[Adopted 11-27-2012 by Ord. No. 1208; amended 4-23-2013 by dfOrd. No. 1215]
This article shall be known as the "Borough of Brentwood Rental Property Registration Ordinance."
It is the purpose of this article and the policy of the Borough of Brentwood, in order to protect and promote the public health, safety and welfare of its citizens, to establish the rights and obligations of owners and occupants relating to commercial rental properties and the rental of certain residential rental units in the Borough of Brentwood and to encourage owners and occupants to maintain and improve the quality of commercial rental properties and rental housing within the community. It is also the policy of the Borough that owners, managers and occupants share responsibilities to obey the various codes adopted to protect and promote public health, safety and welfare. As a means to those ends, this article provides for a system of inspections, issuance and renewal of rental property licenses and rental unit registrations, and it sets penalties for violations. This article shall be liberally construed and applied to promote its purposes and policies. In considering the adoption of this article, the Borough of Brentwood makes the following findings:
In recent years, many formerly private homes, or portions thereof, have been converted into residential rental units. Those units have often been rented to individuals who, because they have no ownership interest in the property, have allowed the property to deteriorate. In many cases, the owners of the properties live long distances from the Borough of Brentwood. As a result, property maintenance of many residential rental units in the Borough of Brentwood has been somewhat lax. In addition, problems have occurred because many tenants, because they have no ownership interest in the real estate, have not been concerned about following codes of the Borough of Brentwood, including codes which govern property maintenance and the safety of property. This, in turn, has caused problems for other homeowners near the rental units. In addition, there is a greater incidence of violation of various codes of the Borough of Brentwood in residential rental properties where owners rent properties to tenants.
Further, in recent years, many properties, or portions thereof, have been leased to commercial establishments. These commercial rental units have often been rented to individuals, corporations, associations, partnerships and/or other entities who, because they/it have/has no ownership interest in the property, have/has allowed the property to deteriorate. In many cases, the owners of the properties live long distances from the Borough of Brentwood. As a result, property maintenance of many commercial rental units in the Borough of Brentwood has been somewhat lax. In addition, problems have occurred because many tenants, because they have no ownership interest in the real estate, have not been concerned about following codes of the Borough of Brentwood, including codes which govern property maintenance and the safety of property. This, in turn, has caused problems for property owners near the rental units. In addition, there is a greater incidence of violation of various codes of the Borough of Brentwood in commercial rental properties where owners rent properties to tenants.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- AGENT or REPRESENTATIVE
- A person who shall have charge, care or control of any structure as owner, or as agent of the owner, or as executor, administrator, trustee or guardian of the estate of the owner. Any such person representing the actual owner shall be bound to comply with the provisions of this article to the same extent as if that person was the owner.
- The owner, buyer or agent thereof, such as but not limited to a realtor, broker, etc., who shall have control, authority and responsibility for the orderly processing of any property regulated by this article.
- The Borough of Brentwood, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.
- BOROUGH PROPERTY MAINTENANCE CODE
- Any state or local code adopted, enacted and in effect in and for the Borough of Brentwood relating to or concerning the fitness for habitation, construction, maintenance, operation, use or appearance of any premises or dwelling unit.
- BOROUGH ZONING CODE
- Any local ordinance adopted, enacted, and in effect in and for the Borough of Brentwood related to or concerning the regulations for the use of land and structures, the area of lots, the bulk of buildings or other structures, the density of population, the provision of off-street parking and loading spaces, and similar accessory regulations.
- Any structure occupied or intended for supporting or sheltering any occupancy. For application of this article, each portion of a building which is completely separated from other portions by fire walls complying with the Building Code shall be considered as a separate building.
- CODE DEPARTMENT
- The department charged with the Building Code and the Borough Property Maintenance Code for the Borough.
- CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
- The Building Inspector/Director of Code Enforcement or person designated by him/her charged with the administration and enforcement of this article.
- COMMON AREA
- Space which is not part of the rental unit and which is shared with other occupants of a building, whether they reside at or occupy the rental unit or not. Common areas shall be considered part of the premises for the purpose of this article.
- The purpose for which a building, or portion thereof, is used.
- A natural person, partnership, corporation, unincorporated association, limited partnership, trust, or any other entity in which is vested all or part of the legal title to the rental unit.
- OWNER-OCCUPIED PORTIONS OF RENTAL PROPERTIES
- Areas or portions of a rental property that are used or occupied primarily by the property owner.
- RENTAL LICENSE
- A document issued by the Borough of Brentwood to the owner, operator, or responsible agent of a rental unit upon correction of all applicable code violations and payment of all applicable fees granting permission to operate the rental unit in the Borough of Brentwood.
- RENTAL UNIT
- Any commercial unit, rooming unit or dwelling let or leased for rent, and any other-than-owner-occupied commercial or residential unit, except as outlined in § 163-12 herein.
- RENTAL UNIT REGISTRATION
- A document issued annually by the Borough of Brentwood to the owner, operator, or responsible agent of a rental unit evidencing the existence of said rental unit and documenting the occupants thereof.
- Any individual residing or stopping in the Borough of Brentwood for less than 30 days at one time.
- UNFIT FOR HUMAN HABITATION
- Denotes whenever the Building Code Official finds that a unit is unsafe, unlawful or uninhabitable because of the degree to which the structure is in disrepair or lacks maintenance, is unsanitary, is vermin or rat infested, contains filth and contamination, or lacks ventilation, illumination, sanitary or heating facilities or other essential equipment required by the Borough Property Maintenance Code.
It shall be unlawful for any owner to lease, rent, occupy, or otherwise allow any rental unit in the Borough of Brentwood to be occupied, unless a rental unit registration has been issued by the Building Code Official.
Every owner of a rental unit shall file with the Building Code Official, within 45 days after the adoption of this article, or, for new rental property, within 30 days of commencement of use as rental property, a written registration statement on forms to be supplied by the Borough containing the following information:
A description of the rental unit by street number, tax ID parcel number and apartment number or other indicia sufficient to distinguish the rental unit from all others.
The name, address, and telephone number of the owner, if said owner is an individual. If the owner is a corporation, the registration statement shall provide the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all officers and directors of the corporation. If the owner is a trust, partnership, or any other form of unincorporated association, the registration statement shall provide the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all partners or principals with an interest of 10% or greater.
The names and telephone numbers of each tenant or occupant 18 years of age or older.
By March 1 of each calendar year the owner, operator, or responsible agent of each rental unit shall continue to apply for a rental unit registration and shall pay in full the required annual fee at the rate set by Council as designated in the Borough Fee Schedule.
The owner shall notify the Borough of changes to the tenant or occupant listing within 10 days of such change by submitting updated names and telephone numbers on the form prepared and provided by the Borough. In so doing, the owner shall notify the Borough of the name of the tenant or occupant who is no longer residing at or occupying the rental unit.
This rental unit registration does not warrant the habitability, safety or condition of the rental unit in any way.
A rental unit registration shall not be transferred. In the case of registered rental units that are sold, transferred or constructed, the new owner shall seek a rental unit registration for each unit purchased or acquired. Failure of the new owner to seek a new rental unit registration for each rental unit within 30 days of the date of sale or transfer of ownership shall result in proceedings per § 163-16.
Each property owner who is not an owner-occupant or who does not live in Allegheny County or an adjacent county shall appoint a natural person, 21 years of age or older, who shall live in Allegheny County or an adjacent county, as a responsible agent. If the owner is a corporation, a responsible agent shall be required if an officer of the corporation does not reside in the aforesaid area. The officer shall perform the same function as a responsible agent. If the owner is a partnership, a responsible agent shall be required if a partner does not reside in the aforesaid area. Said partner shall perform the same function as a responsible agent. For the purposes of this section, a post office box is not an acceptable address for an owner or responsible agent.
The agent shall be accessible for service of process and receiving of notices and demands, as well as performing the obligations of the owner under this article and under rental agreements with the occupants.
No license shall be issued to any owner not a resident in Allegheny County or an adjacent county for a rental unit unless such owner or operator provides the Building Code Official with the name, address and telephone number of an appointed agent.
If the name, address, or telephone number of the responsible agent changes during the course of any calendar year, it is the responsibility of the owner, responsible party or agent for the same to contact the Building Code Official within 15 days of the occurrence of such change and advise the department in writing of those changes.
The designation of responsible agent shall not be valid unless signed by both the owner and the responsible agent.
It shall be unlawful for any owner to lease, rent, occupy, or otherwise allow any rental unit in the Borough of Brentwood to be occupied, unless a rental license has been issued by the Building Code Official.
A rental license shall not be issued or renewed until:
All overdue real estate taxes and water, sewage and other outstanding fees that are owed to the Borough of Brentwood have been paid in full.
The owner has fully provided the required registration information, including the appointment of a responsible agent if required.
The rental unit has been inspected by the Building Code Official and has been deemed to be compliant with the Borough Property Maintenance Code.
Each rental license shall have a five-year term.
Each application for a rental license shall consent to an initial inspection by the Building Code Official. Upon inspection, if the Building Code Official determines that the rental unit complies with the Borough Property Maintenance Code and all fees have been paid, the Building Code Official shall issue to the applicant a rental license.
Each rental unit is required to have a minimum of one inspection every five years. These periodic inspections shall occur notwithstanding more frequent inspections which may be required in the investigation of complaints regarding the rental unit.
If the rental unit fails to comply with the provisions of the Borough Property Maintenance Code, the Building Code Official shall notify the applicant in writing of the deficiencies within 10 days of the inspection. The owner shall be given 30 days from the date of the notice to schedule a second inspection. If an inspection has not been scheduled within the given time frame, the license shall not be issued.
If the Building Code Official is required to make additional inspections beyond the initial inspection and initial reinspection as outlined in Subsection C, then those inspections shall be performed at the rate of $70 per unit. In no event shall the inspection process exceed 120 days from the date of the initial inspection.
If an owner or his responsible agent cannot be available at the proposed time, said owner or representative shall provide no less than twenty-four-hour written notice to the Building Code Official. Upon failure to give such written notice or upon failure to gain entry, an administrative fee of $150 will be assessed against the owner failing to supply written notice or appear.
For buildings under construction or rehabilitation that have obtained a building permit to perform approved construction, the fee and inspection requirements will be suspended until the building permit is closed by the Building Code Official or the building permit expires. The rental units must be in compliance with the rental unit registration requirements to meet this exemption.
[Amended 3-24-2014 by Ord. No. 1221]
The Building Code Official is authorized to revoke a rental license under the following conditions:
A rental unit has become noncompliant with the Borough Property Maintenance Code, and the owner or agent fails to remedy the violation within the time frame specified within the applicable code, or, if a written extension is received from the Building Code Official, fails to remedy the violation within the time frame specified in the extension document.
The owner fails to provide all required documentation and pay all fees as required for rental registration.
Upon notification of overdue real estate taxes, water, sewage, or other outstanding fees that are owed to the Borough of Brentwood, the owner fails to pay in full said fees, or fails to enter into an authorized payment plan and meet the conditions set forth in said payment plan.
If the rental unit is occupied at the time that the rental license is revoked, it shall be vacated within 30 days, and it shall remain vacant until the rental license is reinstated. If the rental unit is vacant at the time that the rental license is revoked, it shall remain vacant until the rental license is reinstated.
[Amended 3-24-2014 by Ord. No. 1221]
If the Building Code Official finds, upon inspection, one of the following Borough Property Maintenance Code violations, and the owner or agent fails to remedy the violation within the time frame specified within the applicable code, then the rental license shall be revoked, and the rental unit shall be declared unfit for human habitation and ordered vacant and shall remain vacant until the violation is abated.
Unsafe structures and equipment, Section 108.
Rodent harborage, Section 302.5.
Roofs and drainage, Section 304.7.
Windows, skylights, and door frames, Section 304.13.
Building security, Section 304.18.
Ventilation, Section 403.
Occupancy limitations, Section 404.
Required facilities, Section 502.
Plumbing system hazards, Section 504.3.
Heating facilities, Section 602.
Electrical system hazards, Section 604.3.
Means of egress, Section 702.
Fire protection systems, Section 704.
If the Building Code Official determines a rental unit to be noncompliant with any provision outlined in § 163-8, except those separately defined above in Subsection A, and said violation has not been remedied within 30 days, then the Building Code Official has the option to issue a thirty-day legal action warning. The thirty-day legal action warning shall be delivered by certified mail, return receipt requested.
If after 30 days from the receipt of the thirty-day legal action warning, a reinspection reveals that all violations have not been corrected, the rental license shall be revoked.
Any owner whose rental license has been revoked or whose application for a rental unit has been denied may appeal within 20 days, after paying the applicable fee, to the Rental Property Board of Appeals.
If the owner is attempting in good faith to correct violations but is unable to do so within the time specified in the notice, the owner shall have the right to request such additional time as may be needed to complete correction work, which request shall not be unreasonably withheld.
The Building Code Official, when recommending revocation of the rental license as an appropriate sanction, and the Borough of Brentwood, when applying said sanction, shall consider the following:
The effect of the violation on the health, safety and welfare of the occupants of the rental unit.
The effect of the violation on the neighborhood.
Whether the owner has prior violations of this article and other ordinances of the Borough or has received notices of violations as provided for in this article.
Whether the owner has been subject to sanctions under this article.
The effect of sanctions against the owner on the occupants.
The action taken by the owner to remedy the violation and to prevent future violations, including any written plan submitted by the owner.
The registration and licensing provisions of this article shall not apply to the following:
Owner-occupied residential units, provided that not more than two unrelated individuals, in addition to the owner and his/her relatives, occupy the unit at any given time.
Owner-occupied commercial units, but not those units in an otherwise owner-occupied property that are rented to commercial or residential tenants.
Hotels and motels used for transient visitors to the area, but without units that serve the same purposes as rooming house units.
Hospitals, nursing homes, and personal care homes operating under state license.
Single-family dwellings where a parent, parent-in-law or adult child of the owner remains in occupancy and no net income is earned by the owner.
Property owned by the Housing Authority of Allegheny County.
Each owner or responsible agent shall display the rental license in the rental unit for which it was issued. The rental license shall include, at a minimum, the following information:
In addition to the information on the rental license, the following information shall also be posted in each rental unit:
All owners shall be required to obtain a minimum of $50,000 in general liability insurance, and hazard and casualty insurance. In the event of any fire or loss covered by the insurance, the proceeds of any policy of insurance shall be utilized to cause the repair or demolition of the property in according with all applicable Borough ordinances.
All owners shall be required to place their insurance company name, policy number and policy expiration date on their rental unit registration form, or, in the alternative, to provide the Building Code Official with a copy of a certificate of insurance. A rental unit registration shall not be issued unless insurance information is provided to the Building Code Official.
Nothing in this article shall be construed to abridge or alter the remedies now existing at common law or by statute, but the provisions of this article are in addition to such remedies. In interpreting and applying the provisions of this article, they shall be held to be the minimum requirements for the promotion of the public health, safety, morals and general welfare. Where the provisions of this article impose greater restrictions than those of any other ordinance or regulation, the provisions of this article shall control. Where the provisions of any statute, other ordinance or regulation impose greater restrictions than this article, the provisions of such statute, other ordinance or regulation shall control.
[Amended 5-26-2015 by Ord. No. 1238]
It shall be unlawful for any owner to commit or to permit any person to commit any of the following acts:
Operation of a rental unit for which a rental license is required without a valid, current rental license issued by the Borough authorizing such operation.
Failure to complete a rental unit registration as required by this article.
Refusal to permit inspection of a rental unit as required by this article.
Failure to vacate a unit that is deemed by the Building Code Official to be unfit for human habitation under the provisions outlined in this article.
The following penalties shall be assessed for violations of this article:
Unlawful operation of a rental unit without a valid rental unit registration and rental license shall constitute a summary offense punishable upon conviction thereof by a fine of not less than $500 and not more than $1,000, plus court costs and reasonable attorney fees incurred by the Borough in the enforcement proceedings. Each month the violation exists shall constitute a separate and distinct offense.
Upon failure to complete a rental unit registration, the owner shall be issued a thirty-day notice of violation. If, after 30 days from the receipt of the thirty-day notice of violation, the applicant fails to register the unit and to pay in full the applicable fees, the owner shall be charged with a summary offense punishable upon conviction thereof by a fine of not less than $500 and not more than $1,000, plus court costs and reasonable attorney fees incurred by the Borough in the enforcement proceedings. Each month the violation exists shall constitute a separate and distinct offense.
Any owner who violates any other provision of this article shall, upon first or second conviction, be fined not less than $500 and not more than $1,000, plus court costs and reasonable attorney fees incurred by the Borough in the enforcement proceedings. For the third and subsequent violations, upon conviction, the owner will be fined not less than $1,000 and not more than $2,000, plus court costs and reasonable attorney fees incurred by the Borough in the enforcement proceedings. Each day the violation continues shall constitute a separate and distinct offense.
The remedies and procedures provided in this article for violation hereof are not intended to supplant or replace, to any degree, the remedies and procedures available to the Borough in the case of a violation of any other code or ordinance of the Borough, whether or not such other code or ordinance is referenced in this article and whether or not an ongoing violation of such other code or ordinance is cited as the underlying grounds for a finding of a violation of this article.