[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Buffalo 11-15-2011, effective 12-1-2011. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Common Council of the City of Buffalo hereby finds and declares that the management and rental of residential properties constitutes a business, which impacts upon the public health, safety, general welfare, comfort, peace and prosperity of the people of the City of Buffalo. The intent of this chapter is to regulate the management of residential rental properties to protect the public health, safety, general welfare, comfort, peace and prosperity of the people of the City of Buffalo by providing for a licensing procedure for property managers who engage in the management of three or more residential City properties.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- DWELLING UNIT
- A single unit providing complete independent living facilities for one or more persons, including permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking and sanitation.
- PROPERTY MANAGEMENT
- The engaging on behalf of an owner of residential property of those activities commonly associated with the operation and rental of three or more residential rental units, including but not limited to the advertising or soliciting of apartments or rental units for rent; tenant review and screening; the collecting and/or oversight of rental profits; and/or the conducting of and/or arranging for minor repairs and maintenance of residential properties in the City of Buffalo.
- PROPERTY MANAGER
- An individual or entity who engages in the property management of three or more residential rental units in the City of Buffalo for a fee or salary. The individual must reside in Erie County or the entity must be based in Erie County. A residential property occupied by its owner shall not be included in any calculation to determine property manager status.
- For the purposes of this section and only this section the term "residential" shall refer to a property with any number of dwelling units and is not limited to one- or two-unit properties. If a dwelling unit is owner-occupied, that unit will not be included in the calculation to determine property manager status. For example, if a property has three dwelling units and one unit is occupied by the owner of the property, a property manager is not required for the property.
No person, firm, corporation or entity shall act as a property manager or engage in property management activities within the meanings of this chapter for three or more non-owner-occupied, residential rental units without first obtaining a license from the Commissioner of Permit and Inspection Services.
Every applicant for a license issued pursuant to this chapter shall submit the following information:
The name, address, e-mail address (if applicable) and telephone number of the individual or entity applying for the license.
A description of all properties proposed to be managed by the applicant, including the street addresses, owners, and number of units.
Proof of insurance in amounts satisfactory to the Department of Permit and Inspection Services, if deemed necessary by the Commissioner or his designee.
If an applicant will collect rents or negotiate rental of property, a copy of his New York State real estate broker's license is required. If an applicant is licensed as "Associate Real Estate Broker" or "Real Estate Salesperson" a copy of the real estate broker's license they work under is required. If an applicant is strictly performing maintenance and no rents are collected or negotiating of rental property is done, then a broker's license is not required.
Editor's Note: This ordinance also redesignated former Subsection A(4) as Subsection A(5).
Other additional information as required by the City of Buffalo.
Such information shall be filed and updated annually with the Department of Permit and Inspection Services.
All applications for licenses and renewals thereof shall be referred by the Commissioner of Permit and Inspection Services to the Buffalo Police Department for approval. Upon receipt of said referral, the Buffalo Police Department shall promptly cause an investigation to be made into the criminal background and professional fitness of the applicant and shall promptly report to the Commissioner of Permit and Inspection Services as to whether or not approval and issuance of the license is recommended. If approval is not recommended, such report shall state the reasons therefore.
All applications for licenses and renewals shall also be forwarded to the Assistant Corporation Counsel acting as Housing Court Prosecutor within the City of Buffalo Law Department for review and comment. Said Housing Court Prosecutor shall have 14 days to review and comment upon the application after his or her receipt thereof, based on his or her familiarity with the applicant from past cases he or she may have been involved in.
All new applications for a property manager license shall be referred to the Common Council for approval.
If a property manager collects rents or negotiates the rental of property, a real estate broker, associate real estate broker or real estate salesperson license as issued by the New York State Department of State pursuant to Article 12-A of the New York State Real Property Law is required. As per Article 12-A of the New York State Real Property Law, a property manager or property management company who negotiates the rental of property or collects rents is required to be licensed as a real estate broker, associate real estate broker or real estate salesperson in the State of New York.
Upon approval of the license, a property manager must contact tenants in all dwelling units managed by the property manager and provide them with contact information as the property manager or property management company. This must be completed within 30 days of approval.
If, subsequent to receiving a property management license, a property manager acquires additional properties in the City of Buffalo, he shall notify the Department of Permit and Inspection Services, in writing, of the additional properties he now manages. Said notification must occur within 45 days of acquiring the additional properties.
If a property manager is found by the City to be in violation of this chapter, or any section of the City Code pertaining to his duties as a property manager, the Common Council shall have the authority to summon him to appear before it for review of his license.
The City of Buffalo may impose additional conditions upon any license issued pursuant to this chapter.
All licenses issued pursuant to this chapter shall expire annually on the 30th day of November. Each new applicant for re-issuance or renewal shall be required to submit a new application in accordance with the requirements set forth in this chapter.
The City of Buffalo, its departments, and agents may inspect any property managed by a licensee at any reasonable hour.
A license issued pursuant to this chapter may be revoked or suspended for cause by the Commissioner of Permit and Inspection Services after notice and a hearing. Any violation of or failure to comply with any of the laws or ordinances applicable to the management of residential properties shall be cause for revocation or suspension. The Commissioner may consider such factors, including, but not limited to, the property manager's conduct during the license period, including relevant criminal or housing court actions and dispositions, the nature and disposition of any notices of violation from the Bureau of Administrative Adjudication issued for conduct at any of the properties included on said license, the nature and frequency of complaints about the properties generated from, among other sources, Police Department incident reports, 911 calls, 311 reports, property inspection reports and other verifiable information reported to the City.
Licenses issued hereunder are not transferable.
The fees for licenses issued pursuant to this chapter shall be as provided in Chapter 175, Fees. Any individual or entity possessing proof of a valid "Real Estate Broker," "Associate Real Estate Broker" or "Real Estate Salesperson" license as issued by the New York State Department of State pursuant to Article 12-A of the New York State Real Property Law shall be exempt from having to pay the fee provided for in Chapter 175 upon the presentation of said license to the Commissioner of Permit and Inspection Services.
The provisions of this chapter are severable. If any court of competent jurisdiction decides that any section, clause, sentence, part, or provision of this chapter is illegal, invalid, or unconstitutional, such decision shall not affect, impair, or invalidate any of the remaining sections, clauses, sentences, parts, or provisions of the chapter.