City of Lancaster, PA
Lancaster County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Lancaster 3-27-2018 by Ord. No. 06-2018.[1] Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Building construction and floodplain management — See Ch. 109.
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 116.
Fire prevention — See Ch. 142.
Housing — See Ch. 169.
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former Ch. 223, Property Maintenance, adopted 6-10-2008 by Ord. No. 8-2008, as amended.
It is the intent and purpose of this chapter to adopt a modern property maintenance code which will prescribe effective standards and minimum requirements for the safeguarding of persons and buildings located in the City of Lancaster ("City") and protect the public health and safety of citizens and visitors against the hazards of inadequate, defective or unsafe existing structures.
In accordance with Section 608 of the Optional Third Class City Charter Law, 53 P.S. § 41608, 53 P.S. § 41101 et seq., and the Third Class City Code, 11 Pa.C.S.A. § 10101 et seq., there is hereby adopted by the City that certain 2015 International Property Maintenance Code as published by the International Code Council, Inc., and all of its incorporated standards and codes, if any, as amended or republished from time to time, by the International Code Council, Inc. (the "Property Maintenance Code"), for the purpose of prescribing specifications and regulations to ensure the structural safety of buildings and housing within the City, as therein and herein provided, save and except such provisions which are in conflict with state law. The adopted aforesaid Property Maintenance Code and its incorporated standards and codes hereby adopted are incorporated herein by reference as if set out at length. Copies of the Property Maintenance Code are on file in the offices of the City Clerk and the code official, where they are available for public examination. The provisions set forth in this chapter of the Code of the City of Lancaster and the Property Maintenance Code adopted herein shall be controlling within the limits of the City.
The following sections of the 2015 International Property Maintenance Code, as adopted herein, are added, amended or deleted as hereinafter indicated:
A. 
Section 101.1 is amended to read as follows:
101.1 Title. These regulations shall be known as the Property Maintenance Code of The City of Lancaster, hereinafter referred to as "this code."
B. 
Section 102.3 is amended to read as follows:
102.3 Application of other codes. Repairs, additions or alterations to a structure, or changes of occupancy, shall be done in accordance with the procedures and provisions of the International Building Code, International Residential Code, International Plumbing Code, International Fuel Gas Code, International Mechanical Code and the National Electrical Code and any and all code referenced standards as adopted by Pennsylvania and the City. Nothing in this code shall be construed to cancel, modify or set aside any provisions of the Zoning Ordinance of the City of Lancaster.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 300, Zoning.
C. 
Section 102.6 is amended to read as follows:
102.6 Historic buildings. The provisions of this code shall apply to existing buildings or structures designated as "historic" by governmental agencies; however, the code official shall not have the authority to waive or impose any requirement regarding historical structures that would be in conflict with requirements regarding historical structures as set forth in the ordinances of the City of Lancaster.
D. 
Section 103.1 is amended to read as follows:
103.1 General. The Bureau of Code Compliance and Inspections is responsible for enforcing the provisions of the Property Maintenance Code, and the executive official in charge thereof is the Director of Economic Development and Neighborhood Revitalization, hereinafter wards known as "Director."
E. 
Section 103.2 is amended to read as follows:
103.2 Designation. The Director shall be hired and/or designated by the Mayor of the City of Lancaster.
F. 
Section 103.3 is amended to read as follows:
103.3 Deputies and enforcement powers. In accordance with the prescribed laws and policies and procedures applicable to the City, with the consent of the Mayor of the City, the Director shall have the authority to designate deputy directors, bureau chiefs, other related technical officers, inspectors and other employees to act as code officials and enforce the provisions of the Property Maintenance Code. When acting within the scope of their appointment, they shall have the power of a police officer of the City of Lancaster, Pennsylvania; provided, however, that under no circumstances shall they have the power of arrest.
G. 
Section 103.5 is amended to read as follows:
103.5 Fees. The fees for activities and services performed by the Bureau of Code Compliance and Inspections in carrying out its responsibilities under this code shall be as is set forth in a resolution of City Council, which fees may be changed from time to time by resolution of the City Council of the City of Lancaster.
H. 
Section 106.3 is amended to read as follows:
106.3. Prosecution of violation.
1. Any person failing to comply with a notice of violation or order served in accordance with Section 107 shall be deemed guilty of a criminal or civil infraction as set forth hereinafter and as determined in accordance with applicable law, and the violation shall be deemed a strict liability offense. If the notice of violation is not complied with, the code official may institute the appropriate proceeding at law or in equity to restrain, correct or abate such violation, or to require the removal or termination of the unlawful occupancy of the structure in violation of the provision of this code or of the order or direction made pursuant thereto, including, without limitation, having the unlawful occupancy cured by the staff of the City itself. In the instance that the City performs any services to remedy an unlawful occupancy of a structure pursuant hereto, the City may take any and all action available at law and in equity to recover its costs for performing the same, including imposing a lien on the subject real estate for the costs thereof in accordance with applicable law.
2. In addition to any other section or remedial procedure provided, whoever violates any provision of this code shall, upon conviction thereof in a summary proceeding, be fined not less than $100 and not more than $1,000 for the first offense, not less than $200 and not more than $1,000 for the second offense, and not less than $300 and not more than $1,000 for the third and all succeeding offenses and costs of prosecution for each offense, to be collected as other fines and costs are by law collectible, and in default of payment thereof shall be imprisoned for not more than 90 days.
3. In the case of a continual and uncorrected violation of the same subsection(s) of this code, a fine, not exceeding one per month on a single property and not less than $300 nor more than $2,000 shall be imposed for the first two continual and uncorrected violations and not less than $2,000 nor more than $5,000 for the third and any subsequent continual and uncorrected violations of the same subsection of this code on the same property, unless the violation is found to pose a threat to the public's health, safety or property, then, upon conviction thereof, penalties of fines shall be imposed as follows:
(a) Not exceeding one citation per five calendar days for a continual and uncorrected violation of the same subsection(s) of this code on the same property;
(b) Limited to not less than $600 and not more than $2,000 for the first two continual and uncorrected violations of the same subsection(s) of this code on the same property and not less than $1,000 and not more than $10,000 for the third and any subsequent continual and uncorrected violations of the same subsection(s) of this code on the same property, or imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or both.
4. The code official may issue citations to the owners or persons responsible for a structure or property for failure to comply with a notice of violation following the expiration of the time established for filing an appeal or following the hearing of an appeal by the Board of Housing Appeals.
5. Notwithstanding the foregoing and as an additional remedy, the City may issue an administrative ticket and follow the enforcement provisions set forth in Ordinance No. 2-2008, adopted March 25, 2008, as amended.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 293, Violation Tickets.
I. 
Section 107.1 is amended by adding the following Section 107.1.1:
107.1.1. Exceptions.
1. Notice requirements shall not apply to an owner or operator of a rooming house, hotel, or multifamily dwelling required to be registered and licensed by this code, when such owner or operator has not duly registered such rooming house, hotel, or multifamily dwelling or failed to secure the necessary City of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, housing license. When an owner or operator of a rooming house, hotel or multifamily dwelling has failed to register and obtain the required license for a rooming house, hotel, or multifamily dwelling, the code official may commence prosecution for such failure and for any other violation of this code without issuing the notice provided for in this section.
2. Notice requirements shall not apply to the owner or operator of a one-family or two-family dwelling required to be registered as rental properties by this code when such owner or operator has not duly registered such one-family or two-family dwelling. When an owner or operator has failed to register and obtain the required license for a one-family or two-family dwelling as required by this code, the code official may commence prosecution for such failure and for any other violations of this code without issuing the notice provided for in this section.
J. 
Section 108.4.1 is amended to read as follows:
108.4.1 Placard removal. The code official shall authorize the owner or responsible agent to remove the condemnation placard when all violations of this Property Maintenance Code have been corrected or eliminated and the violator has paid to the City the condemnation lift fee established by resolution of City Council in accordance with the terms of this code. Any person who defaces or removes a condemnation placard without the approval of the code official shall be subject to the penalties for violations of this code as provided herein.
K. 
Section 109.5 is amended to read as follows:
109.5 Costs of emergency repairs. Costs incurred in the performance of emergency work may be paid by the City. In the instance that emergency work is performed by the City, the City may take any and all action available at law and in equity to recover the same, including imposing a lien on the subject real estate for the costs thereof in accordance with applicable law.
L. 
Section 111.1 is amended by modifying the time period for filing an appeal from 20 days after the day the decision, notice or order was served to "10 days after the day the decision, notice or order was served."
M. 
The following Section 111.1.1 is hereby added:
111.1.1 Form of approval. All written appeals referenced in Section 111.1 shall be on the forms for same provided by the Director.
N. 
The following Section 111.1.2 is hereby added:
111.1.2 Fees for filing appeals as established by resolution of City Council in accordance with the provisions hereof shall be paid in advance for each appeal taken hereby. Further, the Board of Housing Appeals (the "Board") may require the party bringing the appeal to pay any costs associated with hearing the appeal, including, but not limited to, advertising and stenographic services (where appropriate), whether the Board partially or fully upholds the code official's issuance of the appealed notice of violation.
O. 
Section 111.2 and Sections 111.2.1 through 111.5 be and hereby are deleted and are replaced with the following Sections 111.2 and 111.2.1:
111.2 Membership Board. The Mayor shall appoint a Board of Housing Appeals consisting of five members and an alternate member, who shall be residents of the City. At all meetings of the Board, a majority of the Board members and/or an alternate shall constitute a quorum (as such, a quorum shall be three members of the Board or two members plus the alternate). Members so appointed shall have experience in one of the following areas: building design, construction or maintenance, real property sales, inspection, insurance, or the provision or preservation of housing, commercial or industrial property. In addition, an attorney licensed with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is qualified for membership. The members who are first appointed shall serve for terms of one, two, three and four years, respectively, from the date of their appointment, as shall be specified at the time of their appointment. Thereafter, the term of office shall be four years. The member to serve as alternate shall be designated at the time of appointment. A member shall hold office until a successor has been appointed. The members shall select among themselves a Chairman and a Vice Chairman. The alternate member shall attend the meetings of the Board and act in the place of any absent member, as provided by law.
111.2.1 Powers. The Board of Housing Appeals is a board of limited powers. Although its function is primarily to provide for reasonable interpretation of the provisions of this Property Maintenance Code, the Board shall have the power to make variances and grant extensions of time in cases where strict enforcement of this Property Maintenance Code would cause undue or unnecessary hardship. The Board may, in specific cases, authorize such variances to the provisions and requirements of this Property Maintenance Code as will not be contrary to the public interest.
1. In applying to the Board for such variance, the applicant must show:
(a) That his property was acquired in good faith.
(b) That by reasons of existing topographic conditions, or by reason of other peculiar and exceptional conditions, pertaining to a specific piece of property, literal enforcement of the provisions or requirements of this Property Maintenance Code would cause undue or unnecessary hardship. A claim or even proof merely of a more profitable use, if the variance were granted, is not in itself evidence of such hardship.
2. No variance to the provisions or requirements of this Property Maintenance Code shall be authorized by the Board unless the Board finds that all the following facts and conditions of unnecessary hardship exist:
(a) The hardship arises from unique circumstances applying to the applicant's property which are not the general condition in the neighborhood.
(b) The hardship is not self-inflicted by the applicant.
(c) The strict application of the provisions of this Property Maintenance Code would impose an unreasonable restraint or unnecessary hardship on the use of the property inconsistent with the general purpose and intent of this Property Maintenance Code.
(d) The granting of the variance will not create or cause an adverse effect on any adjacent property.
P. 
Section 111.6 is amended to read as follows:
111.6 Board decision. In deciding the appeals brought before it, the Board may reverse or affirm, in whole or in part, or may modify the order, requirement, decision, or determination appealed from and may make such order, requirement, decision or determination as ought to be made.
Q. 
Section 111.7 is amended to read as follows:
111.7 Court review. Any person aggrieved by any decision of the Board, or any taxpayer or any officer, department or bureau of the City, may appeal the Board's decision to the Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, by a petition duly verified setting forth that such decision is illegal in whole or in part, specifying the grounds of illegality, which petition must be presented to the court within 30 days after the filing of the decision by the Board.
R. 
The following Section 111.9 is hereby added:
111.9 Additional duties. The Board shall perform such other duties periodically assigned to it by City Council of the City and shall perform the additional duty of hearing appeals from initial notices of blight issued by the Lancaster Property Reinvestment Board as provided by Ordinance 14-1991 of the City of Lancaster adopted May 28, 1991, as amended from time to time.
S. 
Section 112.2, Issuance, is amended by adding to the end of the section:
"Service of a stop-work order shall include posting of the property by placard."
T. 
Section 112.4 is amended to read as follows:
112.4 Failure to comply. Any person who shall continue any work after having been served with a stop-work order, except such work as that person is directed to perform to remove a violation or unsafe condition, shall be liable for a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $1,000. Each day that a violation continues to exist shall be deemed a separate offense.
U. 
Section 202 is hereby amended by deleting, modifying or adding the following definitions:
FAMILY. Includes:
One or more persons related by blood (within and including the degree of first cousin), marriage or adoption, including foster children, living together in a single housekeeping unit and sharing all of the facilities of that unit in common;
Not more than two unrelated persons, including persons related to either/or both of them by blood (within and including the degree of first cousin) or adoption, and including foster children; provided, however, that they live together in a single housekeeping unit and share all of the facilities of that in common.
HOTEL. A commercial lodging establishment that offers units for sleeping purposes to transient guests and which provides twenty-four-hour service for receiving and assisting guests.
MULTIFAMILY DWELLING. A building containing three or more dwelling units.
The definitions of "Housekeeping Unit" and "Sleeping Unit" are deleted.
V. 
Section 302.4 is amended to read as follows:
302.4 Weeds. All premises and exterior property shall be maintained free from weeds or plant growth in excess of six inches. All noxious weeds shall be prohibited. Weeds shall be defined as all grasses, annual plants and vegetation, other than trees or shrubs, provided; however, this term shall not include cultivated flowers and gardens.
Upon failure of the owner or agent having charge of a property to cut and destroy weeds after service of a notice of violation, they shall be subject to prosecution in accordance with Section 106.3 and as prescribed by the authority having jurisdiction. Upon failure to comply with the notice of violation, any duly authorized employee of the jurisdiction shall be authorized to enter upon the property in violation and cut and destroy the weeds growing thereon, and the costs of such removal shall be paid by the owner or agent responsible for the property.
W. 
Section 302.8 is amended by changing the words "other regulations" in the first sentence to "other ordinances and regulations of the City."
X. 
Section 302.8.1 is added as follows:
302.8.1 No off street parking of any motor vehicle or recreational vehicle shall be permitted on an unimproved yard surface as determined by the City Zoning Officer or Stormwater Program Manager.
Y. 
The following Section 302.10 is added:
302.10 Use and storage of furniture. Other than furniture contained within a structure, use or storage of furniture which is not designed or constructed for exterior use is prohibited in property exterior areas.
Z. 
Section 304.14 is amended to be applicable during the period of April 1 through October 31 of each year.
AA. 
Section 308.2 is amended by adding "and garbage" after the term "rubbish" in all instances where the "rubbish" occurs.
BB. 
Section 308.2.1 is deleted.
CC. 
Sections 308.3 through 308.3.2 are deleted.
DD. 
The first sentence of Section 602.3 is amended to read as follows: "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, requiring said owner or operator to furnish heat to the occupants thereof shall supply heat during the period from October 1 to May 1 sufficient to maintain a temperature of not less than 68° F. (20° C.) in all habitable rooms, bathrooms, and toilet rooms."
EE. 
Section 602.3.3 is added as follows:
3. Portable heating appliances shall be prohibited from meeting the heat supply requirement.
FF. 
Section 604.2 is amended by replacing the reference to 60 amperes with "100 amperes."
GG. 
Section 704.2.1 is amended by deleting Exceptions 1 through 3.
HH. 
Section 704.2.1.2 is amended by deleting items 1 through 3 and inserting the following language: "1. On the ceiling or wall outside of each sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of sleeping rooms; within each sleeping room; on each level of the dwelling unit, including the basement and attic spaces with stairway access; and in each habitable room, with the exception of kitchens and bathrooms. Crawl spaces are exempt."
II. 
Section 704.2.3, Power source, is amended by adding the following language to Exceptions 1 through 3: "All battery-operated smoke alarms shall be ten-year tamperproof, lithium-battery operated. Smoke alarms in basements with unfinished ceilings shall be 110-volt listed smoke alarms with battery backup."
JJ. 
Chapter 7 is amended by adding the following section:
SECTION 705
CARBON MONOXIDE ALARMS
705.1. Listed alarm devices designed to detect carbon monoxide gas infiltration into rental dwelling units shall be installed within 180 days of date of this code adoption and maintained in compliance with the manufacturer's installation instructions, in an operable condition, when the following conditions are present:
1. Any time a fossil fuel appliance (gas or fuel oil) is present in the dwelling unit.
2. Any time a dwelling unit has an attached garage.
705.2 Location. A minimum of one carbon monoxide alarm shall be installed and maintained outside the immediate vicinity of sleeping rooms. If sleeping rooms are on multiple levels, then each level shall have at least one alarm device.
Nothing herein or in the herefor adapted International Property Maintenance Code of 2015 or in any incorporated codes or standards shall be construed to affect any suit or proceeding pending in any court or any rights acquired, or liabilities occurred, or any case or courses of action acquired or existing, by any act or ordinance repealed hereby, nor shall any just or legal right or remedy of any character be lost, impaired or affected by this chapter.