[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Union 8-19-1981 by L.L. No. 2-1981. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Unsafe buildings pose a threat to life and property in the Town of Union. Buildings and structures may become unsafe by reason of damage by fire, the elements, age or general deterioration. Vacant buildings not properly secured at doorways and windows also serve as an attractive nuisance for young children who may be injured therein, as well as points of congregation by vagrants and transients. A dilapidated building may also serve as a place of rodent infestation, thereby creating a health menace to the community. It is the purpose of this chapter to provide for the safety, health, protection and general welfare of persons and property in the Town of Union by requiring such unsafe buildings to be repaired or demolished and removed.
This chapter shall be known as the "Unsafe Buildings Law of the Town of Union."
[Amended 1-16-2002 by L.L. No. 1-2002]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any building, structure or portion thereof used for residential, business, industrial, storage or accessory purpose.
[Amended 1-16-2002 by L.L. No. 1-2002]
When in his own opinion or upon receipt of information that a building is or may become dangerous or unsafe to the general public, is open at the doorways and windows making it accessible to and an object of attraction to minors under 18 years of age, as well as to vagrants and other trespassers, is or may become a place of rodent infestation, presents any other danger to the health, safety, morals and general welfare of the public or is unfit for the purposes for which it may lawfully be used, the Building Official shall cause or make any inspection thereof and report in writing to the Town Board his findings and recommendations in regard to its repair or demolition and removal.
The Town Board shall thereafter consider such report and by resolution determine, if in its opinion the report so warrants, that such building is unsafe and dangerous and order its repair, if the same can be safely repaired, or its demolition and removal and further order that a notice be served upon the persons and in the manner provided herein.
The notice shall contain the following:
A description of the premises.
A statement of the particulars in which the building is unsafe or dangerous.
An order outlining the manner in which the building is to be made safe and secure or demolished and removed.
A statement that the securing or removal of such building shall commence within 30 days of the service of the notice and shall be completed within 60 days thereafter, unless for good cause shown such time shall be extended.
A date, time and place for a hearing before the Town Board in relation to such dangerous or unsafe building, which hearing shall be scheduled not less than five business days from the date of service of the notice.
A statement that, in the event of neglect or refusal to comply with the order to secure or demolish and remove the building, the Town Board is authorized to provide for its demolition and removal, to assess all expenses thereof against the land on which it is located and to institute a special proceeding to collect the costs of demolition, including legal expenses.
Said notice shall be served:
By personal service of a copy thereof upon the owner, executor, administrator, agent, lessee or any person having a vested or contingent interest in such unsafe building as shown by the records of the County Clerk or, if no such person can be reasonably found, by mailing such owner by registered mail a copy of such notice directed to his last known address as shown by the above records;
[Amended 1-16-2002 by L.L. No. 1-2002]
By personal service of a copy of such notice upon any adult person residing in or occupying said premises if such person can be reasonably found; and
By securely affixing a copy of such notice upon the unsafe building.
A copy of the notice served as provided herein shall be filed in the office of the County Clerk of the County of Broome.
[Amended 1-16-2002 by L.L. No. 1-2002; 10-21-2009 by L.L. No. 12-2009]
In the event of the refusal or neglect of the person so notified to comply with said order of the Town Board, and after the hearing, the Town Board shall provide for the demolition and removal of such building or structure either by Town employees or by contract. Except in an emergency as provided in § 88-11 hereof, any contract for demolition and removal of a building in excess of $20,000 shall be awarded through competitive bidding.
[Amended 9-18-2013 by L.L. No. 2-2013; 3-1-2017 by L.L. No. 1-2017]
All expenses incurred by the Town in connection with the proceedings to repair and secure or demolish and remove the unsafe building, including the cost of actually removing such building, shall be assessed against the land on which such building is located and shall be levied and collected in the same manner as provided in Article 15 of the Town Law for the levy and collection of a special ad valorem levy. In addition, the total cost to the Town of attorneys fees, engineering fees, consultant fees and/or court or litigation costs to investigate and/or inspect the subject building, and to otherwise enforce the provisions of this chapter shall be an expense and obligation of the owner of the property, including its individual officers, managers, partners, members, and shareholders, and alternatively or in conjunction herewith, shall be assessed and levied upon the real property as a lien and charge until paid or otherwise satisfied or discharged and shall be collected as otherwise provided in the Town Law in the same manner and at the same time as other Town charges.
Lien priority on premises. In addition to the rights of the Town pursuant to § 88-10A above, the Town shall have certain lien priority rights on the premises in accordance with the following:
The Town shall have a priority lien to the extent of all costs and expenses incurred by the Town in connection with the proceedings and/or work efforts to repair and secure, or demolish and remove, any unsafe or potentially unsafe building or land or premises, and/or the elimination of any unlawful condition, including the costs of actually removing such building and securing the land or premises. Such costs and expenses as part of said priority lien shall include all attorneys' fees, engineering fees, consultant fees, contractor fees, Town employee/equipment costs, and/or court or litigation costs to investigate and/or inspect the subject building, land or premises, and to otherwise enforce the provisions of this chapter. There shall be filed in the office of the Town Clerk one or more records of all such costs and expenses caused to be performed by or on behalf of the Town under this chapter. Such records of the priority lien shall be kept on a building-by-building or street-address basis and shall be accessible to the public during business hours. Such record may be made and maintained electronically. Such entry at the Town Clerk's office shall constitute notice to all parties and the public.
All such costs and expenses incurred by the Town for the repair, securing, demolition and/or the elimination of any dangerous or unlawful conditions, pursuant to this chapter or any other applicable provision of law, shall constitute a priority lien upon the land or premises when such charge is due and payable, which, notwithstanding any other provision of law, shall be due and payable upon filing at the Town Clerk's office with a certified copy filed at the Broome County Clerk's office. Such lien shall have a priority over all other liens and encumbrances, including mortgage liens, on the premises except for the lien of taxes and assessments. However, no priority lien created pursuant to this chapter shall be enforced against a subsequent purchaser in good faith or a mortgagee in good faith unless the requirements of Subsection B(1) of this section are satisfied; this limitation shall only apply to transactions occurring after the date such record of priority lien should have been entered pursuant to Subsection B(1) and (2) herein, and the date such entry was actually made.
If such charge is not paid by the date when such charge is due and payable in accordance with above, the said priority lien shall accrue interest thereon at the statutory rate, to be calculated to the date of filing with the Town Clerk.
Such charge and the interest thereon shall continue to be, until paid, a priority lien on the premises for a period of 10 years. Said priority lien may be renewed for an additional ten-year period upon the filing of an extension of priority lien in both the Town Clerk's office and the Broome County Clerk's office. The priority lien may be sold, enforced or foreclosed in any manner. Such priority lien may also be considered to be a tax lien and may be sold, enforced or foreclosed in any manner.
[Amended 1-16-2002 by L.L. No. 1-2002; 8-4-2004 by L.L. No. 6-2004]
Where it reasonably appears that there is present a clear and imminent danger to the life, safety, or health of any person or property unless an unsafe building is immediately repaired or demolished, the Town Board may, by resolution, authorize the Building Official to immediately cause the repair or demolition of such unsafe building. The Building Official is authorized to immediately secure without authorization or resolution, any unsafe or vacant building in violation of Chapter 88 of the Town of Union Code and/or Chapter 3, Section 311 of the New York State Fire Prevention Code. The expense of such repair, demolition, or securing shall be a charge against the land on which it is located and shall be assessed, levied and collected as provided in § 88-10 hereof.