Township of Susquehanna, PA
Dauphin County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Ord. 39-1955, 10/13/1955, § 1]
The word "building" as used in this Part shall mean any structure used or intended to be used as a dwelling or place of business or industry.
[Ord. 39-1955, 10/13/1955, § 2]
Every owner of every building in the Township of Susquehanna shall cause the same to be numbered as assigned by the Board of Township Commissioners.
[Ord. 39-1955, 10/13/1955, § 3]
The Township Secretary shall send to the owner of every building to which a number has been assigned notice of such number, directing that such number be affixed to such building or elsewhere upon the property in the manner prescribed by this Part, within 15 days of such notice. Every property owner who shall fail to comply with such notice, within the time stated therein, shall be guilty of a violation of this Part.
[Ord. 39-1955, 10/13/1955, § 4]
Numbers as assigned to buildings in the Township according to the provisions of this Part shall be affixed to or painted upon or carved upon such building or upon a permanent standard, base or support, between such building or street. Each number shall be of such height, color and material as to be visible from the street and shall be constantly maintained in complete and legible form; provided, however, that in the case of buildings occupied by other than the owner thereof, the occupant, as well as the owner shall be responsible for maintaining numbers upon such buildings as hereby required.
[Ord. 39-1955, 10/13/1955, § 5]
Whenever a building shall hereafter be erected in the Township, the owner thereof shall forthwith apply to the Board of Township Commissioners for the official number thereof. The number assigned to such building shall, within 15 days after notice of such assignment in writing by the Township Secretary to the owner, shall be affixed in the manner required by this Part in the case of existing buildings and shall thereafter be maintained as hereby required for the numbers of existing buildings.
[Ord. 39-1955, 10/13/1955, § 6; as amended by Ord. 89-16, 11/21/1989]
Any person, firm or corporation who shall violate any provision of this Part shall, upon conviction thereof, be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $600 and costs, or in default of payment thereof, shall be subject to imprisonment for a term not to exceed 30 days. Each day that a violation of this Part continues shall constitute a separate offense.
[Ord. No. 19-04, 7/25/2019[1]]
1. 
It is the purpose and intent of the Township of Susquehanna to establish a process to address the amount of deteriorating real property located within the Township, which includes property, whether vacant or occupied, which is in default, for which a public notice of default has been filed, which is in foreclosure, or where ownership has been transferred to a lender or mortgagee by any legal method. It is the Township's further intent to specifically establish an abandoned residential property program as a mechanism to protect residential neighborhoods from becoming blighted through the lack of adequate maintenance and security of abandoned properties.
2. 
For the protection and promotion of the public health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the Township of Susquehanna, the Board of Commissioners hereby establishes the rights and obligations of owners, mortgagees and property management companies of vacant and abandoned properties within the Township and encourages owners, mortgagees and property management companies to maintain and secure such property through registration and compliance with the Township Code and this Part.
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance superseded former Part 2, Registration, Maintenance and Security of Abandoned Real Property, adopted by Ord. 11-14, 10/13/2011.
[Ord. No. 19-04, 7/25/2019]
1. 
The following words, terms and phrases, when used in these sections, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
ABANDONED REAL PROPERTY
Any property that is vacant or is subject to a mortgage lender and in default, under a current notice of default or notice of mortgagee's sale, pending tax claim sale or vacant properties that have been the subject of a foreclosure sale where the title was retained by the beneficiary of a mortgage involved in the foreclosure and any properties transferred under a deed in lieu of foreclosure or sale.
DEFAULT
The mortgagor has not complied with the terms of the mortgage on the property, or the promissory note, or other evidence of the debt, referenced in the mortgage.
ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
Any building official, zoning inspector, code enforcement officer, health officer, fire inspector or building inspector employed by the Township.
EVIDENCE OF VACANCY
Any condition that on its own or combined with other conditions present would lead a reasonable person to believe that the property is vacant. Such conditions may include, but not be limited to, overgrown or dead vegetation, accumulation of abandoned real property, as defined herein, statements by neighbors, passersby, delivery agents or government agents, among other evidence that the property is vacant.
FORECLOSURE
The process by which a property, placed as security for a real estate loan, is sold at public sale to satisfy the debt if the borrower defaults.
MORTGAGE
A conveyance of title to property that is given as security for the payment of debt or the performance of a duty and that will become void upon payment or performance according to the stipulated terms.
MORTGAGEE
One to whom property is mortgaged or the mortgage creditor or lender.
MORTGAGEE IN POSSESSION
A mortgagee who takes control of mortgaged land by agreement with the mortgagor, usually upon default of the loan secured by the mortgage.
OWNER
Any person, agent, operator, firm or corporation having a legal or equitable interest in real property; or recorded in the official records of the commonwealth, county or Township as holding title to the property; or otherwise having control of the property, including the guardian of the estate of any such person, and the trustee, executor or administrator of the estate of such person if authorized by law to take possession of real property, or if ordered or authorized to take possession of real property by a court.
PERSON
An individual, corporation, partnership or any other group acting as a unit.
PROPERTY MANAGEMENT COMPANY
A property manager, property maintenance company or similar entity or individual responsible for the maintenance of abandoned real property.
REAL PROPERTY
Any residential or commercial land and/or buildings, leasehold improvements and anything affixed to the land, or portion thereof identified by a property parcel identification number, located within Township limits.
REGISTRABLE PROPERTY
Any real property located in the Township, whether vacant or occupied, that is encumbered by a mortgage in default, is subject to an ongoing foreclosure action by the mortgagee or trustee, has been the subject of a foreclosure action by a mortgagee or trustee and a judgement has been entered, or has been the subject of a foreclosure sale where the title was transferred to the beneficiary of a mortgage involved in the foreclosure and any properties transferred under a deed in lieu of foreclosure/sale. The designation of a "default/foreclosure" property as "registrable" shall remain in place until such time as the property is sold to a nonrelated bona fide purchaser in an arm's-length transaction or the foreclosure action has been dismissed and any default on the mortgage has been cured.
REGISTRY
A web-based electronic database of searchable real property records, used by the Township to allow mortgagees the opportunity to register properties and pay applicable fees as required in this Part.
SEMIANNUAL REGISTRATION
Six months from the date of the first action that requires registration, as determined by the Township, or its designee, and every subsequent six months the property is registrable. The date of the initial registration may be different than the date of the first action that required registration.
VACANT
Any building/structure that is not legally occupied.
[Ord. No. 19-04, 7/25/2019]
These sections shall be considered cumulative and not superseding or subject to any other law or provision for same, but shall rather be an additional remedy available to the Township above and beyond any other state, county or local provisions for the same.
[Ord. No. 19-04, 7/25/2019]
1. 
Any mortgagee who holds a mortgage on real property located within the Township shall, upon default by the mortgagor and prior to the issuance of a notice of default, perform an inspection of the property that is the security for the mortgage. If the property is found to be vacant or shows evidence of vacancy, it shall be deemed abandoned real property and the mortgagee shall, within 10 days of the inspection, register the property with the Township, or its designee, on forms provided by the Township or through a website designated by the Township. A registration is required for each property, whether vacant or occupied.
2. 
If the property is occupied but the mortgage on the property remains in default, the property shall be inspected by the mortgagee or his designee monthly until: 1) the mortgagor or other party remedies the default, or 2) it is found to be vacant or shows evidence of vacancy at which time it is deemed abandoned, and the mortgagee shall, within 10 days of that inspection, update the property registration to a vacancy status.
3. 
Registration pursuant to this section shall contain the name of the mortgagee and the servicer, the direct mailing address of both parties, a direct contact name and telephone number for both parties, a facsimile number and email address for both parties, the folio or tax number, and the name and twenty-four-hour contact phone number of the property management company responsible for the security and maintenance of the property.
4. 
This section shall also apply to properties that have been the subject of a foreclosure sale where the title was transferred to the beneficiary of a mortgage involved in the foreclosure and any properties transferred under a deed in lieu of foreclosure/sale.
5. 
At the time of initial registration, each registrant shall pay a nonrefundable semiannual registration fee as established in the Township Fee Schedule[1] and set by resolution of the Board of Commissioners, for each registrable property. Subsequent semiannual registrations of defaulted properties and fees are due within 10 days of the expiration of the previous registration. Said fees shall be used to offset the costs of: 1) registration and registration enforcement, 2) code enforcement and mitigation related to defaulted properties, 3) post-closing counseling and foreclosure intervention limited to owner-occupied persons in default, which may not include cash and mortgage modification assistance, and 4) for any related purposes as may be adopted in the policy set forth in this Part.
[1]
Editor's Note: The Fee Schedule is on file in the Township offices.
6. 
Each individual property on the registry that has been registered for 12 months or more prior to the effective date shall have 30 days to renew the registration and pay the semiannual registration fee. Properties registered less than 12 months prior to the effective date shall renew the registration every six months from the expiration of the original registration renewal date and shall pay the registration fee.
7. 
If the defaulted mortgage and/or servicing on a property is sold or transferred, the new mortgagee is subject to all the terms of this Part. Within 10 days of the transfer, the new mortgagee shall register the property or update the existing registration. The previous mortgagee(s) will not be released from the responsibility of paying all previous unpaid fees, fines, and penalties accrued during that mortgagee's involvement with the registrable property.
8. 
If the mortgagee sells or transfers the registrable property in a non-arm's-length transaction to a related entity or person, the transferee is subject to all the terms of this Part. Within 10 days of the transfer, the transferee shall register the property or update the existing registration. Any and all previous unpaid fees, fines, and penalties, regardless of who the mortgagee was at the time registration was required, including but not limited to unregistered periods during the foreclosure process, are the responsibility of the transferee and are due and payable with the updated registration. The previous mortgagee will not be released from the responsibility of paying all previous unpaid fees, fines, and penalties accrued during that mortgagee's involvement with the registrable property.
9. 
If the defaulted property is not registered, or the registration fee is not paid within 30 days of when the registration or renewal is required pursuant to this section, a late fee equivalent to 10% of the semiannual registration fee shall be charged for every thirty-day period, or portion thereof, the property remains unregistered and shall be due and payable with the registration.
10. 
Properties subject to this section shall remain under the registration requirement, security and maintenance standards of this section as long as they remain a registrable property.
11. 
Any person or corporation that has registered a property under this section must report any change of information contained in the registration in writing within 10 days of the change to the mortgagee or his designee.
[Ord. No. 19-04, 7/25/2019]
1. 
Properties subject to this section shall be kept free of weeds, overgrown brush or grass, dead vegetation, trash, junk, debris, building materials, any accumulation of newspapers, circulars, flyers, notices (except those required by federal, state, or local law), abandoned vehicles, portable storage devices, discarded personal items, including, but not limited to, furniture, clothing, large and small appliances, printed material or any other items that give the appearance that the property is abandoned.
2. 
A "secure manner" shall include, but not be limited to, the closure and locking of windows, doors, gates and other openings of such size that may allow a child to access the interior of the property or structure. Broken windows shall be secured by reglazing of the window.
3. 
If the property is owned by a corporation or mortgagee that is unable or unwilling to perform maintenance and inspections itself, the corporation or mortgagee shall contract with a property management company to perform biweekly inspections to verify compliance with the requirements of this section, and any other applicable laws.
4. 
The mortgagee shall inspect or have inspected the property on a biweekly basis to ensure that the property is in compliance with this section. Upon the request of the Township, the mortgagee shall provide a copy of the inspection reports to the Township Code Enforcement Department.
5. 
Failure of the mortgagee or property owner of record to properly maintain the property may result in a violation of the Township Code and issuance of a citation. Pursuant to a finding and determination by the Township's Code Enforcement Officer, the Township may take the necessary action to ensure compliance with this section.
[Ord. No. 19-04, 7/25/2019]
The Township, or its designee, shall have authority to require the mortgagee or owner of record of any property affected by this section to implement additional maintenance or security measures, including, but not limited to, securing any and all doors, windows or other openings, employment of an on-site security guard, or other measures as may be reasonably required to prevent a decline of the property.
[Ord. No. 19-04, 7/25/2019]
Any enforcement officer or any person authorized by the enforcement officer shall be immune from prosecution, civil or criminal, for reasonable, good-faith trespass upon real property while in the discharge of duties imposed by these sanctions.
[Ord. No. 19-04, 7/25/2019]
1. 
It shall be a violation of this Part to commit or permit any other person to commit any of the following acts;
A. 
To fail to perform any inspection or to register any property required by § 4-204 of this Part.
B. 
To fail to pay a registration fee in the amount established in the Township Fee Schedule[1] and set by resolution of the Board of Commissioners pursuant to § 4-204, Subsection 5, of this Part.
[1]
Editor's Note: The Fee Schedule is on file in the Township offices.
C. 
To fail to maintain property as required under § 4-204 of this Part.
D. 
To fail to perform the inspection and maintenance relating to properties so that they are maintained in a secure manner pursuant to the provisions of § 4-205 of this Part.
E. 
To refuse to permit inspections required under this Part.
F. 
To place any false information on or to omit relevant information from an application for registration provided pursuant to this Part.
G. 
To fail or refuse to comply with any other provision of this Part.
2. 
Penalties and Remedies.
A. 
Any person who shall violate any of the provisions of this Part shall be guilty of a summary offense and, upon conviction thereof before a District Magistrate, shall be sentenced to pay a fine of $500 and the cost of prosecution for each and every offense, and in default of payment thereof, shall be sentenced to imprisonment in Dauphin County Prison for not more than 30 days. Each violation and each day of violation shall constitute a separate offense.
B. 
In addition to prosecution of the persons violating this Part, a Susquehanna Township Enforcement Officer or any other duly authorized agent of the Township may bring such civil or equitable actions, seeking civil or equitable remedies, and any appropriate court of record of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, against any persons and/or property, real or personal, to effect the provisions of this Part. The remedies and procedures of this Part are not intended to supplant or replace, to any degree, the remedies provided to the Township in the Township Building Code, Property Maintenance Code, Uniform Construction Code, Zoning Ordinance, or any other Township code, ordinance or resolution.
1. 
Any person aggrieved by the action of the Township or its designee relevant to the provisions of this Part may appeal to the Capital Region UCC Joint Appeals Board within 30 days of that action.
2. 
Any person aggrieved by any decision of the Township or the Capital Region UCC Joint Appeals Board relevant to the provisions of this Part may appeal to the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas within 30 days of the decision.