City of Rochester, NY
Monroe County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Amended 12-23-1980 by Ord. No. 80-554; 2-10-1981 by Ord. No. 81-45; 2-24-1981 by Ord. No. 81-55; 2-7-1984 by Ord. No. 84-40; 12-18-1984 by Ord. No. 84-472; 1-29-1985 by Ord. No. 85-34; 2-19-1985 by Ord. No. 85-63; 6-27-1985 by Ord. No. 85-263; 5-27-1986 by Ord. No. 86-162; 2-27-1990 by Ord. No. 90-59; 4-11-1990 by Ord. No. 90-109; 10-23-1990 by Ord. No. 90-429; 4-30-1991 by Ord. No. 91-159; 11-19-1991 by Ord. No. 91-499; 6-16-1992 by Ord. No. 92-247; 10-13-1992 by Ord. No. 92-372; 9-21-1993 by Ord. No. 93-315; 5-14-1996 by Ord. No. 96-137; 5-13-1997 by Ord. No. 97-165; 8-11-1998 by Ord. No. 98-336; 11-19-2002 by Ord. No. 2002-354; 7-22-2003 by Ord. No. 2003-233]
This chapter shall be known as the "Property Conservation Code of the City of Rochester, New York."
The City of Rochester has numerous residential, commercial and industrial buildings, which are substantially sound and habitable structures providing decent housing resources for residents and businesses in the City. The City also has vacant areas and lots. Their condition and maintenance are vital to the protection and enhancement of the well being of residents and businesses in adjacent residential neighborhoods and commercial and industrial areas. In order to conserve these valuable property resources in the City, to enhance the residential neighborhoods of the City and protect the safety, health and welfare of the persons who live, work and recreate in the City, the provisions of this code are established. In conforming with the several provisions of the code, the City of Rochester encourages use of techniques which will promote and encourage conservation of energy and other natural resources.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
COMMISSIONER
The Commissioner of Neighborhood and Business Development of the City of Rochester or legally designated representative.
[Amended 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]
DEPARTMENT
The Department of Neighborhood and Business Development of the City of Rochester.[1]
[Amended 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]
DIRECTOR
The Director of Buildings and Zoning or legally designated representative.
[Added 6-20-2017 by Ord. No. 2017-170]
EXIT
A way of departure on foot from the interior of a building or structure to the exterior at street or grade, including doorways, passageways, hallways, corridors, stairways, ramps, fire escapes and all other elements necessary for egress or escape.
GRADE
When a curb level has been established, "grade" is curb level. When a curb level has not been established or when the natural ground surface at the building is at a different level than the curb level, "grade" is, with respect to a building, the average ground elevation adjoining the building.
JUNKED VEHICLE
Any vehicle, including a trailer, which is without a currently valid license plate or plates and which is in a state of major disassembly, disrepair, or in the process of being stripped or dismantled. The Director or Commissioner or their designee shall make the final determination of whether a vehicle is a "junked vehicle" as defined herein.
MIXED OCCUPANCY
Occupancy of a building in part for residential use and in part for some other use not accessory thereto.
MULTIPLE DWELLING
A dwelling which is designed or intended to be occupied, or is occupied, as a temporary or permanent residence or home of three or more families living independently of each other, including but not limited to the following: a tenement, flat house, maisonette apartment, apartment house, apartment hotel, tourist house, bachelor apartment, studio apartment, duplex apartment, kitchenette apartment, hotel, lodging house, rooming house, boardinghouse, boarding and nursery school, furnished-room house, club-sorority house, fraternity house, college and school dormitory, or convalescent, old-age or nursing home or residence. It shall also include a dwelling two or more stories in height and with five or more boarders, roomers or lodgers residing with any one family.[2]
UNLICENSED VEHICLE
Any vehicle which does not display a current valid license or registration.
[1]
Editor's Note: The former definition of "Director," as amended, which immediately followed this definition, was repealed 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179.
[2]
Editor's Note: The former definition of "NSC," as amended, which immediately followed this definition, was repealed 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179.
[Amended 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]
The Commissioner shall, consistent with the express standards, purposes and intent of this chapter, promulgate, adopt and issue such interpretations, procedural rules, regulations and forms, and amendments thereto, as are in the Commissioner's opinion necessary to effective administration and enforcement of the provisions of this chapter. These interpretations, rules, regulations and forms shall be available to the public at the office of the Commissioner. Such rules, regulations and forms shall be effective upon filing with the City Clerk, as a communication to City Council.
A. 
The Property Maintenance Code of New York State shall be applicable in the City of Rochester to all existing land and structures and shall be enforced pursuant to Article IV of this chapter.
[Amended 3-22-2011 by Ord. No. 2011-60]
B. 
This chapter shall apply to the following premises within the City of Rochester:
(1) 
Lots, plots or parcels of land which are vacant or upon which buildings used for dwellings, mixed occupancy, commercial, industrial or storage uses, whether occupied or vacant, are located.
(2) 
Residential dwellings, including private dwellings and multiple dwellings, unless specifically excluded.
(3) 
Buildings of mixed occupancy, occupied in whole or in part.
(4) 
Commercial, industrial and storage buildings.
(5) 
Vacant residential, mixed-occupancy, commercial, industrial and storage buildings.
(6) 
Residential, mixed-occupancy, commercial, industrial and storage buildings which are under construction or demolition, including buildings not completed, to the extent that a nuisance or practice exists, or is being carried out, which is a disturbance to the public health, safety or welfare.
(7) 
Accessory structures, accessory to dwellings, commercial, industrial or vacant buildings.
(8) 
Parking lots.
(9) 
Junkyards.
(10) 
Treelawns, which are defined as the area between the sidewalk and the curb.
[Added 3-18-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-88]
C. 
Existing buildings and their accompanying yards shall be maintained in conformance with this chapter and the Life Safety Code (Chapter 101, NFPA) and its latest amendments. This chapter shall exclude public streets and rights-of-way.
The provisions of this chapter shall be read together with other laws, ordinances, codes or regulations. In the event of a conflict between this chapter and other chapters of the City Code, that provision that provides a greater level of safety shall apply.
Installations, alterations and repairs to buildings and materials, and related assemblies and equipment shall also be in conformity with the applicable provisions of the Rochester Building Code, the Fire Prevention Code and the Zoning Code of the City of Rochester,[1] with the Multiple Residence Law of the State of New York, and with any other applicable state or local law, ordinance or regulation.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 120, Zoning.
A. 
Liquid-fuel room heaters. Portable room heaters utilizing liquid fuels are prohibited.
B. 
All warm-air heat systems shall have adequate cold-air returns. If basement cold air is utilized, it must be filtered.
A. 
General requirements. Existing electrical fixtures, devices, wiring and systems shall be maintained in safe working condition and in a manner which will avoid a potential source of ignition or shock and shall be properly connected to an adequate source of electric power. Any alterations shall comply with the requirements of the National Electrical Code (National Fire Protection Association NFPA 70, as adopted in Section 2701.1 of the New York State Building Code) and/or the Building Code of the City of Rochester in existence at the time the work is performed. Fixed wiring, equipment, fixtures and devices shall be firmly secured to the surface on which they are mounted. Electrical wiring and equipment shall be protected against excessive current demands by properly rated over-current devices installed in approved locations. All panelboards shall be kept free from encumbrances and shall be accessible to occupants or a resident manager at all times.
[Amended 11-23-2004 by Ord. No. 2004-369]
B. 
Additional residential requirements.
(1) 
General.
(a) 
Each living unit with less than 500 square feet shall have at least one fifteen-ampere circuit. For each additional 800 square feet or fraction thereof, one additional fifteen-ampere circuit shall be provided. A separate twenty-ampere circuit shall be required within kitchen areas in an appropriate and accessible location for electrical appliances.
(b) 
Any living unit containing one or more of the following, or similar major electric appliances: electric range, electric clothes dryer, electric water heater, electric space heater, electric-powered washing machine, dishwasher and/or garbage disposal, shall have separate circuits of suitable size and capacity to provide for such equipment.
(c) 
Any heating system must be installed on an individual circuit.
(2) 
Single and multiple dwellings.
(a) 
Existing single-family dwellings. An existing single-family dwelling containing not more than six branch circuits shall have a minimum service capacity of 110 volts, sixty-ampere service. However, if any additional wiring is required in the system, the service capacity must be upgraded to at least 220 volts, 100 amperes.
(b) 
Two-, three- and four-family-dwelling structures.
[1] 
The following service capacities are required for structures containing two, three or four dwelling units.
[a] 
Two-family dwelling: 220 volts, 150 amperes.
[b] 
Three-family dwelling: 220 volts, 200 amperes.
[c] 
Four-family dwelling: 220 volts, 200 amperes.
[2] 
In a two-, three- or four-family dwelling, because of particular electrical use, such as the presence of major electrical appliances or electrical heating facilities, the requirements for a minimum electrical service capacity of the National Electrical Code shall apply if calculated to be greater than those outlined above in Subsection B(2)(b)[1](a], [b] and [c].
(c) 
All structures containing five or more dwelling units shall be required to have an electrical service capacity calculated in accordance with the National Electrical Code requirements.
(d) 
In multiple dwellings having a single electrical meter, the service capacity shall be calculated in accordance with the National Electrical Code requirements.
(e) 
The electrical capacity for stores and businesses in mixed-occupancy structures shall be computed independently of dwelling units within the structure.
(3) 
At least one grounded-type receptacle shall be provided within six feet of all laundry facilities. Adapters shall not be used.
(4) 
Unless otherwise permitted in this subsection, when additional electrical outlets are required they shall be installed on new circuits that meet the requirements of the National Electrical Code in force at the time of installation. However, taps from existing circuits may be allowed if such existing circuits meet the requirements of the National Electrical Code as to the following:
(a) 
Loads.
(b) 
Deterioration of conductors.
(c) 
Proper separation of branch circuits.
(d) 
Proper fill of boxes, etc.
(e) 
Proper installation of said branch circuit(s) wiring methods.
(f) 
Proper installation of conductors.
(5) 
With the exception of electrical work in an owner-occupied single-family home, all electrical work must be installed by a licensed electrician. Electrical work shall be installed in a neat and workmanlike manner.
(6) 
All installations of electrical equipment require a permit and shall be inspected and approved by the City of Rochester or by the designated electrical inspection agencies.
(7) 
In multiple-family dwellings, all floors, treads or landings in public halls, stairways and main entrances shall be clearly illuminated with artificial light to avoid a safety hazard to occupants. Artificial lighting shall be made available to all tenants and guests and shall be connected to the owner's meter. Artificial lighting shall also be made available at all exterior entrance and exit doors.
(8) 
Every bathroom, toilet room, laundry room, furnace room, boiler room, interior stairway, public hall and kitchen shall contain at least one electrical lighting fixture.
(9) 
Every habitable space in a dwelling shall contain at least two separate and remote receptacle outlets.
(10) 
Extension cords, which are not part of a fixture, shall not be permitted on a permanent or semipermanent basis as part of a branch circuit or an extension thereof.
(11) 
Every bathroom shall contain at least one receptacle. Any new bathroom receptacle outlet shall have ground fault circuit interrupter protection.
[Amended 3-18-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-88]
A. 
In one- and/or two-family dwellings, where it has been demonstrated that third-floor occupancy commenced before January 1, 1984, hardwired interconnected smoke alarms shall be installed in the basement and in all common areas on each level which are audible throughout the entire structure, except that for buildings with no common areas, hardwired interconnected smoke alarms shall be installed in the basement and on each level.
B. 
In multiple dwellings with at least five dwelling units, hardwired interconnected smoke alarms shall be installed in the basement and the public hallways on each floor. This requirement shall be met before a certificate of occupancy is issued pursuant to § 90-16 of the Municipal Code. The installation of these alarms shall comply with the Fire Code of New York State.
C. 
In addition to the above, a smoke or heat alarm shall be installed in the nonresidential portion of a mixed-occupancy building containing five or more dwelling units to activate the alarms located in the public hallways on each floor of the residential portion of the building. This requirement shall be met before a certificate of occupancy is issued pursuant to § 90-16 of the Municipal Code.
A. 
In every two-family dwelling, mixed-occupancy dwelling containing two or more families, or multiple dwelling, storm windows, storm doors, band insulation and attic insulation shall be installed.
B. 
The above requirements shall be satisfied before a certificate of occupancy is issued for transfer of title to a new owner.
C. 
The weatherization materials and installation shall be subject to the approval of the Director or Commissioner and in accordance with standards developed by the Director or Commissioner.
A. 
In multiple dwellings, where the main entrance is equipped with separate bells to each dwelling unit, the main entrance shall remain locked.
B. 
In every multiple dwelling two or more stories in height, every door opening onto a public hall or stairway shall be equipped with self-closing devices.
C. 
Each such self-closing device shall be properly installed and maintained in good working order. A door so equipped shall be able, when released, to close and latch under its own power from a sixty-degree open position. Common screen door spring door closures shall not be used as self-closing devices.
[Amended 3-18-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-88]
In every multiple dwelling over one story in height, every apartment, dwelling unit and rooming unit that does not, for its exclusive use, have direct exit to a street shall have access to at least one additional exit separate from and independent of the primary interior stairway or fire tower, constructed in accordance with the Building Code of the City of Rochester. In multiple dwellings of less than five units and less than three stories in height, hardwired interconnected smoke alarms may be installed in the basement and in all common areas on each level of the structure in lieu of the required second means of egress.
[Amended 12-20-2005 by Ord. No. 2005-393; 3-18-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-88]
A. 
Windows doors and other openings used for ventilation shall be appropriately screened to prevent the entry of mosquitoes, flies and other flying insects.
B. 
The exterior portions of all premises shall be maintained free from weeds or plant growth in excess of 10 inches (254 mm). All noxious weeds shall be prohibited. Weeds shall be defined as all grasses, annual plants and vegetation, other than trees or shrubs, provided, however, that this term shall not include cultivated flowers and gardens.
[Added 3-22-2011 by Ord. No. 2011-60]
A. 
A junked vehicle shall not be parked, stored or left in the open unless it is necessary for the operation of a business enterprise lawfully situated on private property. Any other junked vehicle left in the open must be immediately removed from the property to an approved location.
B. 
Powers of the Commissioner. In addition to whatever powers the Commissioner has, the Commissioner is granted the following powers:
[Amended 10-21-2003 by Ord. No. 2003-343; 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]
(1) 
To administer § 1224 of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law with respect to abandoned vehicles left on private or city-owned property within the City of Rochester, excluding the public highways, city parking lots and garages.
(2) 
To implement the procedural requirements of Title 15, New York Codes, Rules and Regulations, Part 18 (Abandoned Vehicles), with respect to abandoned vehicles left on private or city-owned property within the City of Rochester, excluding the public highways, city parking lots and garages.
(3) 
To determine the value of vehicles utilizing such criteria as used-car valuation books and the physical and mechanical condition of the vehicle.
(4) 
To dispose of abandoned vehicles, whether through the Department, through contract or through the Chief of Police, provided that the disposal complies with the requirements of § 1224 of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law.
(5) 
To cause the removal of:
(a) 
Junked vehicles, as defined in § 90-3 of the Municipal Code, which are parked, stored or left in the open in violation of this section.
(b) 
Vehicles without current license plates parked or stored in violation of Municipal Code § 120-163D(1).
(6) 
To dispose of junked vehicles and unlicensed vehicles removed pursuant to this chapter, provided that the procedural requirements contained herein are complied with.
(7) 
To issue outdoor storage permits for unlicensed vehicles. The issuance of such permits shall be governed pursuant to the following:
(a) 
Not more than one vehicle per property shall be permitted, and a permitted vehicle must be a passenger vehicle.
(b) 
No permit shall be issued if there is an off-street parking deficiency.
(c) 
The vehicle shall be covered with a commercial, fitted car tarpaulin.
(d) 
The term of the permit shall be six months, renewable.
(e) 
The permit fee shall be $25.
(f) 
Unlicensed vehicles shall not be stored in any required parking space or in access to or maneuvering space for any required parking space or in any required open space, and storage of the vehicle shall otherwise comply with all requirements of the Zoning Code[1] and the remainder of the Municipal Code.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 120, Zoning.
(g) 
The vehicle shall be owned by the resident of the property, and proof of ownership and residency shall be provided at the time of application for the permit.
C. 
Procedural requirements relating to unlicensed, abandoned and junked vehicles.
[Amended 2-14-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-22; 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-176; 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]
(1) 
The Commissioner shall give the property owner and vehicle owner, if known, written notice of the violation and of the right to an administrative hearing by first-class mail with delivery confirmation sent to the property owner's address on file in the Bureau of Assessment and to the vehicle owner at his or her last known address, prior to causing the removal of any vehicle from private property. The notice shall give the property owner and vehicle owner, if known, 10 days from the date of mailing to request a hearing or remove the vehicle. The property owner and/or vehicle owner shall be permitted to be represented by counsel at the hearing, to submit evidence and summon witnesses on his or her behalf, to inspect documents and to cross-examine opposing witnesses. Compliance with the technical rules of evidence shall not be required. Failure to request a hearing or remove a vehicle within the designated time shall be deemed a waiver of rights and an authorization for the Commissioner to remove said vehicle in accordance with this section.
(2) 
The Commissioner and his or her employees are authorized to enter onto private property to conduct inspections and remove vehicles in accordance with this section and shall have the power to seek and obtain warrants where such are constitutionally required.
(3) 
The Commissioner may immediately remove any unlicensed, junked or abandoned vehicle left on City-owned property other than public highways, city parking lots and garages.
(4) 
Property and vehicle owner liability and disposition of vehicles removed by the Commissioner.
(a) 
The Commissioner shall deliver vehicles removed in accordance with this section to the Chief of Police for storage and disposal in accordance with § 111-72 of the Municipal Code, except that the Commissioner may immediately sell to a vehicle dismantler or a scrap processor any vehicle whose title immediately vests in the City of Rochester as an abandoned vehicle pursuant to § 1224 of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law and, in abating the nuisance, any junked or unlicensed vehicle of a wholesale value, taking into consideration the condition of the vehicle, of $1,250 or less, removed from public or private property pursuant to this section.
(b) 
For vehicles removed from private property, the property owner and vehicle owner shall be liable, jointly and severally, to the City of Rochester for the costs of removal, storage and disposal of any vehicle removed, stored and/or disposed of by the Commissioner. The amount due for removal and storage shall be as sets forth in § 111-72 of the Municipal Code.
[1] 
Any proceeds from the sale of a vehicle shall first be used to pay any expenses incurred by the City of Rochester. Any excess proceeds shall be returned to the vehicle owner, if known. If the vehicle owner is unknown, the excess proceeds shall be held by the City without interest, for the benefit of the vehicle owner for a period of one year. If not claimed within the one-year period, the excess proceeds shall be paid into the City's general fund.
[2] 
In the event that the expenses incurred by the City exceed the sale proceeds, the additional expenses shall be payable by the property owner and/or the vehicle owner and, if not paid, may be added to a subsequent tax bill for the property pursuant to § 6-94 of the City Charter.
D. 
Junked, unlicensed and abandoned vehicles deemed a public nuisance. Notwithstanding any inconsistent provision of any local law or ordinance, any junked, abandoned or unlicensed vehicle standing, parked or stored on private or city-owned property in violation of any law or ordinance, within the City of Rochester, shall be deemed a public nuisance which shall be abated by the person or persons causing such public nuisance or by the property owner or by the Commissioner as provided herein. The sale of said vehicles by the City, either immediately or after a required holding period, shall constitute an integral step in the abatement of the nuisance.
[Amended 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]
[Amended 2-14-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-22; 7-18-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-224]
A. 
When required:
(1) 
No person shall permit the occupancy of a one-family rental dwelling, a building containing two or more dwelling units, or a mixed-occupancy building containing one or more dwelling units unless a valid certificate of occupancy is in effect for said building. If such a building is occupied in violation of this section, a ticket may be served on the owner of the building. The violation shall be considered a high-level violation for which the penalties set forth in § 13A-11D(1)(c) of the Municipal Code shall apply.
[Amended 5-14-2013 by Ord. No. 2013-135]
(2) 
In addition to the requirements of § 39-213 of the City Code, a certificate of occupancy or a conditional certificate of occupancy must be obtained within 90 days prior to the occurrence of any of the following:
(a) 
The transfer of title to a new owner of any two-family dwelling unless a certificate of occupancy has been issued within two years of the transfer date.
(b) 
The reoccupancy of a dwelling which has been entirely vacant for more than two months, unless a certificate of occupancy has been issued within a year of the reoccupancy.
(c) 
A change of occupancy or use that would bring a dwelling under a different or additional classification of this chapter, the Building Code, Zoning Code, Fire Prevention Code or other provisions of the City Code.
(d) 
The expiration or termination of a valid certificate of occupancy for a subject dwelling.
(e) 
A change of occupancy whereby a one-family dwelling or a two-family dwelling is no longer occupied by the owner, or a spouse, child, parent or sibling of the owner. For one-family dwellings or two-family dwellings that are not occupied by an owner, or a spouse, child, parent or sibling of the owner, on September 1, 2012, a certificate of occupancy or a conditional certificate of occupancy shall be obtained immediately, but in no event later than 40 days after notice is sent by the City by regular first-class mail to the owner, at the owner's address on file with the City.[1]
[Amended 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179; 7-24-2012 by Ord. No. 2012-297]
[1]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection A(3), concerning ordering occupant to vacate a dwelling, as amended, which immediately followed this subsection, was repealed 5-14-2013 by Ord. No. 2013-135.
B. 
When waived.
[Amended 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]
(1) 
The Commissioner shall waive the requirement for obtaining a new certificate of occupancy when title is transferred in any of the following manners, provided that a valid certificate of occupancy is then in effect for said building:
[Amended 5-14-2013 by Ord. No. 2013-135]
(a) 
By an executor or administrator in the administration or settlement of an estate.
(b) 
In lieu of foreclosure.
(c) 
By a court-appointed referee.
(d) 
By a trustee in bankruptcy.
(e) 
To or by an assignee for benefit of creditors.
(f) 
By the Monroe County Sheriff pursuant to a judicial sale.
(g) 
To a municipality as a result of tax foreclosure.
(h) 
Between husband and wife.
(i) 
To a person who had immediate, previous legal ownership in whole or in part.
(j) 
Pursuant to the formation, reorganization or dissolution of a partnership or corporation.
(k) 
By a corporation to its shareholders.
(l) 
To the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development or to the Administrator of Urban Affairs.
(m) 
By a person who retains life use of and/or interest in the property.
(2) 
The Commissioner shall waive the requirement for an interior inspection prior to the issuance of a certificate of occupancy for a unit upon submission of a certification by the Rochester Housing Authority (RHA) stating that the dwelling unit in a one- or two-family structure is in compliance with the inspection and clearance requirements of the RHA's housing programs as governed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD):
[Amended 7-24-2012 by Ord. No. 2012-297]
(a) 
If the most recent inspection was conducted by a certified RHA employee within one year of the submission date and it passed; and
(b) 
The RHA inspection confirmed that the unit did not have interior deteriorated paint.
(3) 
The Commissioner shall issue or deny the waiver within 10 business days of receipt of a written request.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection B(4), concerning application for waiver of a certificate of occupancy by an owner who does not or whose family members do not occupy a dwelling, which immediately followed this subsection, was repealed 7-24-2012 by Ord. No. 2012-297.
C. 
Exemption.
[Added 7-24-2012 by Ord. No. 2012-297[3]]
(1) 
One-family and two-family owner-occupied dwellings are exempt from the certificate of occupancy requirement. One-family and two-family dwellings occupied in whole or in part by the spouse, child, parent or sibling of the owner are eligible to be exempted from the certificate of occupancy requirement upon completion and submission of an exemption request form. Once approved, the exemption must be renewed every three years through submission of a new exemption request form.
(2) 
One-family dwellings and two-family dwellings owned and operated by the Rochester Housing Authority's public housing program and subject to the required inspections, performed by a certified employee of the Rochester Housing Authority, are exempt from the certificate of occupancy requirement.
[3]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also provided for the redesignation of former Subsections C through I as Subsections D through J, respectively.
D. 
Contents of a certificate of occupancy. All certificates of occupancy shall state that the subject dwelling substantially conforms to the provisions of this chapter, the Building Code, the Zoning Code, the New York State Multiple Residence Law (if applicable) and other provisions of the City Code. Whenever the interior portion of the inspection for the certificate of occupancy process is waived for a particular unit, in accordance with Subsection B(2), it shall be noted on the document.
[Amended 7-24-2012 by Ord. No. 2012-297]
E. 
Conditional certificate of occupancy. The Commissioner, in his or her discretion, may issue a conditional certificate of occupancy prior to the occurrence of any of the events enumerated in Subsection A herein when occupancy or use of the building will not jeopardize life or property, and:
[Amended 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]
(1) 
The subject dwelling is near substantial compliance with this section and all other applicable laws, ordinances and rules;
(2) 
The work required to bring the dwelling into full compliance is not essential to making the building habitable;
(3) 
The dwelling complies with the Zoning Code as evidenced by the endorsement of the head of the bureau or division responsible for administering the Zoning Code; and
(4) 
The owner of record, or contract vendee, or lessee has agreed with the Commissioner on a schedule of rehabilitation or demolition.
F. 
Contents of conditional certificate of occupancy. A conditional certificate of occupancy shall state that the subject dwelling complies with the requirements of Subsection E herein and shall specify the purposes for which the building may be used in its several parts. It shall also specify the date by which the owner of record must obtain the certificate of occupancy specified in Subsection D herein and warn that failure to obtain the certificate of occupancy by the date shall be sufficient cause for revoking the conditional certificate of occupancy without further notice to the owners and other interested parties. Time limitations set forth in conditional certificates of occupancy shall constitute amendments to time limitations imposed by prior notices and orders by the Department.
[Amended 7-24-2012 by Ord. No. 2012-297]
G. 
Issuance and filing.
(1) 
A certificate of occupancy shall be issued by the Department within 10 days after an inspection by the Department reveals that a subject dwelling is in substantial compliance with applicable laws, ordinances or rules.
(2) 
A record of all certificates of occupancy, and conditional certificates of occupancy and their status, shall be kept in the office of the Commissioner, and copies shall be furnished, upon request, to the public.
[Amended 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]
(3) 
No certificate of occupancy shall be issued by the Department until the owner has registered with the City as required in § 90-20.
[Added 1-20-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-5]
H. 
Validity of certificate of occupancy.
(1) 
Expiration.
(a) 
A certificate of occupancy for either a one-family dwelling or a two-family dwelling not occupied by the owner, or the spouse, child, parent or sibling of the owner, issued on or after July 1, 2006, shall remain valid for a period of six years from the date of issuance, unless sooner terminated pursuant to Subsection H(1)(c) or by the occurrence of any of the events enumerated in Subsection A(2)(a) or (b), or the failure of the dwelling to remain in substantial compliance with the provisions of this chapter and all other applicable laws, ordinances and rules.
[Amended 7-24-2012 by Ord. No. 2012-297; 5-14-2013 by Ord. No. 2013-135]
(b) 
A certificate of occupancy for a building containing three or more dwelling units or a mixed-occupancy building containing at least one dwelling unit issued on or after July 1, 2006, shall be valid for a period of three years unless sooner terminated by the occurrence of any of the events enumerated in Subsection A(2)(a) or (b) herein, or the failure of the dwelling to remain in substantial compliance with the provisions of this chapter and all other applicable laws, ordinances and rules.[4]
[4]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection H(2), Renewal, as amended, which immediately followed this subsection, was repealed 5-14-2013 by Ord. No. 2013-135.
(c) 
A certificate of occupancy for either a one-family dwelling or a two-family dwelling not occupied by the owner, or the spouse, child, parent or sibling of the owner, issued on or after January 1, 2014, which is located in the "high-risk area," as defined in § 90-55 of the Municipal Code, and where an interior deteriorated paint violation was identified and corrected by applying interim controls, shall remain valid for a period of three years from the date of issuance, unless sooner terminated by the occurrence of any of the events enumerated in Subsection A(2)(a) or (b) or the failure of the dwelling to remain in substantial compliance with the provisions of this chapter and all other applicable laws, ordinances and rules.
[Added 5-14-2013 by Ord. No. 2013-135]
I. 
Inspections.
[Amended 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]
(1) 
Notwithstanding the existence of the valid certificate of occupancy, the Commissioner, Fire Chief or head of the bureau or division responsible for administering the Zoning Code may cause the subject building to be inspected as often as may be necessary for the purpose of ascertaining and causing to be corrected any violations of the provisions of the laws, ordinances or rules which they enforce.[5]
[5]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection I(2), concerning voiding of certificates of occupancy, which immediately followed this subsection, was redesignated as Subsection M.
J. 
Renewal. The owner of record shall apply for and obtain a new certificate of occupancy within 90 days prior to the expiration or termination of a valid certificate of occupancy pursuant to Subsections A(2) or H(1) herein.
[Added 5-14-2013 by Ord. No. 2013-135[6]]
[6]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also redesignated former Subsection J as Subsection N.
K. 
Warrants. The Director and Commissioner shall each have the authority to seek inspection warrants, pursuant to Article I, Part B, of the Charter of the City of Rochester, where the same are constitutionally required, regardless of whether an application for a certificate of occupancy has been submitted.
[Added 5-14-2013 by Ord. No. 2013-135]
L. 
Remedies. When a certificate of occupancy is required, unless a valid certificate of occupancy is in effect for said building, the Director or Commissioner may order occupants of the building to vacate the building, may serve a ticket on the owner of the building, which shall be a high-level violation for which the penalties set forth in § 13A-11D(1)(c) of the Municipal Code shall apply, or may pursue any other penalty or remedy set forth in this chapter or Chapter 52 of the Municipal Code, or any other penalty or remedy provided by law.
[Added 5-14-2013 by Ord. No. 2013-135]
M. 
Voiding existing certificate of occupancy. Whenever violations of the Property Conservation Code, Building Code, Fire Prevention Code, Zoning Code or any applicable law, ordinance or rule are discovered, and those violations affect the structure’s substantial compliance with the applicable law, ordinance or rule, an existing certificate of occupancy may, at the discretion of the Commissioner or Director, be declared null and void. If such declaration is made, the Commissioner or Director may order occupants of the building to vacate the building through notification to the owner(s) and the occupants of the property, in writing, in the same manner as the service of a notice and order, as set forth in § 52-6 of the Municipal Code, unless an emergency exists, in which case an immediate vacate may be ordered.
[Amended 5-14-2013 by Ord. No. 2013-135]
N. 
Liability for damages. This code shall not be construed to hold the City of Rochester responsible for any damages to persons or property by reason of inspections made pursuant to an application for a certificate of occupancy or issuance of or the failure to issue a certificate of occupancy.
A. 
Purpose and definitions.
(1) 
Purpose. In the City of Rochester there are vacant structures which do not possess the protective measures normally provided by legal occupants, making such structures subject to unlawful entry, vandalism and fires. Therefore, these vacant structures present a potential health and safety hazard to the general public, the immediate neighbors and residents and public employees performing municipal duties and services in the area or at the site of the vacant structure.
(2) 
Definitions. As used in this section, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
SECURE
To render inaccessible to unauthorized entry by closing, bolting, repairing, boarding or otherwise fastening all doors, windows and other openings through which unauthorized entry may be gained.
VACANT BUILDING
A building which is not occupied or used or lived in.
VACANT LOT
A lot, other than parklands, which is not improved by a structure and is not regularly maintained.
B. 
Owner's duties.
(1) 
Vacant buildings. It shall be the duty or every owner of property which has a vacant building thereon:
(a) 
To maintain the building in a safe and sanitary condition and in compliance with this Property Code and Sections 302 and 304 of the Property Maintenance Code of New York State.
[Amended 3-18-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-88]
(b) 
To secure the building to prevent unauthorized entry.
(c) 
To maintain the yard free of refuse, high grass and overgrown weeds.
(d) 
To paint all boarded openings in a neutral or earth-tone color. A "neutral color" is defined as one which is a similar shade to the existing color of the structure.
(2) 
Vacant lots. It shall be the duty of every owner of a vacant lot to maintain the lot in a safe and sanitary condition and in compliance with the Property Code. It shall also be the duty of every owner of a vacant lot to maintain the lot free of refuse, high grass and overgrown weeds.
C. 
Program to maintain, secure and clear. The Commissioner shall organize and implement a program to identify vacant lots and to maintain and secure vacant buildings and clear vacant lots when owners are unwilling or unable to discharge their duties described above. The program shall meet the following minimum objectives:
[Amended 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]
(1) 
Identification of vacant buildings and lots. The Commissioner will identify complaints received by the Department, information received from other City departments and surveys conducted by the Department. The Commissioner will have buildings and lots inspected to determine whether they are in fact vacant.
(2) 
Notification of owners. Notice sent to the owner by first-class mail addressed to the owner's address as appears in the records of the Bureau of Assessment, or to the owner's last known address or place of residence if such address does not appear in the records of the Bureau of Assessment, shall be sufficient notification. Notice to the owner by mail addressed to the owner's last address known to the Commissioner will be sufficient notification. The notice shall specify the type of charges or penalties to which the owner may be subject if the owner fails to act in accordance with the Commissioner's order. The notice must specify the sections of the City Code which the owner is violating.
(3) 
Discharge of owner's duties by city.
(a) 
If the owner fails to comply with the notice within five days after the notice is sent, the Commissioner may have the owner's duties discharged by City employees or contractors. The owner will be billed by the Commissioner for any costs incurred by the City. It shall be the personal obligation of the owner to reimburse the City for such costs.
(b) 
If the owner has previously disregarded the orders of the Commissioner and thereafter the property again is in violation of this section, the Commissioner may again discharge the owner's duties, at the owner's expense, without notice to the owner.
(4) 
Other remedy of City. The Commissioner may proceed to enforce the order according to Chapter 52, Enforcement Procedures, of the City Code.
D. 
Standards of safety and sanitation. A vacant building or lot is neither safe nor sanitary when any of the following conditions exist:
(1) 
The building walls or other structures are in poor structural condition or the floors are overloaded, or there are other major structural defects.
(2) 
The building and its contents constitute a fire hazard.
(3) 
Violations of the Property Code exist which are danger to health, safety or public welfare.
(4) 
Other conditions exist which endanger the health, safety or welfare of the public.
E. 
Foreclosure against an abandoned private dwelling or multiple dwelling. The Commissioner may institute a proceeding in accordance with Article 19-B of the Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law.
[Amended 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]
F. 
Demolition proceedings.
[Amended 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]
(1) 
Inspection. Upon the receipt of information that a vacant structure may be unsafe or dangerous to the health, safety or welfare of the public, the Commissioner shall cause an inspection to be made, and a report of that inspection shall be reduced to writing and maintained at the office of the Commissioner.
(2) 
Demolition hearing scheduled. If the Inspector believes that the structure is unsafe or dangerous, then, pursuant to § 47A-16A of Chapter 47A, Demolition Regulations, of the City Code, the Commissioner shall establish a date for a hearing to show cause why the structure should not be demolished.
(3) 
Pursuant to § 47A-16B of Chapter 47A, Demolition Regulations, of the City Code, the Commissioner shall order demolition of a structure when an imminent danger exists.
(4) 
Pursuant to § 47A-16C of Chapter 47, Demolition Regulations, of the City Code, the Commissioner shall order demolition of a structure when an immediate danger exists.
G. 
Powers of Commissioner. In addition to whatever powers the Commissioner has, the Commissioner is granted the following powers:
[Amended 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]
(1) 
Order to vacate. Upon the declaration of an emergency, the Commissioner may order occupants of the subject structure to vacate the structure immediately.
(2) 
Orders to demolish. Upon the declaration of an emergency pursuant to § 47A-16 of Chapter 47A, Demolition Regulations, of the City Code, the Commissioner may order immediate demolition of the subject structure and removal of debris therefrom.
(3) 
Closing streets and other places. The Commissioner shall have the power to close temporarily sidewalks, streets, structures and other places adjacent to structures which have become the subject of an emergency order. The Commissioner may also prohibit such places from being used or occupied. The Commissioner of Environmental Services, the Chief of Police and the Fire Chief, when called upon by the Commissioner to cooperate, will assist in the enforcement of such orders or requirements, after consultation and agreement.
(4) 
Employment of contractors and materials. The Commissioner may employ such contractors and purchase such materials as may be necessary to perform work under an emergency order.
(5) 
Order to secure. The Commissioner may order the immediate securing of a vacant structure or portion thereof to prevent unauthorized entry when the same is deemed necessary to protect against arson, drug usage and other illegal activities at the structure or in order to provide for the health, safety or welfare of any remaining occupants of the structure and neighboring residents. The costs of the securing shall be a personal liability of the property owner, who shall be billed therefor. Such costs shall also be a lien upon the property from the first day the costs are billed to the owner. Such costs, if not paid, may be added to a subsequent tax bill for the property pursuant to § 6-94 of the City Charter.
A. 
Owners of premises shall be responsible for compliance with the provisions of this chapter and shall remain responsible therefor except as otherwise provided in Subsection D hereof, regardless of the fact that this chapter may also place certain responsibilities on occupants and regardless of any agreements between owners or occupants as to which party shall assume such responsibility.
B. 
Owners and operators of multiple dwellings shall be responsible for proper installation, maintenance, condition and operation of service facilities and for furnishing adequate heat and hot-water supply where they have contracted to do so.
C. 
Whenever any person or persons shall be in actual possession of or have charge, care or control of any property within the City as executor, administrator, trustee, guardian, operator or agent, such person shall be deemed and taken to be the owner of said property within the true intent and meaning of this chapter and shall be bound to comply with the provisions of this chapter to the same extent as the recorded owner; and notice to any such person or any order or decision of the Commissioner shall be deemed and taken to be good and sufficient notice, as if such person or persons were actually the record owner or owners of such property.
[Amended 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179]
D. 
The hearing examiner may grant an owner an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal, for a period not to exceed four months, on any violation which the owner proves clear and convincing evidence was caused by the lessees or occupants of a specific unit. The violation shall be dismissed if, prior to the expiration of the period of adjournment, the owner provides proof that the violation has been corrected. Notwithstanding such an adjournment, the premises, if vacated by the current lessees or occupants, shall not be reoccupied until all high-level health and safety violations relating to the unit have been corrected. If, at the expiration of the period of adjournment, the violation has not been corrected, the proceeding shall not be dismissed, and the hearing examiner shall promptly determine the charge.
[Added 4-15-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-138]
A. 
Declaration of legislative findings.
(1) 
Graffiti on public and private property is a blighting influence which not only depreciates the value of the property which has been the target of such graffiti but also depreciates the value of the adjacent and surrounding properties and, in so doing, negatively impacts upon the entire community. The City has in the past undertaken to remove graffiti from public property but has been unable to mount successful programs for encouraging the owners of private property to undertake to remove graffiti from walls, buildings, structures and other surfaces.
(2) 
The Council finds that graffiti is a public nuisance and, unless promptly removed from public and private properties, tends to remain and to attract more graffiti; other properties are then the target of graffiti. The City Council therefore determines that it is appropriate that the City of Rochester develop procedures to cause graffiti to be swiftly removed from public and private property under the circumstances set forth hereinafter. Through the adoption of this section, it is the Council's intent and purpose to reduce blight and deterioration within the City and to protect the public health and safety and to provide additional tools to protect public and private property from acts of graffiti vandalism and defacement. The Council does not intend for this section to conflict with any existing anti-graffiti state laws.
B. 
Definitions. As used in this section, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated. Where there is a conflict with the definitions found in § 90-3, the definition found herein shall apply to this section.
COMMISSIONER
The Commissioner of Environmental Services or his or her designee.
GRAFFITI
Any unauthorized inscription, word, figure, marking or design, painting and/or other defacement that is written, marked, etched, scratched, sprayed, drawn, painted, posted, pasted, glued or engraved on or otherwise affixed to any surface of public or private property without the prior written consent of the owner of the property or the owner's authorized agent, except for marks placed on legal walls.
INDECENT MARK
A mark that portrays sexual or excretory activities and organs in a manner that is patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards.
LEGAL WALL
A surface identified by the City where individuals may place their graffiti marks and not violate this chapter.
OBSCENITY
As defined in § 235 of the New York State Penal Law.
PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT
For purposes of graffiti, written consent secured from the owner of the property or the owner's authorized agent, contained on a form prescribed by the Commissioner and registered with the City pursuant to this section prior to the application of the graffiti.
C. 
Graffiti is a public nuisance and is prohibited.
(1) 
It shall be unlawful for any person to apply graffiti to any surface on any public or private property.
(2) 
The existence of graffiti on public or private property is a public nuisance and, therefore, is subject to removal and abatement provisions specified in this section.
(3) 
It is the duty of the occupant, lessee, agent and owner of the property to which the graffiti has been applied to keep the property clear of graffiti at all times.
D. 
Removal or covering of graffiti.
(1) 
Requirement to remove graffiti. Any person applying graffiti on public or private property shall have the duty to properly remove or cover the graffiti, or pay for the same, within 24 hours after notice by the City or the private owner of the property involved. Where the graffiti is applied by an unemancipated minor, the parents or legal guardian of such minor shall be responsible for the proper removal or covering or for payment for the same.
(2) 
Removal of graffiti by the property owner or City. If graffiti is not properly removed or covered by the applicator according to § 90-19D(1), graffiti shall be properly removed or covered pursuant to the following provisions:
(a) 
The occupant, lessee, agent and property owner of any premises on which there is any form of graffiti shall be required to properly remove or cover the graffiti within 10 business days after notice from the City.
(b) 
Removal of graffiti by City on private property. Due to budgetary and safety concerns, City employees may only remove or cover graffiti on a privately owned premises once a calendar year, only if it is on the first floor, and only if written consent is provided by the property owner or duly authorized agent on a form provided by the Commissioner within 10 business days after the initial notice from the City.
[Amended 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-178]
(3) 
Summary removal of obscene or indecent marks. The City shall continue to summarily remove or cover obscene or indecent marks which are visible to the public on public or private properties.
E. 
Registry.
(1) 
The Commissioner shall maintain a registry of all graffiti and prior written consent forms in the City of Rochester. The registry shall contain the property address, photographs of the graffiti, the date it was first identified and the date it was removed, and copies of any written consent forms searchable by the property address, by the author or by the mark.
(2) 
Prior to the removal or covering of any graffiti, the person removing or covering the graffiti shall take photographs of the graffiti and forward them to the Commissioner.
F. 
Identification of legal walls. The Commissioner may establish a program in which legal places for graffiti artists to temporarily place their marks are identified and permitted. If such a program is established, the Commissioner is authorized to establish rules and regulations governing the program. No artistic rights shall be created through the application of graffiti on legal walls. Permission to place marks on the legal walls is conditioned upon the City reserving the right to remove or cover any and all marks without any prior notice. Prior written consent by the City to apply graffiti to legal walls is not required.
[Added 1-20-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-5[1]]
A. 
The owners of all buildings shall register with the City as required herein.
B. 
The owners of all buildings existing as of the effective date of this section shall register upon notice by the Director or upon submission of an application for a new or renewal certificate of occupancy.
C. 
The owner of a new building shall register the building prior to allowing occupancy thereof.
D. 
The owner of any building already registered with the City shall reregister within 10 days after any change occurs in registration information. A new owner of a registered building shall reregister the building within 10 days of assuming ownership.
E. 
The City shall maintain a registry of all buildings containing the following information, which shall be provided by the owner on forms available from the City:
[Amended 8-15-2017 by Ord. No. 2017-258[2]]
(1) 
Name, street address and business telephone number of the owner.
(2) 
If the owner is not a natural person or is a natural person and the building is required to have a certificate of occupancy pursuant to § 90-16, the name, street address and business telephone number of the agent, manager or principal maintenance person to be responsible for and in control of the property shall also be provided on the application. If a principal, a partner or the owner resides in a 13020 through 13905 or 14001 through 14925 zip code, he or she may designate him or herself as such property maintenance person. If a principal, partner or the owner does not reside in a 13020 through 13905 or 14001 through 14925 zip code, he or she must designate a person who resides in Monroe County as such property maintenance person. Such designation can be a responsible employee of a property maintenance company located in Monroe County. Any designation made pursuant to this section shall remain in full force and effect until changed or terminated.
(3) 
For purposes of this section, a post office box shall not be accepted as a street address.
(4) 
All notices of violation and other service of process upon an owner, if mailed, shall continue to be mailed to the owner's tax mailing address if such address has been provided by the owner to the City.
(5) 
It shall be a violation of this chapter for an owner to fail to provide the information or to provide inaccurate information required herein for the registry. A ticket may be served on the owner of a building who fails to register, reregister or otherwise comply with the provisions of this section. The violation shall be considered a medium-level violation for which the penalties set forth in § 13A-11D(1)(b) of the Municipal Code shall apply.
[2]
Editor's Note: This ordinance provided an effective date of 9-1-2017.
F. 
This section shall not apply to buildings that are owner-occupied one-family dwellings or owner-occupied two-family dwellings; buildings owned by federal, state or local government units; hospitals; schools, colleges or universities; or commercial or industrial buildings that maintain operations for 24 hours each day or that have security on site 24 hours each day. A single registration shall be required for all buildings on a property.
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also provided that it shall take effect 7-1-2009.
[1]
Editor's Note: Former § 90-21, Fees for inspections, added 6-16-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-179, as amended, was repealed 5-19-2015 by Ord. No. 2015-116.