[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the Township of Aleppo as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 3-15-2004 by Ord. No. 2004-3]
This article shall be known as the "Township of Aleppo Fire Escrow Ordinance."
This article is adopted to manage fire-blighted properties, to discourage the abandonment of properties, to prevent urban blight and deterioration and to discourage arson and related crimes in the Township of Aleppo.
In the construction of this article, the rules and definitions contained in this section shall be observed and applied, except when the context clearly indicates otherwise:
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- BUILDING INSPECTOR
- The person authorized to act as the Building Official, or any assistant to such person, who enforces the provisions of Chapter 400, Zoning, of the Code of the Township of Aleppo.
- FIRE DAMAGE
- Includes loss by explosion or lightning.
- INSURANCE COMPANY
- Includes any company, association or exchange authorized by the Insurance Commissioner to transact the business of insurance in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and empowered to issue policies of insurance against loss by the perils of fire or explosion.
- MUNICIPAL CERTIFICATION
- The certificate furnished to a named insured by the Township under this article.
- The Township of Aleppo.
- TOWNSHIP MANAGER
- The Manager of the Township of Aleppo.
- TOWNSHIP TREASURER
- The Treasurer of the Township of Aleppo.
Compliance with procedures. No insurance company, associations or exchange doing business in this commonwealth shall pay a claim of a named insured for fire damage to a structure located within the Township of Aleppo where the amount recoverable for the fire loss to the structure under all policies exceeds $5,000, unless the insurance company, association or exchange is furnished with a certificate pursuant to Subsection B of this section and unless there is compliance with the procedures set forth in Subsections C and D of this section.
Written request by named insured for certificate.
Issuance of certificate by Treasurer.
The Township Treasurer shall, upon the written request of the named insured specifying the tax description of the property and the date agreed upon by the insurance company, association or exchange and the named insured as the date of the receipts of a proof of loss of the claim, furnish the named insured with either of the following certificates specified in Subsection B(1)(a) and , which shall then be supplied by the named insured to the company, association or exchange:
No delinquent taxes or assessments. A certificate to the effect that, as of the date specified in the request, there are no delinquent taxes, assessments, penalties or user charges against the property and that, as of the date of the Treasurer's certificate, the Township has not certified any amount as total cost incurred by the Township for the removal, repair or securing of a building or other structure on the property; or
Delinquent taxes or assessments. A certificate and bill indicating the amount of delinquent taxes, assessments, penalties and user charges against the property as of the date specified in the request that have not been paid as of the date of the certificate and also indicating, as of the date of the Treasurer's certificate, the amount of the total costs, if any, certified to the Treasurer that have been incurred by the Township for the removal, repair or securing of a building or other structure on the property. For the purposes of this subsection, the Township shall certify to the Treasurer the total amount, if any, of such costs.
Administrative fee must accompany written request. All written requests by a named insured for a certificate shall be accompanied with a fee of $25 to cover the direct and indirect costs incurred by the Township in processing said request. The Township Commissioners may, from time to time by resolution, either increase or decrease said fee.
Receipt of certificate by insurance company.
Payment of claim to named insured. Upon the receipt of a certificate pursuant to Subsection B(1)(a) of this subsection, the insurance company, association or exchange shall pay the claim of the named insured in accordance with the policy terms, unless the loss agreed to between the named insured and the company, association or exchange equals or exceeds 60% of the aggregate limits of liability on all fire policies covering the building or other structure. In the case of such a loss, the insurance company, association or exchange, the insured property owner and the Township shall follow the procedures set forth in Subsections C and D of this section.
Payment of bill to Township. Upon the receipt of a certificate and bill pursuant to Subsection B(1)(a) of this subsection, the insurance company, association or exchange shall return the bill to the Treasurer and transfer to the Treasurer an amount from the insurance proceeds necessary to pay the taxes, assessments, penalties, charges and costs as shown on the bill. The Township shall receive the amount and apply or credit it to payment of the items shown in the bill.
Procedure when loss equals or exceeds 60% of aggregate limits of liability.
Payment to designated officer. When the loss agreed to between the named insured and the company, association or exchange equals or exceeds 60% of the aggregate limits of liability on all fire policies covering the building or other structure, the insurance company, association or exchange shall transfer from the insurance proceeds to the Manger of the Township in the aggregate $1,000 for each $20,000 and each fraction of that amount of a claim, or if, at the time of proof of loss agreed to between the named insured and the insurance company, association or exchange, the named insured has submitted a contractor's signed estimate of costs of removing, repairing or securing the building or other structure, the insurance company, association or exchange shall transfer from the insurance proceeds the amount specified in the estimate.
Designation of officer to receive insurance proceeds. The Manager of Aleppo Township shall receive all insurance proceeds and manage all escrow funds received under this article.
Pro rata transfer of proceeds. Transfer of proceeds shall be on a pro rata basis by all companies, associations or exchanges insuring the building or other structure.
Policy proceeds remaining. Policy proceeds remaining after the transfer to the Township shall be disbursed in accordance with the policy terms.
Contractor's estimate of repairs or removal. The named insured may submit a contractor's signed estimate of the costs of removing, repairing or securing the building or other structure after the transfer, and the Manger shall return the amount of the funds in excess of the estimate to the named insured if the Township has not commenced to remove, repair or secure the building or other structure.
Receipt of proceeds by Township.
Establishment of separate escrow funds. The Township Manager shall establish separate escrow funds to be held by the Township to carry out the purposes of this article.
Receipt of proceeds by the Township. Upon receipt of proceeds by the Township as authorized by this section, the Manager shall place the proceeds in a separate fund to be used solely as security against the total cost of removing, repairing or securing incurred by the Township.
Transferring of funds. When transferring the funds as required in Subsection C of this section, an insurance company, association or exchange shall provide the Township with the name and address of the named insured, whereupon the Township shall contact the named insured, certify that the proceeds have been received by the Township and notify the named insured that the procedures under this subsection shall be followed.
Inspection of property. After the named insured repairs, demolishes or secures the property, the Building Inspector shall inspect the property prior to the Township releasing any escrow funds. If the named insured properly repairs, demolishes or secures the property, the Building Inspector shall notify the Manager of such compliance. If the named insured fails to properly repair, demolish or secure the property, the Township may choose to do so, and the funds escrowed shall be applied to the Township's cost incurred.
Completion of repairs or removal without cost to the Township. The fund shall be returned to the named insured when repairs, removal or securing of the building or other structure have been completed and required proof received by the Manager if the Township has not incurred any costs for repairs, removal or securing.
Payment of costs to Township from fund when Township has incurred costs. If the Township has incurred costs for the repairs, removal or securing of the building or other structure, the costs shall be paid from the fund, and, if excess funds remain, the Township shall transfer the remaining funds to the named insured.
Insufficient funds to pay Township costs. Nothing in this article shall be construed to limit the ability of the Township to recover any deficiency.
Other reasonable dispositions permitted. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prohibit the Township and the named insured from entering into an agreement that permits the transfer of funds to the named insured if some other reasonable disposition of the damaged property has been negotiated.
Discharge of insurance obligation. Proof of payment by the insurance company, association or exchange of proceeds under a policy in accordance with Subsection C of this section is conclusive evidence of this discharge of its obligation to the insured under the policy to the extent of the payment and of compliance by the company, association or exchange with Subsection C of this section.
No additional obligations created. Nothing in this article shall be construed to make an insurance company, association or exchange liable for any amount in excess of proceeds payable under its insurance policy or for any other act performed pursuant to this article or to make the Township or public official an insured under a policy of insurance or to create an obligation to pay delinquent property taxes or unpaid removal liens or expenses other than as provided in this article.
Full benefits of payment. An insurance company, association or exchange making payment of policy proceeds under this article for delinquent taxes or structure removal liens or removal expenses incurred by the Township shall have a full benefit of such payment, including all rights of subrogation and of assignment.
Liberal construction. This article shall be liberally construed to accomplish its purpose to deter the commission of arson and related crimes, to discourage the abandonment of property and to prevent urban blight and deterioration.
Any person, partnership or corporation who violates any of the provisions of this article shall, upon conviction in a summary proceeding, be fined not less than $300 and, in default of the payment of the fine and costs, shall be committed to the Allegheny County Jail for a period not to exceed 30 days. Nothing contained herein shall be deemed to preclude the Township to seek other relief or avail itself of any remedy that may be at law or in equity to prevent continuing violations of the terms of this article.