[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Yorktown 3-17-1981 by L.L. No. 11-1981. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Unsafe buildings pose a threat to life and property in the Town of Yorktown. 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 point 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 Yorktown by requiring such unsafe buildings be repaired or demolished and removed.
This chapter shall be known as the "Unsafe Buildings Law of the Town of Yorktown."
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any building, structure or portion thereof used for residential, business or industrial purpose.
- BUILDING INSPECTOR
- The Building Inspector of the Town of Yorktown or such other person appointed by the Town Board to enforce the provisions of this chapter.
- DANGEROUS OR UNSAFE BUILDINGS
- All buildings or structures which have any or all of the following defects shall be deemed "dangerous buildings" 
- A. Those whose interior walls or other vertical structural members list, lean or buckle to such an extent that a plumb line passing through the center of gravity falls outside of the middle third of its base.
- B. Those which, exclusive of the foundation, show 33% or more of damage or deterioration of the supporting member or members or 50% of damage or deterioration of the nonsupporting enclosing or outside walls or covering.
- C. Those which have improperly distributed loads upon the floors or roofs or in which the same are overloaded or which have insufficient strength to be reasonably safe for the purpose used.
- D. Those which have been damaged by fire, wind or other causes so as to have become dangerous to life, safety, morals or the general health and welfare of the occupants or the people of the town.
- E. Those which have become or are so dilapidated, decayed, unsafe, insanitary or which so utterly fail to provide the amenities essential to decent living that they are unfit for human habitation or are likely to cause sickness or disease so as to work injury to the health, morals, safety or general welfare of those living therein.
- F. Those having light, air and sanitation facilities which are inadequate to protect the health, morals, safety or general welfare of human beings who live or may live therein.
- G. Those having inadequate facilities for egress in case of fire or panic or those having insufficient stairways, elevators, fire escapes or other means of communication.
- H. Those which have parts thereof which are so attached that they may fall and injure members of the public or property.
- I. Those which, because of their condition, are unsafe, insanitary or dangerous to the health, morals, safety or general welfare of the people of the town.
- J. Those buildings existing in violation of any provision of Chapter 130, Building Construction and Fire Prevention, or any other provisions of Code of this town.
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 purpose for which is may lawfully be used, the Building Inspector shall cause to be made or make an 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 fewer than five business days from the date of service of the notice; and
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 a 10% surcharge and legal expenses.
The 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 Receiver of Taxes (or Tax Collector) or 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;
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
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 Westchester.
[Amended 1-6-1998 by L.L. No. 3-1998]
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 emergency as provided in § 38-11 hereof, any contract for demolition and removal of a building in in an amount subject to competitive bidding will be awarded in accordance with state and local purchasing requirements.
[Amended 1-6-1998 by L.L. No. 3-1998]
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, as well as a surcharge of 10% and legal expenses, 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.
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 and secured or demolished, the Town Board may by resolution authorize the Building Inspector to immediately cause the repair or demolition of such unsafe building. The expenses of such repair or demolition shall be a charge against the land on which it is located and shall be assessed, levied and collected as provided in § 38-10 hereof.
[Added 1-6-1998 by L.L. No. 3-1998]
Any person or persons who shall violate any provisions of this chapter will be guilty of an offense and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $250 or imprisonment for not more than 15 days, or both such fine and imprisonment. Each days' continued violation shall constitute a separate offense.
[Added 3-2-2021 by L.L. No. 4-2021]
Registration of real property with mortgage-in-default.
This section applies to properties subject to a mortgage which has been determined by the mortgagee to be in default.
Within 10 days of the date that the mortgagee declares its mortgage on a particular parcel of real property to be in default, the mortgagee shall inspect the premises and register the real property with the Town's mortgage-in-default registry, which said registry shall be maintained by the Building Department. The mortgagee shall indicate in the registration if the property is vacant or occupied.
If the property is occupied but remains in default, the local property manager (as set forth below) or mortgagee must perform monthly inspections to verify compliance with the requirements of this section and any other applicable laws or Town ordinances. If the property is in default and has become vacant, the local property manager or mortgagee must perform weekly inspections to verify compliance with the requirements of this section and any other applicable laws or Town ordinances.
Registration pursuant to this section shall contain the name of the mortgagee and mortgage servicer; the direct mailing address, email address and telephone number of the mortgagee and servicer; the name, address, email, and telephone number of a local property manager who shall be responsible for the inspection, security, and maintenance of the property. The local property manager named in the registration shall be located and available within Westchester County Monday through Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., holidays and lunch hours excepted, to be contacted by the Town.
Registrations shall be renewed every six months.
A nonrefundable fee in the amount of $500 per property shall accompany the mortgage-in-default registration form(s).
All properties that have been determined by the mortgagee to be in default on the effective date of this law must submit their initial registration forms within 30 days of the effective date.
If the foreclosing or foreclosed property is not registered, or the registration fee is not paid as required pursuant to this section, a late fee equivalent to $100 shall be charged for every thirty-day period or portion thereof that the property is not registered and shall be due and payable with the registration. All amounts due under this § 135-13 shall be deemed to be assessed against the property as a lien, and the Receiver of Taxes shall, when extending the next general tax upon the town assessment roll, place unpaid amounts thereon as against the property, and such amounts shall be collected at the same time, in the same manner and by the same proceedings as other taxes on said roll.
Properties subject to this section shall remain under the semiannual mortgage-in-default registration, inspection, security, and maintenance standards of this section as long as they remain in default.
Any person or other legal entity that has registered a property under this section must report any change of information contained in the registration within 10 days of the change.
Properties subject to § 135-13 shall be kept free of weeds, overgrown brush, dead vegetation, trash, junk, debris, wildlife, vermin, building materials, any accumulation of newspapers, circulars, flyers, notices (except those required by federal, state, or local law), discarded personal items, including, but not limited to, furniture, clothing, large and small appliances, printed material or any other items that give the appearance that the property is abandoned or not being properly maintained.
The property shall be maintained free of graffiti or similar markings by removal or painting over with an exterior grade paint that matches the color of the exterior structure.
Yards shall be landscaped and maintained pursuant to any standards previously established under any provisions of this Code.
Pools and spas shall be kept in working order so that pool and spa water remains free and clear of pollutants and debris and insects. Pools and spas shall comply with the requirements of this Code and the New York State Building Code and New York State Property Maintenance Code, as amended from time to time.
Properties subject to this section shall be maintained in a secure manner so as not to be accessible to unauthorized persons.
A "secure manner" shall include, but not be limited to, the closure and locking of windows, doors, gates, and other openings of such size that may allow a child to access the interior of the property and/or structure. Broken windows shall be secured by reglazing or covering of the window with polycarbonate sheeting of a thickness more than 3/16 inch.
Failure of the mortgagee and/or property owner of record to properly inspect and secure the property, and post and maintain the signage noted in this section, is a violation of this Code and may result in a citation by the Town's Building Department.
Immunity. This section may be enforced by the Building Inspector or his designee. To the greatest extent permissible under the law, the Building Inspector and any person authorized by the Building Inspector to enforce this § 135-13, shall be immune from liability for reasonable, good faith entrance upon real property while in the discharge of duties imposed by this section.