Township of Lower Merion, PA
Montgomery County
By using eCode360 you agree to be legally bound by the Terms of Use. If you do not agree to the Terms of Use, please do not use eCode360.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the Township of Lower Merion 7-17-1985 by Ord. No. 2082 (This ordinance also repealed former Ch. 92, Housing-Property Maintenance, adopted 9-17-1975 by Ord. No. 1748, as amended.); amended in its entirety 9-16-1987 by Ord. No. 3061. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Brush, grass and weeds — See Ch. 59.
Building construction — See Ch. 62.
Garbage and refuse — See Ch. 82.
Individual sewage disposal systems — See Ch. 90, Art. VII.
Littering — See Ch. 99.
Plumbing — See Ch. 115.
Security of buildings — See Ch. 123.
Sewers — See Ch. 126.
Zoning — See Ch. 155.
Fees — See Ch. A167.
[Amended 4-16-1997 by Ord. No. 3447; 6-16-2010 by Ord. No. 3918]
A certain document, three copies of which have been and are presently maintained on file in the office of the Secretary of the Township of Lower Merion, being marked and designated as "International Property Maintenance Code 2009" be and is adopted as the Property Maintenance Code of the Township of Lower Merion, creating a code of property maintenance regulations for the protection of public health, safety, and welfare as herein provided; and each and all of the regulations of the International Property Maintenance Code 2009, including Appendix A Boarding Standards, except as provided in § 92-2 are hereby referred to, adopted and made a part hereof as if fully set out in this chapter, with the additions, insertions, deletions, and changes, if any, outlined in § 92-2.
[Amended 8-3-1988 by Ord. No. 3104; 11-16-1994 by Ord. No. 3372; 12-21-1994 by Ord. No. 3775; 3-15-1995 by Ord. No. 3385; 4-16-1997 by Ord. No. 3447; 1-19-2002 by Ord. No. 3629; 1-19-2002 by Ord. No. 3631; 6-16-2010 by Ord. No. 3918]
A. 
In Section 101.1, insert "Township of Lower Merion."
B. 
In Section 103.5, insert "Fees and costs shall be paid to the Township as set forth in the Township Schedule of Fees, as adopted and amended from time to time by the Board of Commissioners."
C. 
Section 104.2 shall provide as follows:
104.2 Inspections. In order to perform his duties in safeguarding the health and safety of occupants of dwellings and of the general public, the Code Official or his duly authorized representative is hereby authorized and directed to investigate complaints alleging violations of this Code; and further it is deemed to be in the public interest for the Code Official, or his duly authorized representative, to conduct inspections, surveys, or examinations of areas when undue lapse of time has expired since the last official inspection of any such area or when the general condition of that area or the types of properties located within the area warrant inspection to determine the condition of dwellings, dwelling units, buildings, structures, apartments, apartment houses, and premises located within the Township of Lower Merion for those purposes of identifying, correcting, preventing, abating, and arresting the development of conditions which are hazardous to the public health and safety. The Code Official, or his duly authorized representative, is hereby authorized to conduct investigations, inspections, surveys and examinations to determine compliance with the provisions of the Code during all reasonable hours after presenting proper identification to the owner, agent, or tenant in charge thereof and after obtaining consent from the person in charge.
D. 
Section 104.3 shall provide as follows:
104.3 Right of entry. In the event said Code Official, or his duly authorized representative, is unable to obtain the consent of the owner, agent, or tenant in charge to investigate, inspect, examine or survey the dwelling, dwelling units, buildings, structures, apartments, apartment houses or premises, he shall obtain a warrant to inspect from the District Justice to conduct such investigation, inspection, examination, or survey by making application to the District Justice, stating by affidavit that he has been refused entry and that he has reason to believe based upon complaint that a violation of this Code exists, or that, pursuant to the authority under Section 104.3 hereof, he is conducting an inspection, examination or survey at this time because of a lapse of time since the last official inspection, examination or survey or because of the condition of the area in which the particular property to be inspected, examined or surveyed, provided that nothing in this section shall be constructed to prevent the entry of the Code Official, or his duly authorized representatives, at any time when an actual emergency exists which may involve potential danger to life or severe property damage.
E. 
Section 106.1 shall provide as follows:
106.1 Unlawful acts. It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to maintain any property or to erect, construct, alter, extend, repair, remove, demolish, use, permit the use of, occupy, or permit the occupancy of any structure or equipment regulated by this Code, or cause the same to be done, contrary to or in conflict with or in violation of any of the provisions of this Code.
F. 
Section 106.2 shall provide as follows:
106.2 Notice of violation. Whenever the Code Official observes an apparent or actual violation or has reasonable grounds to believe there is a violation of a provision of this Code or other codes or ordinances under the Code Official's jurisdiction, the Code Official shall prepare a written notice of violation. This notice may be by citation or may be a notice describing the condition deemed unsafe and specifying time limits for the required repairs or improvements to be made to render the building, structure or premises safe and secure. If the Code Official elects to proceed by citation, the citation shall be served as provided by the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure. If the Code Official elects to proceed by written notice, the written notice of violation of this Code shall be served upon the owner, a duly authorized agent or upon the occupant or other person responsible for the conditions under violation. Such notice of violation shall be served in any of the following manners: by delivering a copy of same to such person or persons by ordinary mail to the last known post office address, by delivering it in person or by delivering it to and leaving it in the possession of any person in charge of the premises, or by affixing a copy thereof in a conspicuous place at the entrance door or avenue of access; and such procedure shall be deemed the equivalent of personal notice.
G. 
Section 106.3 shall provide as follows:
106.3 Prosecution: In case any notice of violation is not promptly complied with, the Code Official shall proceed against the violator by citation or shall request the jurisdiction's legal representative to institute an appropriate action or proceeding at law to exact the penalty provided in Section 106.4. The Code Official shall also request the legal representative to proceed at law or in equity against the person responsible for the violation for the purpose of ordering that person:
1.
To restrain, correct or remove the violation or refrain from any further execution of work;
2.
To restrain or correct the erection, installation, or alteration of such structure;
3.
To require the removal of work in violation; or
4.
To prevent the occupation or use of the structure or part thereof erected, constructed, installed or altered in violation of, or not in compliance with, the provisions of this Code, or in violation of a plan or specifications under which an approval, permit or certificate was issued.
H. 
Section 106.4 shall provide as follows:
106.4 Penalty for violation. Any person who shall violate a provision of this Code or who shall fail to comply with any of the requirements thereof or who shall maintain property or use, erect, construct, alter, or repair a building or structure in violation of an approved plan or of a directive of the Code Official or of a permit or certificate issued under the provisions of this Code shall be liable upon the filing of a civil complaint to fines and penalties not exceeding $1,000, which fines and penalties may be collected by suit brought in the name of the Township of Lower Merion before any District Justice or recovered as such debts of a like amount are now by law recoverable. All fines and penalties collected for the violation of this Code shall be paid over to the Township Treasury. Each day that a violation continues shall be deemed a separate offense.
I. 
Sections 107.2 and 107.3 shall be deleted in their entirety.
J. 
Section 108.2 shall be amended to provide as follows:
108.2 Closing of vacant structures; removal of debris. If the structure or part thereof is vacant and unfit for human habitation, occupancy or use and is not in danger of structural collapse, or if debris is strewn about the premises, the Code Official shall be permitted to post a placard of condemnation on the premises and order the structure closed and/or the debris removed so it will not be an attractive nuisance to youngsters. The boarding standards can be found in Appendix A. Upon failure of the owner to close up the premises and/or remove the debris within the time specified in the order, the Code Official shall cause the structure to be closed and/or the debris removed through any available public agency, or by contract or arrangement by private persons, and the cost thereof shall be charged against the real estate upon which the structure is located or the debris found and shall be a lien upon such real estate.
K. 
Section 110.5 shall be inserted to provide as follows:
110.5 Removal of structures. Whenever the owner of a property fails to comply with a demolition order within the time period prescribed, the Code Official shall request the legal representative of the jurisdiction to institute an action at law or in equity against the property owner to obtain an order authorizing the Code Official to raze and remove such structure or contract for the razing and removal of such structure at the expense of the owner of the property. At the completion of such razing and removal, the jurisdiction's legal representative shall place a lien in the amount of the Township's costs against the property and may institute any proceedings in law or in equity to provide for the collection of the Township's costs.
L. 
Section 111, Means of Appeal, shall be deleted in its entirety.
M. 
A new Section 111.1, Appeals, shall be added to provide as follows:
111.1 Appeals: An appeal from any decision of the Director of Building Regulations may be taken to the Building and Planning Committee of the Board of Commissioners. Such appeal shall be made in writing within 10 days after such decision has been made. The appeal shall be verified by an affidavit and shall be filed with the Township Secretary. The appellant or his representative shall have the right to appear and be heard, if such right is requested in the written appeal. A prompt decision of such appeal shall be made by the Building and Planning Committee. In making a decision, the Building and Planning Committee may vary or modify any provision of this Code where there are practical difficulties in the way of executing the strict letter of the law so that the spirit of the law shall be observed, public safety secured, and substantial justice done. Such variation or modification shall be the minimum necessary in order to grant relief. Every action of the Building and Planning Committee on such appeals shall be by resolution, copies of which shall be certified to the Director of Building Regulations and the appellant.
N. 
Section 112 shall be deleted in its entirety.
O. 
A new Section 113, Licensing, shall be added to provide as follows:
SECTION 113
LICENSING
113.1 License required. No person, firm or corporation shall operate any residential rental unit or rooming house unless that person, firm or corporation holds a current operating license issued by the Department of Building Regulations and Permits for the specific residential rental unit or rooming house named therein. Such license shall be valid for a period of one year from its date of issuance, unless revoked, and shall be renewed for successive periods of one year. Licenses are not transferable.
113.2 Application. Applications for licenses to operate residential rental units or rooming houses and for renewal thereof shall be on forms provided by the Department of Building Regulations and Permits. Such forms shall set forth the owner's name and address, the number of residential rental units or rooming units, the name of the person, firm or corporation located in the Township responsible for the care and maintenance of the building and any other information which the Department of Building Regulations and Permits may require.
113.3 Revocation. A license may be revoked for any violation of the Property Maintenance Code or any other regulation of the Township of Lower Merion relating to the use and occupancy of improved real estate.
113.4 Residency requirement. A license will not be issued to or renewed by a person, firm or corporation who does not either reside in the Township of Lower Merion or have an office in the Township, unless that person, firm or corporation designates, in writing, an agent in the Township for the receipt of any notice of violation.
113.5 Residential rental unit. Each application for a license to operate a residential rental unit shall be accompanied by a fee set forth in the then-current fee schedule which shall have been adopted by resolution or ordinance of the Board of Commissioners.
113.6 Rooming house fee. Each application for a license to operate a rooming house shall be accompanied by a fee set forth on the then-current fee schedule which shall have been adopted by resolution or ordinance of the Board of Commissioners.
113.7 Occupant registration. The owner or agent of any residential rental unit located in the Township of Lower Merion shall submit to the Department of Building Regulations and Permits a list of the names of all occupants 18 years of age and older residing in each rental unit. Said list shall be submitted within 60 days from the effective date of this chapter and shall be updated annually thereafter or if there is any change in occupancy.
113.8 Maintenance of common areas; emergency access. In every multiple-family apartment house, the owner shall be responsible or shall engage a person or persons who shall be capable of and responsible for the repair and maintenance of the common areas of the dwelling and responding to service requests and emergency needs, including entry into units where an emergency appears to exist. Such person or persons shall be situated close enough to the dwelling as to be able to, and shall, service tenant and emergency calls with reasonable dispatch, provided that in the event of such multiple dwellings or combination of apartment houses on the same parcel containing 45 or more units, such person or persons shall be situated on the premises. The owner shall conspicuously post in the common areas of the dwelling and advise the tenants individually of the names, addresses and telephone numbers of such person or persons.
113.9 Addressing. All dwelling units shall have a number or letter designation placed on the main entrance door to each unit.
P. 
In Section 202, General Definitions, the definitions of "hotel," "multi-family apartment house," "one-family dwelling," "two-family dwelling," "family," "residential rental unit" and "rooming house" shall be amended to provide as follows:
HOTEL. A building used for the purpose of furnishing food and lodging to the public and having lodging accommodations for 10 or more guests.
MULTIFAMILY APARTMENT HOUSE. A building designated for and occupied exclusively as a residence for three or more families living independently of one another.
ONE-FAMILY DWELLING. A building containing one dwelling unit.
TWO-FAMILY DWELLING. A building containing two dwelling units.
FAMILY. Any number of individuals living and cooking together as a single housekeeping unit, but not more than three unrelated individuals. The term "unrelated individual" shall be as defined in the definition of "family" in Chapter 155 of the Code of the Township of Lower Merion.
RESIDENTIAL RENTAL UNIT. Any dwelling unit, including one-family dwelling units, let for occupancy.
ROOMING HOUSE. A dwelling, not a one-family dwelling or two-family dwelling, apartment house or hotel, providing lodging without meals and having lodging accommodations for fewer than 10 guests, or as otherwise defined Chapter 155 of the Code of the Township of Lower Merion.
Q. 
Section 302.4 shall be amended by inserting a height limit for weeds or plant growth of 10 inches.
R. 
New Sections 302.10, Outdoor storage in residential areas, and 302.11, Tree maintenance, shall be added to provide as follows:
302.10 Outdoor storage in residential areas. Not more than one boat, house trailer, pop-up trailer, camper top motor home, unregistered and/or uninspected motor vehicle, or other similar device for the transportation of persons on highways or water, or the accommodation of persons for temporary living purposes shall be parked or otherwise stored out-of-doors on any residentially zoned or used property. Vehicles/equipment regulated under this section shall be parked on a gravel or paved surface.
302.11 Tree maintenance. Dead or defective trees, or dead branches on trees, in a location outside of a right-of-way that create a risk of injury or damage to persons or to improved property (hazard trees) shall be removed.
S. 
In Section 304.14, insert the dates "April 1 to October 31."
T. 
Section 305.3 shall be amended to provide as follows: "All shower walls and enclosures shall have nonabsorbent surfaces."
U. 
A new Section 308.2.3, Dumpsters, shall be added to provide as follows:
308.2.3 Dumpsters. Dumpsters may not be stored unenclosed on residential or nonresidential property and may not be placed unless a permit therefor has been issued by the Township upon payment of a fee. Exceptions: (a) those permitted pursuant to Chapter 82 of the Lower Merion Township Code; and (b) those utilized for the removal of debris and rubbish in conjunction with an active construction or renovation project, provided they are removed within five days following completion of the project. Garbage, as defined in this code, may not be placed in an open, or uncovered, dumpster.
V. 
New sections 504.4, Sewer/utility vents, cleanouts and covers, 504.5, Hose bibs, and 504.6, Sink strainers, shall be added to provide as follows:
504.4 Sewer/utility vents, cleanouts and covers. All sewer/utility vents and cleanouts shall be capped and properly secured.
504.5 Hose bibs. All hose bibs shall have a vacuum breaker installed in accordance with the Uniform Construction Codes adopted by Lower Merion Township.
504.6 Sink strainers. All sinks shall have a strainer installed in accordance with the Uniform Construction Codes adopted by Lower Merion Township.
W. 
Section 602.3 shall be amended to provide as follows:
602.3 Heat. Every owner and operator of any building who rents, leases or lets one or more dwelling units or sleeping units on terms, either expressed or implied, to furnish heat to the occupants thereof shall supply heat so as to maintain a temperature of not less than 68° F. (20° C.) in all habitable rooms, bathrooms and toilet rooms. All heat shall be supplied exclusively by a central-type heating system or systems and shall not be augmented by any portable-type heaters or cooking devices. The temperature shall be measured at a point three feet above the floor and three feet from any exterior wall.
Exception: When the exterior temperature falls below 0° F. (-17.78° C.) and the heating system is operating at its full capacity, a minimum room temperature of 63° F. (17.22° C.) shall be maintained at all times.
X. 
Section 602.4 shall provide as follows:
602.4 Other structures. Every owner of any structure who rents, leases or lets the structure or any part thereof on terms, either expressed or implied, to furnish heat to the occupant thereof shall supply sufficient heat so as to maintain a room temperature of not less than 65° F. (18.33° C.) during all working hours. All heat shall be supplied exclusively by a central-type heating system or systems and shall not be augmented by any portable-type heaters. The temperature shall be measured at a point of three feet above the floor and three feet from any exterior wall.
Exceptions:
1.
Processing, storage and operation areas that require cooling or special temperature conditions.
2.
Areas in which persons are primarily engaged in vigorous physical activities.
Y. 
Section 605.2 shall be amended to provide as follows:
605.2 Receptacles. Every habitable space in a dwelling shall contain at least two separate and remote receptacle outlets. Every laundry area shall contain at least one grounded-type receptacle or a receptacle with a ground fault circuit interrupter. Every bathroom shall contain at least one receptacle. All bathroom receptacle outlets shall have ground fault circuit interrupter protection
Z. 
A new section 605.4, Light switches, shall be added to provide as follows:
605.4 Light switches. Light switches that operate at least one light fixture that is capable of lighting the entire stairway are required at the top and bottom of stairs in one- and two-family dwellings.
AA. 
Appendix A, Boarding Standards, Sections A101.1, General, and A102.3, Boarding fasteners, shall be amended to provide as follows:
A101.1 General. All windows and doors shall be boarded in an approved manner to prevent entry by unauthorized persons and shall be painted to correspond to the color of the existing structure.
Exception: The painting of boards shall only be required when said boards are to remain in place for more than 60 days.
A102.3 Boarding fasteners. Boarding fasteners shall be minimum three-eighths-inch (9.5 mm) diameter carriage bolts of such a length as required to penetrate the assembly and as required to adequately attach the washers and nuts. Washers and nuts shall comply with the International Building Code. The use of boarding fasteners, as described, shall not be required when boarding structures for less than 60 days unless signs of break-in or illegal entry become evident.
[Added 6-19-1996 by Ord. No. 3424]
A. 
No insurance company, association or exchange (hereinafter the "insurer") doing business in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania shall pay a claim of a named insured for fire damage to a structure located within the Township of Lower Merion (the "municipality") where the amount recoverable for the fire loss to the structure under all policies exceeds $7,500, unless the insurer is furnished by the Township Treasurer with a certificate pursuant to Section 508(b) of the Insurance Company Law of 1921, as amended by Act 98 of 1992 and Act 93 of 1994 (collectively, the "Act") and unless there is compliance with the procedure set forth in Section 508(c) and (d) of the Act.
B. 
Where there are delinquent taxes, assessments, penalties or user charges against the property (municipal claims) or there are expenses which the municipality has incurred as costs for the removal, repair or securing of a building or other structure on the property (collectively, "municipal expenses"), the Township Manager shall immediately render a bill for such work, if he has not already done so. Upon written request of the named insured specifying the tax description of the property, the name and address of the insurer and the date of receipt by the insurer of a loss report of the claim, the Treasurer shall furnish, within 14 working days after the request, to the insurer, a certificate (or at his discretion an oral notification confirmed in writing) either stating that there are no unpaid municipal claims or municipal expenses against the property or specifying the nature and amount of such claims or expenses, accompanied by a bill for such amounts. Taxes, assessments, penalties and user charges shall be deemed delinquent for this purpose, if a lien could have been filed for such claims under applicable law. Upon receipt of a certificate and bill pursuant to the second clause of the preceding sentence, the insurer shall transfer to the Treasurer an amount from the insurance proceeds sufficient to pay such sums prior to making payment to the named insured, subject to the provisions of Subsection C hereof.
C. 
When all municipal claims and municipal expenses have been paid pursuant to Subsection B of this section, or where the Treasurer has issued a certificate described in the first clause of Subsection B indicating that there are no municipal claims or municipal expenses against the property, the insurer shall pay the claim of the named insured; provided, however, that if the loss agreed upon by the named insured and the insurer equals or exceeds 60% of the aggregate limits of liability on all fire policies covering the building or structure, the following procedures must be followed:
(1) 
The insurer shall transfer from the insurance proceeds to the Treasurer, in the aggregate, $2,000 for each $15,000 of such claim or fraction thereof.
(2) 
If at the time a loss report is submitted by the insured such insured has submitted to the insurer, with a copy to the municipality, a contractor's signed estimate of the costs of removing, repairing or securing the building or other structure in an amount less than the amount calculated under the foregoing transfer formula, the insurer shall transfer to the Treasurer from the insurance proceeds the amount specified in the estimate. If there is more than one insurer, the transfer of proceeds shall be on a pro rata basis by all insurers insuring the buildings or other structure.
(3) 
Upon receipt of the above-described portion of the insurance proceeds, the Treasurer shall do the following:
(a) 
Place the proceeds in a separate fund to be used solely as security against the total municipal expenses anticipated by the Township to be required in removing, repairing or securing the building or structure as required by this section. Such costs shall include, without limitation, any engineering, legal or administrative costs incurred by the Township in connection with such removal, repair or securing or any proceedings related thereto.
(b) 
Mail to the named insured, at the address received from the insurer, a notice that the proceeds have been received by the Township and that the procedures under this subsection shall be followed.
(c) 
After the transfer, the named insured may submit to the Township a contractor's signed estimate of the costs of removing, repairing or securing the building or other structure, in which event the Treasurer shall, if such estimate is deemed by the Treasurer to be reasonable, return to the insured the amount of the funds transferred to the Township in excess of that required to pay the municipal expenses, provided that the Township has not commenced to remove, repair or secure the building or other structure, in which case the Township will complete the work.
(d) 
Pay to the Manager, for reimbursement to the Township General Fund, the amount of the municipal expenses paid by the Township.
(e) 
Pay the remaining balance in the fund (without interest) to the named insured upon receipt of a certificate issued by the Director of Building and Planning that the repair, removal or securing of the building or other structure has been completed in accordance with all applicable codes and regulations of the Township.
[Amended 1-19-2002 by Ord. No. 3631]
(4) 
Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the ability of the Township to recover any deficiency in the amount of municipal claims or municipal expenses recovered pursuant to this section, or to insurance proceeds, by an action at law or equity to enforce the codes of the Township or to enter into an agreement with the named insured with regard to such other disposition of the proceeds as the Township may deem reasonable.
D. 
Any owner of property, any named insured or insurer who violates the provisions of this section or who shall fail to comply with any of the requirements hereof shall be liable, upon summary conviction, to fines and penalties not exceeding $1,000, which fines and penalties may be collected by suit or summary proceeding brought in the name of the Township before any District Justice or recovered as debts of the like amount are now by law recoverable.