Borough of Folcroft, PA
Delaware County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Folcroft as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Blighted and vacant properties — See Ch. 453.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 457.
[Adopted 11-22-2005 by Ord. No. 973 (Ch. 11, Part 1, of the 2006 Code of Ordinances)]
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
APPLICABLE BOROUGH PARTY
An individual or party assigned a specific task. Example: Scheduling of use and occupancy inspections or mailing of citations.
APPROPRIATE AGENT(S)
An appointment of any compilation of building code officials, property maintenance officials, deputies and assistants of building code and property maintenance officials and certified third-party agents that are charged with enforcement of the Borough of Folcroft's applicably adopted property maintenance code, building code and other codes deemed to provide for public safety.
REASONABLE TIME
A period of time that the building code official, Building Inspector or appropriate agent deems reasonable for the completion of any actions to remedy a violation. For example, a homeowner cannot be reasonably held to complete sidewalk repairs during the winter months, nor should a homeowner be given extended time to repaint the exterior portion of a window in the summer.
[Amended 11-21-2006 by Ord. No. 990]
The Borough Council of the Borough of Folcroft shall appoint building code officials, property maintenance officials, such deputies and assistants, and certified third-party agents or organizations [hereby named "appropriate agent(s)"] that are certified to carry out and enforce the provisions of this article. Such positions may be combined with another position or positions established in the Borough. In order to determine compliance with and enforce the provisions of this article, the following shall apply:
A. 
Issuance of certificates of occupancy.
(1) 
Every person, firm, corporation, or any other type of entity owning, managing, conducting or operating a dwelling unit and/or rooming unit, shall not rent, lease, let out, or permit the same to be occupied without first applying for and securing the following:
(a) 
An annual certificate of occupancy for each occupied and vacant dwelling unit(s) issued pursuant to the provisions of this article and other applicable ordinances, rules and regulations enacted by the Borough Council.
(b) 
The above requirement shall not apply to a residential, owner-occupied individual dwelling unit.
(c) 
A certificate of occupancy shall be required whenever there is a change in ownership in any residential owner-occupied structure.
(2) 
The appropriate agent(s) are hereby authorized and directed to process all applications for certificates of occupancy and, prior to the issuance of same, to determine, by inspection if necessary, that all the requirements of this article and/or any other applicable ordinances and rules and regulations enacted by the Borough Council have been met. All other requirements refer to the Uniform Construction Code and any referenced or cross-referenced section, language or regulation therein. The fee for the application and issuance of any certificate of occupancy [as well as any fee for reinspection(s) of properties] shall be set from time to time at the discretion of Borough Council by resolution.
(3) 
The fee for inspection shall be filed with the application for a certificate of occupancy.
B. 
The owner and the operator of any dwelling unit which has been rented, leased or let out or re-rented during any calendar year shall, on or before March 15 of the following year, file a list with the Borough Secretary or individual(s) assigned maintenance of the listing of units, setting forth the number of units occupied as of December 31 of the reporting year and the names of the tenants thereof.
C. 
Inspection and access to dwellings. The appropriate agent(s) is hereby authorized and directed to make inspections of the conditions of rental dwellings, multiple dwelling units, rooming units and other structures located in the Borough of Folcroft. Upon display of proper identification, the inspector is authorized to enter, examine and survey such units and premises on weekdays between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. or at such other time as may be necessary in an emergency or as mutually agreed upon by the occupant and the appropriate agent(s) or applicable Borough party responsible for scheduling of appointments. Failure to allow for entry into premises for inspection and failure to notify the applicable agent or appropriate Borough party within 48 hours of a requested inspection will result in a fine as established by Borough resolution.
(1) 
In the event a mutually agreeable date and time cannot be agreed to, the applicable agent(s) or applicable Borough party are authorized to select the date and time for the inspection. The inspection date and time shall be confirmed by a certified notice of inspection letter, return receipt requested, sent via U.S. mail and addressed to the last known mailing address of the property owner or manager. The inspection date and time shall also be confirmed by a notice of inspection letter sent via regular U.S. mail and addressed to the last known mailing address of the property owner or manager. In no event shall an inspection be scheduled any sooner than 14 days from the date upon which the notice letter was mailed.
(2) 
If the subject property is not made available for inspection on the inspection date confirmed in accordance with either of the foregoing provisions and in the event the property owner or manager and the appropriate Borough party [or his agent(s)] have not rescheduled the inspection within 10 days of the confirmed inspection date, any previously issued certificate of occupancy for the subject dwelling unit shall be revoked by the housing officer and/or his agent(s).
(3) 
In the event any person, firm, corporation, or any other type of entity owning, managing, conducting or operating a dwelling unit and/or rooming unit fails to apply for and obtain an annual certificate of occupancy as required by this article, in addition to any other remedies provided for by this article, the appropriate agent(s) are hereby empowered and authorized to issue a citation to any and/or each of the aforementioned persons, firms, corporations, or any other type of entity owning, managing, conducting or operating a dwelling unit and/or rooming unit and, upon conviction thereof, shall be sentenced to a fine of not less than $200 nor more than $1,000 plus costs and reasonable attorney's fees and, in default of payment of said fine and costs, to a term of imprisonment not to exceed 30 days. Each day there exists a violation of this article shall constitute a separate violation, and the housing officer and/or his agent(s) may, at their discretion, issue a separate citation for each such individual violation.
D. 
Access for repairs. Every occupant of a rental dwelling unit or rooming unit shall grant to the owner or his agent(s) or employees free access to it at reasonable times for the purpose of making repairs or alterations to effect compliance with this article.
E. 
Notice of violation.
(1) 
When the appropriate agent(s) determines that there exists a violation of any provision of this article, he shall serve written notice of such violation on the person or persons responsible therefor, as hereinafter provided:
(2) 
Such notice shall:
(a) 
Be put in writing.
(b) 
Include a statement of the reasons why it is being issued.
(c) 
Allow a reasonable time for the performance of any act it requires.
(d) 
Be served upon the owner or his agent(s) or upon the occupant, as the case may require; provided that such notice shall be deemed to be properly served upon such person if a copy thereof is sent by registered or certified mail to his last known address or if he is served by any other method authorized or required under the laws of this state.
(3) 
Such notice may contain an outline of remedial action which, if taken, will effect compliance with the provisions of this article and with rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto.
F. 
Appeals from notice of violation. Any person affected by any notice which has been issued in connection with the enforcement of any provision of this article or of any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto may request and shall be granted a hearing on the matter before the Borough Council of Folcroft or a committee appointed by the Borough Council; provided, that such person shall file in the office of the housing officer a written petition requesting such hearing and setting forth a brief statement of the grounds therefor within seven days after the day the notice was served. Upon receipt of such petition, the Borough Council or its appointed committee shall set a time and place for such hearing and shall give petitioner written notice thereof. At such hearing, the petitioner shall be given an opportunity to be heard and to show why such notice should be modified or withdrawn. The hearing shall be commenced not later than seven days after the day on which the petition was filed. After the hearing, the Borough Council or its appointed committee may sustain, modify or withdraw the notice of the violation on the basis of the findings at the hearing and shall give petitioner written notice thereof. Such proceedings shall be summarized in writing and shall become a matter of public record in the office of the housing officer. Such record shall also include a copy of every notice or order issued in connection with the matter. If the appointed committee hears the petitioner and makes a decision which the petitioner rejects, the petitioner shall have the right to appeal to the entire Borough Council within seven days of receiving the notice, asking the entire Borough Council to hear the case and make the ruling. Any person aggrieved by the decision of the Borough Council may seek relief therefrom in any court of competent jurisdiction, as provided by the laws of this state.
G. 
Effective date of notice of violation. Any notice served pursuant to Subsection E shall automatically become an order if a written petition is not filed in the office of the appropriate agent(s) or applicable Borough party within seven days after such notice is filed.
H. 
Emergency action. Whenever the appropriate agent(s) finds that there exists any violation of this article which creates an emergency requiring immediate correction to protect the health or safety of any occupant of a rental dwelling or the public, he may issue an order reciting the existence of such an emergency and requiring that such action be taken as he deems necessary to meet the emergency. Notwithstanding the other provisions of this article, such order shall be effective immediately. Any person to whom such order is directed shall comply therewith immediately but, upon petition to the Borough Council, shall be afforded a hearing as soon as possible. After such hearing, depending upon the findings of the Council as to whether the provisions of this article and of the rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto have been complied with, the appropriate agent(s) shall continue such order in effect, or modify it, or revoke it.
I. 
Dwelling units unfit for human habitation. Whenever the appropriate agent(s) finds that a rental dwelling unit constitutes a serious hazard to the health or safety of the occupants or to the public because it is dilapidated, unsanitary, vermin-infested, rodent-infested or lacking in basic facilities and equipment required by this article, he shall designate such dwelling unit as unfit for human habitation. Such designation shall be posted on the dwelling and shall specify the reason for such a finding. A notice of violation shall also be served in accordance with the provisions of Subsection E. Any dwelling unit so designated shall be vacated within a reasonable time as specified by the appropriate agent(s) and shall not again be used for human habitation until the hazard or violation has been eliminated or corrected and the housing officer has removed the designation and given written approval for occupancy. A report of any such closings must immediately be filed with the Borough Council.
J. 
Adoption of rules and regulations. The Borough Council is authorized to make and adopt such procedural rules as it may deem necessary for the proper enforcement of this article, provided that such procedural rules and regulations shall not be in conflict with the substantive provisions of this article. Such rules and regulations shall have the same force and effect as the provisions of this article, and the penalty for violation thereof shall be the same as the penalty for violation of the provisions of this article.
K. 
Abatement of violations. If a violation has not been corrected within the reasonable time designated for such compliance and the Borough Council or appropriate agent finds that the continuation of such violation constitutes a public nuisance or hazard, it may order the correction of such violation, using Borough funds or Borough personnel to accomplish such corrections, and may charge the cost thereof to the violator. It may collect such cost by lien and/or otherwise as may be authorized by the laws of this state.
L. 
Multiple inspections. If the owner, owner's representative responsible for making repairs, buyer or any other individual or organization does not complete the Borough-requested repairs by the third inspection, there shall be a fee for each reinspection as established by Borough Council from time to time by resolution.
M. 
Penalty for violations. Any person, firm, corporation, or any other type of entity who violates any provision of this article or any provision of any resolution, rule or regulation adopted by the Borough Council pursuant to authority granted by this article or fails to correct within a reasonable time [the determination of a reasonable time is in the sole discretion of the appropriate agent(s), but in no event shall be less than 20 days], the defects for which the dwelling or dwellings have been cited, upon conviction thereof, shall be sentenced to a fine of not less than $200 nor more than $1,000 plus costs and reasonable attorney's fees and, in default of payment of said fine and costs, to a term of imprisonment not to exceed 30 days.
[Adopted 11-21-2006 by Ord. No. 990 (Ch. 11, Part 3, of the 2006 Code of Ordinances)]
As used in this article, the following term shall have the meaning indicated:
REAL PROPERTY
Land and all things firmly attached and integrated equipment, anything growing on the land.
All resale of real property shall include a use and occupancy inspection (U & O) as established elsewhere in this Code. If a U & O is not obtained during the sale transaction, the buyer shall be liable to pay for an inspection even after the purchase of the property and shall pay the fee as established by Council to have the inspection completed. Any violations found in this inspection must be corrected. A private home inspection will not be permitted as an applicable inspection.