Borough of Columbia, PA
Lancaster County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
A. 
Officer. It shall be the duty and responsibility of the code official to enforce the provisions of this code as herein provided. The Code Enforcement Officer is hereby designated to be the code official under this chapter.
[Amended 12-16-2003 by Ord. No. 726]
B. 
Relief from personal liability. Any code official, officer or employee who acts in good faith and without malice in the discharge of duties of enforcement of this code is relieved of all personal liability for any damage accruing to persons or property as a result of such acts or alleged failure to act. Further, the code official shall not be held liable for any costs in any action, suit or proceeding that is instituted by the code official in the enforcement of this code. If any of these actions, the official or employee shall be defended or represented by the Borough Solicitor until the final termination of the proceedings.
C. 
Official records. An official record shall be kept of all business and activities of the code official specified in the provisions of this code.
[Amended 8-15-1991 by Ord. No. 634; 6-14-1999 by Ord. No. 677; 7-14-2003 by Ord. No. 721; 9-8-2003 by Ord. No. 722; 1-9-2006 by Ord. No. 758; 3-23-2010 by Ord. No. 801]
A. 
General. The code official or his delegate or representative shall enforce the provisions of this code.
B. 
Notices and orders. The code official shall issue all necessary notices and orders to abate illegal or unsafe conditions to ensure compliance with this code's requirements for the safety, health and general welfare of the public. He shall also issue licenses under this code.
C. 
Inspections. In order to safeguard the safety, health and welfare of the public, the code official is authorized to enter any structure or premises in the Borough of Columbia at any reasonable time for the purpose of making inspections or performing duties under this code. Additionally, the code official shall make or cause other authorized inspectors, as identified in the following subsection, to make the following inspections:
(1) 
Certificate of occupancy. Whenever a single-family dwelling or commercial property is placed on the market for sale which has not been issued a certificate of occupancy within the previous three-year period for compliance with the structural, fire, safety and sanitation requirements of this Code, the Code Official must be notified by the seller or his or her agent so that the Code Official can conduct an inspection.
[Amended 3-14-2011 by Ord. No. 812; 12-12-2016 by Ord. No. 878; 5-8-2017 by Ord. No. 884]
(a) 
If the inspection reveals no violations, a certificate of occupancy shall be issued.
(b) 
If the inspection reveals at least one violation, but none of the violations pose a threat to health, safety or property, the Code Official shall issue a temporary certificate of occupancy.
(c) 
If the inspection reveals that at least one of the violations involve a threat to health, safety or property, the Code Official shall note such violations on the inspection report and shall issue a temporary certificate of occupancy.
(d) 
Temporary certificates of occupancy shall be valid for a period of 12 months from the date of purchase or the date the certificate was issued, whichever is first.
(e) 
If any violations have been found, at the expiration of the 12 months, or at an earlier time at the request of the property owner, the Code Official shall reinspect the property; if no violations are found, an unrestricted certificate of occupancy shall be issued. if violations that do not pose a threat to health, safety or property are found, a temporary certificate of occupancy shall be issued for the time remaining on the original temporary certificate of occupancy.
(2) 
Rental properties. All dwelling units, apartments, rooming houses and hotels or other residential rental units as defined in Subsection D, Residential rental unit regulation, of this § 112-6 which are let for occupancy shall be subject to all inspections authorized and required by Subsection D of this section, to random inspections by the Code Enforcement Official, and to inspections if the Code Enforcement Official reasonably determines that an inspection is necessary. Every three years, the owner, operator or manager of the property shall obtain a new certificate of occupancy for the property from the code official by making request on forms provided by the Borough to have the code official inspect the property and by submitting the appropriate administration fee. Upon a finding by the code official that the property is free of deficiencies, the code official shall issue a certificate of occupancy to the owner, operator or manager of the property verifying that the property is compliant with this code, and said certificate shall be valid for a three-year period from the date of issuance, unless revoked by the code official for just cause.
[Amended 3-14-2011 by Ord. No. 812; 12-12-2016 by Ord. No. 878]
(3) 
Fire inspections. The code official or his designee shall perform all inspections of commercial and industrial properties required by the Fire Prevention Code, including: assembly occupation inspections, business occupancy inspections, educational occupancy inspections, factory and industrial occupancy inspections, high-hazard occupancies, institutional occupancy inspections, mercantile occupancy inspections, storage occupancy inspections, utility occupancy inspections, solid fuel appliance inspections, automobile alarm system inspections, and fire protection system inspections.
D. 
Residential rental unit regulation.
(1) 
Purpose and scope. The purpose of this Subsection D and the policy of the Borough of Columbia shall be to protect and promote the public health, safety and welfare of its citizens, to establish rights and obligations of owners and occupants relating to residential rental units in the Borough and to encourage owners and occupants to maintain and improve the quality of rental housing within the Borough. As a means to these ends, this Subsection D provides for a systematic inspection program, registration and licensing of residential rental units and penalties. In considering the adoption of this Subsection D, the Borough makes the following findings:
(a) 
There is a growing concern in the Borough with the failure of some landowners to properly maintain residential units.
(b) 
Borough records indicate there is a greater incidence of problems with the maintenance and upkeep of residential properties which are not owner-occupied as compared to those that are owner-occupied.
(c) 
Borough records indicate there are a greater number of disturbances at residential rental units than owner-occupied units. Borough records indicate that violations of the Borough's ordinances are generally less severe at owner-occupied units as compared to residential rental units.
(2) 
Definitions and word usage. Unless otherwise expressly stated, the following terms shall, for the purpose of this Subsection D, have the meanings indicated as follows:
BOROUGH
The Borough of Columbia, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL
A person designated by Borough Council to enforce this Subsection D, including performance of inspections, issuance of residential rental licenses and issuance of citations.
CODES
Any state or local code or ordinance adopted, enacted or in effect in and for the Borough including, but not limited to, the Existing Structures and Property Maintenance Code, codified as Chapter 112 of the Code of the Borough of Columbia, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
COUNTY
The County of Lancaster.
DISRUPTIVE CONDUCT
Any act by an occupant of a residential rental unit or by a person present at a residential rental unit involving public drunkenness; consumption of an alcoholic beverage in public; public urination or defecation; the unlawful depositor of trash or litter on public or private property; damage to or destruction of public or private property; the obstruction of public roads, streets, highways or sidewalks; interference with emergency or police services; unreasonable noise as defined by Chapter 149, Noise, and/or the appropriate ordinances of the Borough of Columbia dealing with noise violations, and Chapter 220, Zoning, and/or the appropriate ordinances of the Borough of Columbia dealing with zoning regulations; use of profane or obscene language or gestures; indecent exposure; fighting or quarreling; or any other act defined as "disorderly conduct" in the Pennsylvania Crimes Code or any act prohibited by the ordinances of the Borough or which otherwise injures the health, safety or welfare of the residents of the Borough residing in the neighborhood or vicinity of the gathering. It is not necessary that such conduct, action, incident or behavior constitute a criminal offense, nor that criminal charges be filed against any person in order for said person to have perpetrated, caused or permitted the commission of disruptive conduct will be deemed to have occurred unless a Code Enforcement Official or a police officer shall investigate and make a determination that such did occur, and keep written records, including a disruptive conduct report, of such occurrences. Provided, however, that a victim of domestic violence with a protection from abuse order shall not be subject to a disruptive conduct report if the police officer determines, after investigation, that the behavior complained of is a result of domestic violence. The occupant and the owner and, if applicable, the manager shall be notified of any such occurrences in writing.
[Amended 8-12-2013 by Ord. No. 838]
DISRUPTIVE CONDUCT REPORT
A written report of disruptive conduct to be completed by a police officer or a Code Enforcement Official who actually investigates an alleged incident of disruptive conduct and which shall be maintained by the Code Enforcement Official.
HOTEL UNIT
Any room or group of rooms located within a hotel or motel forming a single habitable unit used or intended to be used for living and sleeping only on a transient basis for a period of less than 30 days.
MANAGER
A person retained by an owner to be responsible for one or more residential rental units within the Borough.
OCCUPANT
Any person over one year of age living and sleeping in a residential rental unit or having actual possession of said residential rental unit.
OWNER
The person who holds record tide and/or the equitable owner under an agreement of sale of a property upon which a residential rental unit is erected or maintained. If more than one person owns the residential rental unit as joint tenants, tenants in common, tenants by the entireties, or tenants in copartnership, each such person shall be considered an owner and shall have all of the duties of an owner under this Subsection D.
PERSON
A natural individual, unincorporated association, partnership, corporation, estate, trust or any other legally recognized entity, and the members of such partnership and the officers of such corporation.
PREMISES
Any parcel of real estate within the Borough, including the land and all buildings and appurtenant structures, on which one or more residential rental units are located.
PROPERTY MAINTENANCE CODE
The Existing Structures and Property Maintenance Code of the Borough of Columbia enacted as Chapter 112 of the Code of the Borough of Columbia, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, as it may be amended from time to time.
RESIDENTIAL RENTAL LICENSE
A document issued by the Code Enforcement Official to the owner of a residential rental unit.
RESIDENTIAL RENTAL UNIT
A rooming unit; or a dwelling unit let for rent; or a residential unit occupied by any persons other than one occupied solely by the owner and members of the owner's family. Each individual townhouse dwelling, each individual apartment unit, each individual unit in a multifamily building, and each rooming unit shall be considered a separate residential rental unit. If a structure contains a rooming unit or if any portion of the structure is let for rent, it shall be considered a residential rental unit whether or not the owner or a relative of the owner also resides in the structure. A residential rental unit shall not include a hotel unit or a hospital room utilized for medical services A residential rental unit includes dwelling units under lease-purchase agreements or long-term (greater than six months) agreements of sale.
ROOMING UNIT
A portion of a dwelling unit including any room or group of rooms forming a single habitable unit used or intended to be used for living and sleeping, but not for cooking purposes. Granting of permission to use shared or common cooking facilities may be associated with the leasing of a rooming unit.
(3) 
Duties of owners and managers of residential rental units.
(a) 
It shall be the duty of every owner to:
[1] 
Keep and maintain all residential rental units in compliance with all applicable codes, ordinances and provisions of all applicable state laws and regulations, including but not limited to Chapter 220, Zoning, and the Property Maintenance Code.
[2] 
Keep and maintain all premises in good and safe condition, and maintain a current and valid certificate of occupancy.
[3] 
Be aware of, and to act to eliminate, disruptive conduct in all residential rental units.
[4] 
Employ policies to and actually manage the residential rental units under his/her control in compliance with the provisions of this Subsection D, Borough ordinances and applicable state laws.
[5] 
Pay or ensure payment of all real estate taxes, sewer rates, and trash collection fees to insure that such vital utilities are provided.
[6] 
Obtain and maintain a residential rental license for each residential rental unit.
[7] 
Provide the Borough within 30 days of occupancy with the names, physical address and mailing address, if different, of all tenants of the residential rental unit and notify the Borough of changes in the occupancy of the residential rental unit within 30 days thereof.
[8] 
Provide trash and recyclable collection and disposal services and instruct tenants of the method of trash and recyclable collection (e.g., curbside or dumpster) and, if applicable, the day of week of trash and recyclable pickup.
[9] 
Provide each tenant with a disclosure statement containing the requirements of this Subsection D, including the provisions relating to disruptive conduct. Provision of a copy of this Subsection D to each tenant will satisfy this requirement.
[10] 
Take all actions necessary to ensure that each residential rental unit is occupied by only one family. For the purposes of this subsection, a family shall be considered to be a "family" as that term is defined in Chapter 220, Zoning.
[11] 
Require a written rental agreement for each residential rental unit which shall include the names of all permitted occupants.
[12] 
Retain a manager when this Subsection D requires that a manager be designated.
[13] 
Advise the Borough Manager in writing of every court hearing, whether before a Magisterial District Judge, a Court of Common Pleas, or other tribunal pursuant to which the owner and/or manager is evicting a tenant in accordance with § 112-6D(5); said notice to be provided to the Borough Manager at least 10 days prior to the hearing date. The Borough of Columbia may, in its discretion, send appropriate officials to such hearing for purposes of providing any proof requested by the court regarding the issuance of disruptive conduct reports.
[Added 9-12-2011 by Ord. No. 818; amended 10-10-2011 by Ord. No. 820]
[14] 
Provide the Borough Manager or the Borough Manager's designee with notification of the vacancy of a residential rental unit promptly upon the occurrence of a vacancy.
[Added 3-13-2017 by Ord. No. 882[1]]
[1]
Editor’s Note: This ordinance provided an effective date of 6-30-2017.
[15] 
Schedule an occupancy inspection with the Code Enforcement Official of the Borough of Columbia prior to a change in occupancy of a residential rental unit.
[Added 3-13-2017 by Ord. No. 882[2]]
[2]
Editor’s Note: This ordinance provided an effective date of 6-30-2017.
(b) 
If the owner has appointed a manager, the manager shall be jointly responsible to fulfill all of the obligations set forth in Subsection D(3)(a) hereof. No owner may relieve himself of the responsibility to perform the duties set forth in Subsection D(3)(a) by appointing a manager.
(c) 
It shall be unlawful for any person to conduct or operate or cause to be rented either as owner or manager any residential rental unit within the Borough without having a residential rental license as required by this Subsection D.
(d) 
The owner and, if applicable, the manager shall include the amendment attached hereto as Exhibit A, identified as "Addendum to Residential Rental Agreement," in each lease of a residential rental unit taking effect on or after January 1, 2004.[3]
[3]
Editor's Note: Said Exhibit A is on file in the Borough offices.
(e) 
It shall be the responsibility of every owner and every manager to display the residential rental license in the residential rental unit. The residential rental license shall include the following information:
[1] 
The name, mailing address and telephone number of the owner or manager.
[2] 
The evenings on which garbage and recycling are to be placed curbside for collection.
[3] 
The telephone number to call to register complaints regarding the physical condition of the residential rental unit.
[4] 
The telephone number for emergency police, fire and medical services.
[5] 
The date of expiration of the residential rental license.
[6] 
A summary of the owner's and occupant's duties under this Subsection D.
(f) 
No residential rental license shall be issued to any owner residing more than 30 miles from the municipal limits of the Borough unless the owner provides the Code Enforcement Official with the name, mailing address and telephone number of a manager residing or working within 30 miles of the municipal limits of the Borough, authorized to accept service of process on behalf of the owner. For the purpose of this subsection, a post office box is not acceptable for the manager's address. This designation shall not be valid unless signed by the owner and the manager designated to act on behalf of the owner. The owner shall notify the Code Enforcement Official within 30 days of any change in manager.
(4) 
Duties of occupants of residential rental units. Each occupant of a residential unit shall have the following duties:
(a) 
Comply with all obligations of this Subsection D and all applicable codes and Borough ordinances, as well as all state laws and regulations.
(b) 
Conduct himself/herself and require other persons, including, but not limited to, guests on the premises and within their residential rental unit with their consent, to conduct themselves in a manner that will not disturb the peaceful enjoyment of adjacent or nearby dwellings by people occupying the same.
(c) 
Not engage in, nor tolerate, nor permit others on the premises to cause damage to the residential rental unit or engage in disruptive conduct, or other violations of this Subsection D, codes, Borough ordinances, or applicable state laws.
(d) 
Use the trash and recyclable collection services provided by the owner.
(e) 
Use the residential rental unit for no purpose other than as a residence.
(f) 
Maintain the residential rental unit in a manner meeting all requirements for occupants of structures set forth in the Property Maintenance Code.
(g) 
Allow the Code Enforcement Official to inspect the residential rental unit in accordance with this Subsection D at reasonable times.
(h) 
Not allow persons other than those identified on the lease to reside in the residential rental unit.
(i) 
Not allow the residential rental unit to be occupied by more than one family. For the purposes of this subsection, a family shall be considered to be a "family" as that term is defined in Chapter 220, Zoning. That definition is repeated here for clarity: "One or more persons, related by blood, adoption or marriage, living and cooking together as a single housekeeping unit, or a number of persons living and cooking together as a single housekeeping unit though not related by blood, adoption or marriage."
(j) 
Not permit the possession of, serving to or consumption of alcohol by underage persons.
(5) 
Disruptive conduct.
(a) 
Police officers or Code Enforcement Officials shall investigate alleged incidents of disruptive conduct. The police officer or Code Enforcement Official conducting the investigation shall complete a disruptive conduct report upon a finding that the reported incident constitutes disruptive conduct. The information filed in the disruptive conduct report shall include, if possible, the identity of the alleged perpetrator(s) of the disruptive conduct and the factual basis for the disruptive conduct described in the disruptive conduct report. A copy of the disruptive conduct report shall be given or mailed to the occupant and mailed to the owner and, if applicable, the manager within 10 working days of the occurrence of the alleged disruptive conduct.
(b) 
The occupant or the owner and, if applicable, the manager shall have 10 working days from the date of a disruptive conduct report to appeal the disruptive conduct report. The appeal shall be made in writing and submitted to the Code Enforcement Official.
(c) 
After three disruptive conduct incidents in any twelve-month period by an occupant documented by disruptive conduct reports, the owner and, if applicable, the manager shall have 10 working days from the date of the third disruptive conduct report to begin eviction proceedings against the occupants. Owner/manager must submit a copy of the document indicating eviction process has begun. Failure to take such action will result in the immediate revocation of the residential rental license. The residential rental unit involved shall not have its residential rental license reinstated until the reinstatement fee is paid and the disruptive occupants have been evicted, the District Justice has ruled in the occupant's favor, the District Justice has ruled in the owner's favor but has not ordered the eviction of the occupant(s), or the occupants have filed an appeal to a higher court or declared bankruptcy, thereby preventing their eviction. The disruptive occupants, upon eviction, shall not reoccupy any residential rental unit on the same premises involved for a period of at least one year from the date of eviction. This subsection is not intended to limit or inhibit the owner and, if applicable, the manager's right to initiate eviction actions prior to the issuance of the third disruptive conduct report in a twelve-month period.
(d) 
The disruptive conduct report shall count against all occupants of the residential rental unit. The Code Enforcement Official shall maintain a list of the names of all occupants evicted as a result of Subsection D(5)(c) hereof. The names shall remain on the list for a period of three years.
[Amended 12-12-2016 by Ord. No. 874]
(6) 
Residential rental unit licensing.
(a) 
By July 1, 2010, the owner and, if applicable, the manager of each residential rental unit shall apply for a residential rental license with the Code Enforcement Official which shall be valid until July 30, 2011. By July 1 of each year after July, 2011, the owner and, if applicable, the manager or each residential rental unit shall continue to apply for an annual residential rental license which shall be valid from July 1 until June 30 of the following calendar year.
(b) 
The Code Enforcement Official shall issue a residential rental license if the owner provides the name, address and phone number of a manager (if applicable), pays the registration fee, submits a complete and accurate occupant listing for the residential rental units by July 1 of each year and is current on real estate taxes, sewer fees and trash collection fees for the residential rental unit, and submits a current and valid certificate of occupancy for the property.
(c) 
The Code Enforcement Official shall deny and shall revoke a residential rental license if the owner does not provide the name, address and phone number of a manager (if applicable), does not pay the annual registration fee, is not current on real estate taxes, sewer fees or trash collection fees for the residential rental unit, does not correct a code violation within the time frame cited by the Code Enforcement Official, has not complied with the disruptive conduct provisions of this Subsection D, and/or fails to submit a current and valid certificate of occupancy for the property [§ 112-6C(2)].
(d) 
The Code Enforcement Official shall deny and shall revoke a residential rental license if the following occur within the licensed residential rental unit or on the premises:
[1] 
Failure to abate any violation of the Property Maintenance Code within the time specified in the notice of violation unless an appeal is pending.
[2] 
Failure to take action to evict occupants of a residential rental unit when the disruptive conduct provisions of this Subsection D require such action.
[3] 
Occurrence of three violations of this Subsection D and/or of any other Borough codes or ordinances that apply to the residential rental unit or premises during the term of the license. Before an occurrence may be considered a violation there must be either a summary conviction, or the Code Enforcement Official must send the owner a written notice of the violation within 30 days of the incident and the period for the owner to file an appeal from the determination of the Code Enforcement Official must have expired.
(e) 
The Code Enforcement Official shall forward written notice to the owner if the Code Enforcement Official will deny, refuse to renew or revoke a residential rental license. The notification shall:
[1] 
Identify the residential rental unit;
[2] 
Identify the grounds for the denial, nonrenewal or revocation, including the factual circumstances and the section of this Subsection D supporting such determination; and
[3] 
Inform the owner of the right to appeal the denial, nonrenewal or revocation of the residential rental license to Borough Council under this Subsection D.
(f) 
The Code Enforcement Official may reinstate a residential rental license if the owner or manager corrects the reason for the revocation of the residential rental license and has paid the residential rental license reinstatement fee.
(7) 
Inspection of residential rental units.
(a) 
Prior to initial occupancy of newly constructed residential rental units, newly created residential rental units, or substantially rehabilitated residential rental units (as documented by a certificate of occupancy), the owner or manager shall register with and make written application to the Code Enforcement Official for a residential rental license as herein provided, and must also submit a copy of a current and valid certificate of occupancy for the property.
(b) 
The Code Enforcement Official shall inspect, or cause the inspection of, all other residential rental units in accordance with a systematic program. The Code Enforcement Official shall also inspect residential rental units prior to any change in occupancy of the residential rental unit, and may inspect residential rental units upon receipt of complaints, upon the occurrence of disruptive conduct at such residential rental unit, or for any other reasonable cause.
[Amended 8-10-2015 by Ord. No. 862]
(c) 
If the Code Enforcement Official, upon completion of the inspection, finds that the applicable codes have not been met, the Code Enforcement Official shall issue notices and, if appropriate, commence enforcement actions under the procedures set forth in the code which has been violated. Notice provided to a manager shall be deemed notice provided to the owner. The following notices shall be issued to the owner of the residential rental unit or the manager:
[1] 
If the Code Enforcement Official finds violations warranting condemnation of the residential rental unit under the Property Maintenance Code, in addition to the remedies under the Property Maintenance Code, the Code Enforcement Official shall:
[a] 
Issue a notice of violation; and
[b] 
If, after 72 hours from the issuance of the notice of violation, a reinspection reveals that the violations are not corrected and arrangements satisfactory to the Code Enforcement Official have not been made, the residential rental license for the residential rental unit shall be revoked and the property vacated, and if the residential rental unit is vacant, it shall remain vacant.
[2] 
If the Code Enforcement Official finds violations not warranting condemnation of the residential rental unit under the Property Maintenance Code, the Code Enforcement Official shall issue a thirty-day notice of violation.
[a] 
If, after 30 days from the date of the thirty-day notice of violation, the first reinspection reveals that all violations have not been corrected, a thirty-day legal action warning shall be issued.
[b] 
If, after 30 days from the date of the thirty-day legal action warning, the second reinspection reveals that all violations have not been corrected, the Code Enforcement Official shall revoke the residential rental license for the residential rental unit, and if the residential rental unit is vacant, it shall remain vacant.
[c] 
A fee will be charged for each reinspection. The Code Enforcement Official shall maintain a list of all residential rental units and their ownership that have been the subject of prosecutions during the preceding five years.
(8) 
Sale or transfer of residential rental units. A residential rental license shall not be transferred. In the case of licensed residential rental units that are sold or transferred, the new owner shall seek a residential rental license for each residential rental unit and have each residential rental unit inspected. Failure to seek a residential rental license for each residential rental unit within 60 days of the date of sale or transfer of ownership shall result in the revocation of the residential rental license.
(9) 
Appeals.
(a) 
Other than appeals of disruptive conduct reports or the revocation of a residential rental license, an appeal from any decision of the Code Enforcement Official shall be taken to Borough Council or its designee. Such appeal shall be made in writing within 10 working days after such decision has been made. The appeal shall be verified by an affidavit, shall state the grounds therefor and shall be filed with the Borough Secretary/Treasurer. The appeal shall be accompanied by the appeal fee which shall be established from time to time by this chapter or by resolution of Borough Council. The appellant or his representative shall have the right to appear and be heard, if such right is requested in the written appeal. Borough Council or its designee shall make a prompt decision on such appeal. Borough Council shall render a written decision, copies of which shall be provided to the Code Enforcement Official and the appellant.
(b) 
Any person aggrieved by a decision of a police officer or Code Enforcement Official in regard to a disruptive conduct report or the revocation of a residential rental license shall appeal to the Borough Manager of the Borough of Columbia, or his designated agent, in the same manner and with the same procedures as set forth for other appeals under and pursuant to Subsection D(9)(a) above. Such appeal must be filed, in writing, within 10 working days from the date of the disruptive conduct report or notice of revocation. The appellant or his representative shall have the right to appear and be heard, if such right is requested in the written appeal. The Borough Manager or his designated agent shall make a prompt decision on such appeal, which decision shall be in writing and which shall be provided to both the Code Enforcement Official and the appellant. Any party aggrieved with the decision of the Borough Manager may appeal to the Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, in accordance with applicable provisions of Pennsylvania law.
(10) 
Violations and penalties.
(a) 
Violations. It shall be a violation of this Subsection D to commit or to permit any other person to commit any of the following acts:
[1] 
To lease, let, or allow the occupancy of a residential rental unit without obtaining a residential rental license where required by this Subsection D.
[2] 
To refuse to permit inspections required under this Subsection D for a residential rental unit.
[3] 
To fail to perform the duties established by Subsection D(3) if such person is an owner or a manager of a residential rental unit.
[4] 
To fail to perform the duties established by Subsection D(4) if such person is an occupant of a residential rental unit.
[5] 
To place false information on to or omit relevant information from an application for a residential rental license.
[6] 
Failure to seek a residential rental license. The owner or manager shall be sent a Thirty-Day Notice of Violation, warning them of their failure to comply with the terms of this Subsection D. If they do not comply at the end of 30 days, there shall be a fine of not less than $500 per residential rental unit for each month the violation exists. Each month the violation exists constitutes a separate violation.
[7] 
Whoever violates any other provision of this Subsection D shall upon a first offense be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned not more than 30 days, or both.
[8] 
In addition to prosecution of persons violating this Subsection D, the Code Enforcement Official or any duly authorized agent of the Borough may take such civil or equitable remedies in any court of record of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, against any person or property, real or personal, to effect the provisions of this Subsection D.
[9] 
The provisions of this section and the provisions of this Subsection D governing revocation, suspension or nonrenewal of residential rental licenses shall be independent, non-mutually exclusive, separate remedies, all of which shall be available to the Borough as may be deemed appropriate. The remedies and procedures in this Subsection D are not intended to supplant or replace, to any degree, the remedies provided to the Borough in the Property Maintenance Code, Chapter 220, Zoning, or any other Code.
E. 
Residential building registration fees. The first time an owner registers a residential rental property with the code official pursuant to Subsection D of this section, such owner shall pay a registration fee as set from time to time by resolution of the Borough Council. Thereafter, each owner shall pay an annual fee as set from time to time by resolution of the Borough Council, which fee shall be payable with the owner's registration of the property.
F. 
Inspection fees.
(1) 
Whenever a property in the Borough of Columbia is inspected by the code official, the property owner shall be assessed an inspection fee as set from time to time by resolution of the Borough Council for the following types of property:
(a) 
Residential rental properties less than four stories high.
(b) 
Residential rental properties four stories or higher.
(c) 
Non-rental residential properties.
(d) 
Properties zoned commercial.
(e) 
Properties zoned industrial.
(2) 
Additionally, anytime the code official condemns a building, the owner shall pay a fee as set from time to time by resolution of the Borough Council, which fee shall be in addition to any fee charged for inspections of the property. Should an inspection be requested for purposes of removing a condemnation notice from a property, the property owner shall pay a fee as set from time to time by resolution of the Borough Council for such inspection. In addition to any other remedies available to the Borough of Columbia to collect unpaid inspection fees, the Borough may assess such fees as a municipal lien against the property inspected in accordance with the Pennsylvania Municipal Claims Act. Borough Council may amend the fees set forth in this Subsection F by resolution.
G. 
Credentials. If requested, the code official or the code official's authorized representative shall disclose proper credentials of their respective offices for the purpose of inspecting any and all structures and premises in the performance of duties under this code.
H. 
Rule-making authority. The code official shall have power as may be necessary in the interest of public safety, health and general welfare to adopt and promulgate rules and regulations to interpret and implement the provisions of this code to secure the intent thereof; but such rules shall not have the effect of waiving working stresses or fire protection requirements specifically provided in this code or violating approved practice involving public safety.
I. 
Annual report. At least annually, the code official shall submit to the Borough Council a written statement of operations in the form and content as shall be prescribed by the Borough."
[Amended 3-8-1999 by Ord. No. 674; 2-12-2001 by Ord. No. 698; 12-16-2003 by Ord. No. 726; 10-11-2004 by Ord. No. 742; 3-23-2010 by Ord. No. 801]
A. 
Unlawful acts.
(1) 
It shall be unlawful for any person to erect, construct, alter, extend, repair, remove, demolish, use or occupy any structure, premises 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.
(2) 
Transfer of ownership. It shall be unlawful for the owner of any dwelling unit or structure or premises who has received a compliance order or upon whom a notice of violation or condemnation has been served to sell, transfer, mortgage, lease or otherwise dispose of the dwelling unit, structure or premises to another until the provisions of the compliance order or notice of violation or condemnation have been complied with or until such owner shall first furnish the grantee, transferee, mortgagee or lessee a true copy of any compliance order or notice of violation or condemnation issued by the code official and shall furnish to the code official a signed statement from the grantee, transferee, mortgagee or lessee acknowledging the receipt of such compliance order or notice of violation or condemnation and fully accepting the responsibility without condition for making the corrections or repairs required by such compliance order or notice of violation or condemnation.
B. 
Penalty.
(1) 
Fine or imprisonment; posting property of violator.
(a) 
Any person, firm or corporation who or which shall violate any provision of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be subject to a fine of not less the $50 nor more than $1,000, or imprisonment for a term not to exceed one year, or both, at the discretion of the court. Each day beyond the effective date of any notice (or citation) that a violation continues after notice (or a citation) has been served, in accordance with the terms and provisions hereof, shall be deemed a separate offense.
(b) 
Any time after the code official of the Borough of Columbia serves any person, firm or corporation with three notices relating to the same violation of this chapter, the Code Official and/or other authorized officials as designated by Borough Council of the Borough of Columbia may post on the subject property a sign not to exceed three feet by three feet in size stating the property owner's name and address and that the property is in violation of this code. Moreover, the code official or other officials designated by Borough Council may advertise the same notice in local newspapers, newsletters and public websites. All such signs, notices and publications may remain posted and published until the violations are corrected.
[Amended 12-12-2016 by Ord. No. 878]
(2) 
Notwithstanding any requirement to serve a notice of violation, the Code Enforcement Officer may commence a summary proceeding by issuing or filing a citation without prior issuance of a notice of a violation when the Code Enforcement Officer personally observes violations of any of the following sections of the International Property Maintenance Code:
(a) 
Section 302.4 or its successor dealing with maintenance of property free from weeds;
(b) 
Section 302.8 or its successors dealing with maintenance of unregistered and uninspected vehicles or vehicles in a state of major disassembly;
(c) 
Section 308 or its successors dealing with the accumulation and disposal of garbage and rubbish; and
[Amended 12-11-2017 by Ord. No. 894]
(d) 
Chapter 704 or their successors dealing with maintaining operational smoke detectors.
[Amended 12-11-2017 by Ord. No. 894]
(3) 
For purposes of enforcing these sections, the Code Enforcement Officer shall be deemed a law enforcement officer under and pursuant to the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure.
C. 
Prosecution. In case any violation order is not promptly complied with, the code official may request the Borough Solicitor to institute an appropriate action or proceeding to exact the penalty provided in Subsection B. Also, the code official may ask the Borough Solicitor to proceed at law or in equity against the person responsible for the violation for the purpose of ordering that person to:
(1) 
Restrain, correct or remove the violation or refrain from any further execution of work or use of equipment.
(2) 
Restrain or correct the erection, installation or alteration of such premises, structure or use of equipment.
(3) 
Require the removal of work in violation.
(4) 
Prevent the occupation or use of the equipment, premises, 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 specification under which an approval, permit or certificate was issued.
D. 
Liens. Should any owner, operator or manager fail to perform actions required on a property under this Chapter 112 and should the Borough perform any of such actions, the Borough shall be entitled to lien the property for its costs and fees in accordance with the Municipal Claims Act of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,[1] applicable Pennsylvania law, and the ordinances of the Borough of Columbia.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 53 P.S. § 7101 et seq.
A. 
General. When a structure or part thereof is found by the code official to be unsafe or when a structure or part thereof is found unfit for human occupancy or uses or is found unlawful, it shall be condemned by the code official pursuant to the provisions of this code and shall be placarded and vacated. It shall not be reoccupied without approval of the code official. Unsafe equipment shall be placarded and placed out of service.
B. 
Definitions. As used in this section, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
STRUCTURE UNFIT FOR HUMAN OCCUPANCY
A structure is unfit for human occupancy or use whenever the code official finds that it is unsafe or unlawful or because of the degree in which it lacks maintenance or is in disrepair is unsanitary, vermin- or rat-infested, contains filth and contamination or lacks ventilation, illumination, sanitary or heating facilities or other essential equipment required by this code or because its location constitutes a hazard to its occupants or to the public.
UNLAWFUL STRUCTURE
A structure which is found to be occupied by more persons than permitted under this code or which was erected, altered or occupied contrary to law.
UNSAFE EQUIPMENT
Includes any boiler, heating equipment, elevator, moving stairway, electrical wiring or device, flammable liquid containers or other equipment on the premises or within the structure which is in such disrepair or condition that it is a hazard to life, health, property or safety of the public or occupants of the premises or structure.
UNSAFE STRUCTURE
A structure in which all or part thereof is found to:
(1) 
Be dangerous to life, health, property or the safety of the public or its occupants;
(2) 
Not provide minimum safeguards for protection from fire;
(3) 
Contain unsafe equipment; or
(4) 
Be so damaged, decayed, dilapidated, structurally unsafe or of such faulty construction or unstable foundation that partial or complete collapse is likely.
C. 
Condemnation process. When a premises or structure or part thereof is found by the code official to contain unsafe equipment, to be unsafe, to be unfit for human occupancy or to be unlawful, the code official shall post a placard on the premises or structure or on the equipment, which placard shall bear the word "condemned" and a statement of the penalties provided for any occupancy or use or for removing the placard.
(1) 
Notice of condemnation. When the code official has condemned a premises or structure or equipment under Subsection C of this code, the code official shall give notice to the owner or person responsible and to the occupant of the premises, structure or equipment in the manner prescribed below.
(2) 
Form and manner of notice. The notice required by Subsection C(1) shall:
(a) 
Be in writing;
(b) 
Include a description of the real estate sufficient for identification;
(c) 
Include a statement of the reason or reasons why it is being issued;
(d) 
Include a correction order allowing a reasonable time for the repairs and improvements required to bring the dwelling unit, structure or premises into compliance with the provisions of this code;
(e) 
Set forth a reasonable time set by the code official within which all occupants of the premises or structure must vacate the premises; and
(f) 
Include an explanation of the owner's right to seek modification or withdrawal of the notice to the review and appeals board.
(3) 
Service. Such notice shall be deemed to be properly served upon such owner, responsible person or occupant if a copy thereof is delivered personally; or by leaving the notice at the usual place of abode, in the presence of someone in the family of suitable age and discretion who shall be informed of the contents thereof; or by certified or registered mail addressed to the owner, responsible person or occupant at the last known address, with return receipt requested; or, if the certified or registered letter is returned with a receipt showing that it has not been delivered, by posting a copy thereof in a conspicuous place in or about the structure or premises affected by such notice or on the equipment, and at least one publication of such notice in a local newspaper of general circulation in the Borough.
D. 
Vacating condemned properties. All occupants of a structure or premises which shall have been condemned shall remove themselves within the time set by the code official for vacation of the structure or premises.
E. 
Closing of condemned properties. Upon condemnation of a structure or premises, the code official may order the structure or premises closed. Such order may require the owner of the structure or premises to make every exterior window, door and basement or cellar door and hatchway rodentproof and locked and reasonably weathertight and watertight. Where such means have been insufficient to prevent unauthorized entry, barricading or boarding-up of doors, windows or other exterior openings in the structure or premises may be required. Upon failure of the owner to close the structure or premises within the time specified in the order, the code official may cause it to be closed through any available public agency or by contract or arrangement with private persons, and the cost thereof shall be charged against the real estate upon which the structure or premises is located and shall be a lien upon such real estate.
F. 
Prohibited use. Any person who shall occupy a placarded premises or structure or part thereof or shall use placarded equipment and any owner or any person responsible for the structure, premises or equipment who shall allow anyone to occupy a placarded premises or structure or who shall allow anyone to use placarded equipment shall be liable for the penalties provided by this code.
G. 
Removal of placard. The code official shall remove the condemnation placard whenever the defect or defects upon which the condemnation and placard action were based have been eliminated. Any person who defaces or removes a condemnation placard without the approval of the code official shall be subject to the penalties provided by this code.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Former § 30-10, Emergency orders, which immediately followed this section, was repealed 8-23-1999 by Ord. No. 681.
A. 
General. The code official, when required by Section 110 of the Property Maintenance Code, and in compliance therewith, shall enter orders for demolition.
[Amended 8-23-1999 by Ord. No. 681]
B. 
Unreasonable repairs. Whenever the code official, Borough Council and necessary consultants determine that the cost of such repairs would exceed 100% of the current value of such structure, such repairs shall be presumed unreasonable and it shall be presumed for the purpose of this section that such structure is a public nuisance which may be ordered razed without option on the part of the owner to repair.
C. 
Order. The order shall specify a time in which the owner shall comply therewith and shall specify repairs, if any. It shall be served on the owner of record or an agent where an agent is in charge of the building and upon the holder of any encumbrance of record in the manner provided for service of a summons by a court of record. If the owner or a holder of an encumbrance of record cannot be found, the order shall be served by posting it on the main entrance of the structure and by publishing it once each week for three successive weeks in a local newspaper of general circulation in the Borough.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection D, Restraining actions, which immediately followed this subsection, was repealed 8-23-1999 by Ord. No. 681.
D. 
Failure to comply. Whenever the owner of a property fails to comply with a demolition order within the time prescribed, the code official shall cause the structure or part thereof to be razed and removed, either through an available public agency or by contract or arrangement with private persons, and the cost of such razing and removal shall be charged against the real estate upon which the structure is located and shall be a lien upon such real estate.
A. 
Review and Appeals Board.
(1) 
Creation. There shall be and is hereby created a Review and Appeals Board, referred to herein as the "Board."
(2) 
Membership.
[Amended 8-15-1991 by Ord. No. 634; 8-23-1999 by Ord. No. 681;[1] 6-14-2004 by Ord. No. 734; 8-13-2018 by Ord. No. 900]
(a) 
The Board shall consist of three members who are qualified by experience and training to pass on matters pertaining to property maintenance who shall serve staggered terms of five years, as set forth in Subsection A(2)(b) below.
(b) 
Additionally, Borough Council may appoint up to two alternate members of the Board who may be called by the Board chairman during the absence or disqualification of a member. Alternate members shall possess the same qualifications required for Board membership and shall be appointed for five years or until a successor has been appointed. None of the members of the Board are required to be residents of the Borough of Columbia. No fee of more than $50 per meeting per member of the Board shall be paid by the Borough to any Board member. Said fee may be changed by resolution of the Borough Council of the Borough of Columbia from time to time. The Board shall annually select one of its members to serve as chairman. Members shall not hear an appeal in which that member has a personal, professional or financial interest. The chairman shall designate one member to serve as secretary of the Board. The secretary shall keep detailed records of all proceedings. The initial members of the Board shall be appointed as follows: one for five years, one for four years, and one for three years. Thereafter, each new member shall serve for five years or until a successor has been appointed.
[1]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection A(3), Vote; Subsection A(4), Financial interest; and Subsection A(5), Rule-making authority, which immediately followed this subsection, were repealed 8-23-1999 by Ord. No. 681.
(3) 
Records. The Board shall keep minutes of its proceedings and records of official actions.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection A(7), Authority and powers, as amended, which immediately followed this subsection, was repealed 8-23-1999 by Ord. No. 681.
B. 
The Board shall meet upon notice from the Chairman, within 10 days of the filing of an appeal. Said hearing may be held during a stated periodic meeting of the Board. All hearings before the Board shall be open to the public. The appellant, the appellant's representative, the Code Official and any person whose interests are affected shall be given an opportunity to be heard. The Board shall adopt and make available to the public through the Secretary procedures under which a hearing will be conducted. The procedures shall not require compliance with strict rules of evidence but shall mandate that only relevant information be received. When five members are not present to hear an appeal, either the appellant or the appellant's representative shall have the right to request a postponement of the hearing. The Board shall modify or reverse the decision of the Code Official upon a concurring vote of three members. The decision of the Board shall be by resolution. Certified copies shall be furnished to the appellant and to the Code Official. The Code Official shall take immediate action in accordance with the decision of the Board.
[Amended 8-15-1991 by Ord. No. 634; 8-23-1999 by Ord. No. 681[3]; 6-14-2004 by Ord. No. 734]
[3]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also deleted former Subsection C, Hearing, as amended, which immediately followed this subsection.
C. 
If at any time the appeals process set forth herein or in the Code and/or Act is undertaken by the Borough of Columbia jointly with one or more municipalities, the required Board of Appeals shall be established and operated by joint action of the participating municipalities in accordance with the terms of the Act and Code.
[Added 6-14-2004 by Ord. No. 734]