.
If a Code Enforcement Officer determines that foreclosure proceedings have been initiated since registration, the owner and mortgagee shall be notified that an updated registration must be received with 30 days of the Code Enforcement Officer's citation of such change in status.
[Ord. No. 1047, § I, 10-26-2010; Ord. No. 1062, 7-10-2012]
All owners shall renew registered non-owner-occupied residential properties, vacant residential properties, and properties in foreclosure with the Director of Public Health on forms provided by the Director of Public Health by December 31 of every year subsequent to first-time registration. Failure to register by the first day of the subsequent year may result in a fine pursuant to City Ordinance Chapter 3 1/2, § 3 1/2-7.
[Ord. No. 1047, § I, 10-26-2010; Ord. No. 1062, 7-10-2012]
All non-owner-occupied, vacant or foreclosed properties shall comply with relevant sanitary codes, building codes, and ordinances concerning external maintenance. The owner or representative shall maintain the property on a routine basis to ensure compliance is met.
[Ord. No. 1047, § I, 10-26-2010; Ord. No. 1062, 7-10-2012]
The Code Enforcement Officer shall have the authority and the duty to inspect properties subject to this chapter for compliance and to issue citations for any violations pursuant to MGL c. 40, § 21D, and MGL c. 40U. The Code Enforcement Officer shall have the discretion to determine when and how such inspections are to be made, provided that their policies are reasonably calculated to ensure that this section is enforced.
[Ord. No. 1047, § I, 10-26-2010; Ord. No. 1062, 7-10-2012]
Pursuant to MGL c. 40U, Municipal fines and City Ordinance Chapter 4 1/2, failure to comply with Chapter 3 1/2, Regulation and Maintenance of Residential Properties, is punishable by a fine of $100 and may be further subject to an additional fine of $100 fine for each week of noncompliance.
[Ord. No. 1047, § I, 10-26-2010; Ord. No. 1062, 7-10-2012]
If any provision of this chapter imposes greater restrictions or obligations than those imposed by any other general law, special law, regulation, rule, ordinance, bylaw, order or policy, then the provisions of this chapter control.
[Ord. No. 1047, § I, 10-26-2010; Ord. No. 1062, 7-10-2012]
The Code Enforcement Officer and/or his/her appointing authority shall have the right to promulgate rules and regulations necessary to implement and enforce this chapter.
[Ord. No. 1047, § I, 10-26-2010; Ord. No. 1062, 7-10-2012]
The provisions of this chapter are effective immediately upon passage, and all provisions shall be enforced immediately but no monetary fines shall be imposed pursuant hereto until 90 days after passage.