Township of Springfield, PA
Mercer County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Springfield as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 12-17-2001 by Ord. No. 3-2001]
The Township of Springfield has recognized the importance of rental properties in the Township as an affordable housing choice and as a result thereof, the Township is desirous of taking measures to ensure that dwelling units offered for rent within the Township are safe, healthful and habitable.
This article shall be known as the "Springfield Township Rental Licensing Ordinance."
The provisions of this article shall supplement local laws, ordinances or regulations existing in the Township or those of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Where a provision of this article is found to be in conflict with any provision of a local law, ordinance, code or regulation or those of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the provisions which are more restrictive or which establishes a higher standard shall prevail.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
DWELLING UNIT
A building or portion thereof containing one or more rooms for living purposes together with separate and exclusive cooking and sanitary facilities, accessible from the outdoors, either directly or through an entrance hall shared with other dwelling units, and used or intended to be used by one person, household or family.
LANDLORD
An owner, lessor, sublessor, person or persons or one who acts as an agent for the owner, lessor, sublessor, person or persons, of any parcel of real estate located in the Township of Springfield upon which a dwelling unit is located, and which said dwelling unit is one that is occupied or will or may be offered or made available for occupancy for consideration by a person or persons other than the owner of the dwelling unit.
PERSON
Any individual, partnership, association, firm, corporation, entity or estate.
TENANT
A person who has a right to occupy or use or is actually occupying or using, either by himself or with others, a dwelling unit owned by a person other than himself, for a period exceeding five days.
Within 90 days from the effective date of this article, every landlord, as defined herein shall submit to the Township Code Enforcement Officer a report form supplied by the Township, which includes the following information:
A. 
A list of the dwelling units owned by the landlord located within the Township, whether occupied or not occupied;
B. 
The address of each dwelling unit;
C. 
Whether or not said dwelling unit is occupied by a person and, if so, the name of the designated head of household and the names of all persons occupying said dwelling unit;
D. 
Whether the Department of Housing and Urban Development has qualified said dwelling unit for Section 8 designation.
After the effective date of this article, any person who becomes a landlord as defined herein of any dwelling unit located within the Township, by agreement of sale, land contract, deed or by any other means whatsoever, shall, within 30 days thereafter, report to the Township Code Enforcement Officer all of the information in § 305-5 above on forms to be provided by the Township.
After the effective date of this article, each and every landlord as defined herein of a dwelling unit within the Township shall report to the Code Enforcement Officer any changes in the use or occupancy of any dwelling unit. The reported change shall include the name or names of the new tenants and/or occupants of such dwelling unit and the date when such change was affected.
The Code Enforcement Officer shall:
A. 
Maintain a file at the Township office containing the names of landlords owning dwelling units in the Township. Said list shall contain the names of current tenants of every dwelling unit;
B. 
Maintain a supply of forms for landlords to use in making reports to the Code Enforcement Officer, as required above;
C. 
Supply the Wage Tax Collector with copies of the landlord/tenant lists.
A. 
No person and/or landlord shall allow a dwelling unit to be offered for occupancy by a person or persons other than the record owner of the dwelling unit unless he or she has obtained from the Township a license to offer such dwelling unit to said person or persons.
B. 
No owner, agent, lessor or other person shall hereafter rent, lease or let space be occupied by persons as a dwelling unit unless application for a license has been filed as set forth above. The Code Enforcement Officer shall thereafter inspect such premises in accord with the provisions set forth herein. Upon substantial compliance with the provisions of this article, the Code Enforcement Officer shall certify such premises as being suitable for occupancy. In the event that the Code Enforcement Officer denies certification, he or she shall state the reasons therefore in writing to the person filing such application within five working days after inspection of the premises.
A. 
Commencing January 2, 2002, and continuing on or before January 30 of each calendar year thereafter, every landlord as defined herein shall apply for a license for property he or she owns which is non-owner-occupied or may be made available for occupancy for a consideration by a person other than the owner. If the landlord as defined herein shall come in possession by any means whatsoever of property that is occupied by a person other than the owner on or after January 2 of any calendar year, then he shall make the application for a license as prescribed for and provided for herein within 30 days from the date that he or she comes into possession of said dwelling unit.
B. 
Every landlord or person applying for a license as provided for herein shall supply such information as contained herein and/or as required by the Township. Each applicant shall pay a license fee on or before January 30 of each calendar year in the amount set by resolution by the Township Board of Supervisors. Said amounts shall include all inspection fees.
C. 
Upon receipt of an application for a license, the Township shall immediately issue said license to operate within the Township as a landlord. However, upon acceptance of the license, the applicant shall be subject to the inspection provisions contained herein and shall comply with and satisfy all requirements of this article and any other requirements that the Township shall request and require of said applicant.
A. 
Upon the receipt of an application for a license or upon notice from a landlord as defined herein of a change in use or occupancy of a dwelling unit, the Township shall schedule the Code Enforcement Officer to inspect the dwelling unit as soon as conveniently possible. The Code Enforcement Officer shall certify to the Township that the dwelling unit is in compliance with this article. No license, however, shall be renewed the following year nor renewed for any change in use or occupancy of the dwelling unit nor may any tenant occupy a dwelling unit unless the inspection demonstrates that the dwelling unit is in compliance with this article.
B. 
The Code Enforcement Officer is hereby authorized and directed to make inspections to each dwelling unit in which the Township receives an application for a license or a report of changes of uses or occupancy to determine the condition of the dwelling units, rooms and premises of dwellings within the Township in order that he may perform such duties necessary for safeguarding the health and safety of the occupants of the dwellings and of the general public. Unless otherwise prevented by any provision of a local law, ordinance, code, regulation, or state or federal law, for the purpose of making such inspections, the Code Enforcement Officer is hereby authorized with reasonable advance notice to enter, examine and survey, during normal business hours, all dwellings, dwelling units, establishments and premises. The person in charge thereof, or otherwise having the authority to do so, shall give the Code Enforcement Officer free access to such dwelling unit and its premises at all reasonable times for the purposes of such inspection, examination and survey. In the event of a written lease, the owner shall incorporate therein a provision wherein the owner or his agent or employee shall have access to any part of the dwelling unit or its premises at all reasonable times with reasonable advance notice for the purposes of making such repairs or alterations that are necessary to affect compliance with the provisions of this article and with any lawful rule or regulation adopted by a lawful order issuing pursuant to the provisions of this article.
No persons shall occupy as a tenant nor shall an owner lease to another for occupancy any dwelling unit for the purpose of living, sleeping, cooking or eating therein which does not comply with the requirements of this article.
Each dwelling unit shall meet the following minimum standards:
A. 
Exterior requirements:
(1) 
Foundation and structure. The exterior of the dwelling unit shall be structurally sound so that it does not pose a threat to the health and safety of occupants and provides protection from the environment. The foundation should not have structural defects which show potential for collapse.
(2) 
Exterior surface.
(a) 
All exterior wall surfaces shall be free of holes, cracks or broken or rotten materials which could admit rain or dampness into interior portions of the structural or occupied spaces of the building.
(b) 
All exterior wall surfaces shall be maintained in a weathertight fashion and shall be properly coated to prevent deterioration. Chimneys shall be maintained structurally sound and safe.
(3) 
Windows. Each dwelling unit shall include at least one window which can be easily opened for ventilation. Windows shall have no defective glass, shall be weathertight and have locks.
(4) 
Doors. All exterior doors shall open and close easily, have no defective glass, have a workable lock capable of tightly securing the door and being easily opened from the inside without the use of keys. All exterior doors shall also be weathertight.
(5) 
Porches, decks, balconies. All exterior porches, decks, balconies, landings, etc., shall be in good repair and capable of serving their intended purpose. Those more than 30 inches above grade with more than three risers shall have guardrails or handrails. Hand or guardrails shall be firmly fastened and capable of bearing a normal load.
(6) 
Roofs. All roofs shall be watertight, free of holes, cracks or excessively worn surfaces. They shall provide protection from rain, moisture and other foreign elements seeping into the building.
(7) 
Storm drainage. Each structure shall have a system to remove and discharge roof water from the structure in an efficient manner that does not create a nuisance.
(8) 
Electrical systems. Where present, electrical systems shall be minimum 100 amp three-wire service. For dwelling units with electric service, each habitable space shall contain a minimum of two separate or remote receptacle outlets, or one receptacle and one working ceiling or wall-type light fixture. Every interior hallway, stairway, or bathroom shall also contain at least one permanently installed ceiling or wall-mounted fixture.
B. 
Heating systems. Each heating unit for a structure shall be in proper operational condition and be capable of heating habitable space to a minimum temperature of 65° F. during the period from October 1 to May 15. All fuel burning equipment shall be connected to an approved vent, flue or chimney.
C. 
Plumbing systems.
(1) 
Facilities.
(a) 
Each dwelling unit with hot and cold water under pressure shall have at least one flush toilet in a separate private room, at least one shower or tub with both hot and cold running water, and at least one fixed basin with hot and cold running water, all in proper working condition.
(b) 
Each kitchen with hot and cold water under pressure shall have at least one permanently installed kitchen sink with hot and cold running water. All water-bearing fixtures shall connect to an approved public or private disposal system.
(2) 
Sewage system. All plumbing fixtures shall be properly connected to either a public sewer system or an approved private sewage disposal system.
(3) 
Water heating. All water heating and storage equipment shall be in proper working order, and must have a temperature relief valve and discharge line.
(4) 
Water quality. The water supply shall be free from contamination and shall be properly connected to either a public water system, or an approved private water system.
D. 
Ventilation. Air circulation shall be by natural or mechanical means. Bathrooms not having windows shall be provided with a mechanical ventilation system which is capable of exhausting air to the outside.
E. 
Interior surfaces. Floors, walls, ceilings, windows, doors and other interior surfaces shall be in good, clean and sanitary condition. Peeling paint, cracked or loose plaster, decayed wood and other defective surface conditions shall be eliminated. Basements and crawl spaces shall be reasonably free from standing water and problems which can cause structural deterioration.
F. 
Stairs and open spaces.
(1) 
All interior stairs shall be in sound condition and good repair. Excessively worn, broken, warped or loose treads and risers shall be repaired. Every flight of stairs more than four risers high shall have at least one handrail on at least one side of the stairs, which is firmly fastened.
(2) 
Any open spaces in a structure including a landing, balcony or other living space more than 30 inches above the floor or grade below shall be equipped with a guardrail or other appropriate device which is firmly fastened.
G. 
Smoke detectors. Each individual dwelling unit shall be equipped with one functional smoke detector for each floor used for living or sleeping. Multiple dwelling units within a single structure and which have electric service shall supply interconnected smoke detector systems.
H. 
Safety. The dwelling unit shall afford all occupants with adequate security from the exterior and environment.
I. 
Egress. A safe, continuous, and unobstructed means of egress shall be provided from the interior of the dwelling to the exterior on a street or yard. All doors along this path shall be readily opened from the inside without the use of keys.
J. 
Sanitary condition. The structure and its equipment shall be maintained in a sanitary condition. Each structure shall have containers with covers for the storage of rubbish.
K. 
Rodents or vermin control. Any insects, Norway rats, (Rattus norwegicus) or black rats (Rattus rattus) in the structure or on the premises shall be exterminated and the structure shall be subsequently treated to be ratproof.
L. 
Site. The site shall be in a reasonably clean, safe and sanitary condition not posing a danger to public health and safety. There shall be no nuisances present and the site shall conform to all other Township ordinances.
The Code Enforcement Officer, under the authority of this article, shall, unless otherwise stated in this article, inspect every dwelling unit which the owner makes application to the Township pursuant to the terms prescribed herein. In the process of inspecting each dwelling unit as described herein, the Code Enforcement Officer shall use the forms provided by the Township. The Code Enforcement Officer shall complete each form in its entirety indicating whether each of the required rooms therein have passed or failed. If the rooms or dwelling unit has failed, the Code Enforcement Officer shall so indicate, in the space provided, the reasons why and what repairs, if necessary, will be needed in order to comply with the requirements herein. The Code Enforcement Officer shall, if the dwelling unit fails to pass inspection, reinspect the premises at the request of the owner or landlord and shall designate on the forms the date of final approval. The forms provided by the Township shall set forth the requirements of each and every dwelling unit and room therein that shall be inspected and the requirements necessary to receive certification by the Township for occupancy and compliance with this article.
Every license shall be displayed in a conspicuous place within the dwelling unit.
Each license shall remain in force and effect for one year from the date of issuance.
No license required by this article shall be transferable.
Whenever the Township determines that there exists any violation of this article, it shall serve notice as provided herein, and will notify the owner, landlord or agent, in writing, that unless the notice of violation is complied with, the dwelling unit license may be revoked. Said notice shall include a time of at least 20 days to correct described deficiencies. After the expiration of the time for compliance as stated on the notice of violation, a reinspection shall be made to determine compliance. If the violation has not been corrected and no appeal is pending, the Township shall revoke the license and in such event shall serve written notice upon the owner or landlord or their agent of such action.
A. 
Any person or landlord whose license has been revoked or whose application for a license to operate has been denied may appeal to the Township Appeals Board presently established by the Township of Springfield by filing a petition for appeal on the form provided by the Township within 20 days of the action or of the receipt by written notice of any decision or ruling which is being appealed.
B. 
The Appeals Board shall meet and conduct a hearing within 30 days of the receipt of an appeal. All hearings shall be public and all persons whose interest may be affected shall be given an opportunity to be heard. A record shall be kept of all evidence and testimony presented at the hearing. The records shall be by stenographic or other means.
C. 
All decisions of the Board shall be in writing and a copy of each decision shall be sent to the Appellant and to the Township. The Appeals Boards shall also retain in its file a copy of each decision, which files shall be available for inspection by the public. Each decision shall set forth fully the reasons for the decision of the Appeals Board and the findings of fact on which the decision was based.
D. 
Any person or persons aggrieved by any final order or decision of the Appeals Board may appeal such order or decision within 30 days to the Court of Common Pleas in accordance with, as far as practicable, the Rules of Civil Procedure of the Supreme Court regarding appeals from Administrative Agencies.
A. 
Any person, firm, entity or corporation who shall violate any provision of this article shall be guilty of a summary offense and, upon conviction thereof, be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $1,000, and/or be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of up to 30 days for each violation. Every day that a violation of this article continues shall constitute a separate offense. Further, any person who shall violate any provision of this article may have their license revoked and may not be eligible for the annual renewal of their license.
B. 
This article may be enforced, in addition to any penalties set forth herein or provided for under the law, by the Township in an action of equity in the Court of Common Pleas of Mercer County, Pennsylvania.
If any sentence, clause, section or part of this article is for any reason found to be unconstitutional, illegal or invalid, such unconstitutionality, illegality or invalidity shall not affect or impair any of the remaining provisions, sentences, clauses, sections or parts of this article.
This article shall become effective January 2, 2002.