City of Easton, PA
Northampton County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the City of Easton 10-13-1976 by Ord. No. 2385 (Art. 1725 of the 1965 Codified Ordinances). Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Uniform codes and code enforcement — See Ch. 245.
Fees — See Ch. 285.
Zoning — See Ch. 595.
[Amended 1-26-1983 by Ord. No. 2701]
A. 
In accordance with the Act of November 28, 1973, P.L. 348, No. 121, Council finds that some owners of properties in the City are using such properties in violation of the zoning ordinances and regulations of the City and are maintaining such properties in violation of housing, building, safety, plumbing, electrical and fire ordinances and regulations and are offering such properties for sale without revealing such illegal use or the receipt of notice of the existence of housing, building, safety, plumbing, electrical and fire violations. Many innocent purchasers of such properties are not aware of the illegal use or the existence of the nature of violations until they have entered into agreements of sale or have consummated the purchase.
B. 
In order to prevent undue hardships and losses imposed on such purchasers by owners who have failed to reveal the illegal use or condition of the property being conveyed or who have made misrepresentations in that regard, Council finds that it is in the best interest of the residents of the City to declare that all sellers of property, as defined herein, shall be required to advise the purchaser of the legal use and condition of such property and to deliver to the purchaser a buyer notification inspection report, obtained from the Chief Codes Administrator or his or her designee, showing the legal use and district classification for such property and the existence of any housing, building, safety, plumbing, electrical or fire violations.
[Amended 2-11-2009 by Ord. No. 5162; 8-27-2014 by Ord. No. 5471]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE
A property-specific certificate issued by a public officer indicating compliance with applicable codes, laws and standards.
[Added 8-27-2014 by Ord. No. 5471; amended 9-28-2016 by Ord. No. 5567; 1-24-2018 by Ord. No. 5623]
DISTRICT
Any jurisdictional area or zone as set forth in Chapter 595, Zoning, of the Code.[1]
INSPECTION REPORT
A property-specific notice of violation issued to a seller and indicating any discovered or uncorrected violations of applicable codes, laws and standards.
[Added 8-27-2014 by Ord. No. 5471; amended 1-24-2018 by Ord. No. 5623]
OWNER
Any person, copartnership, association, corporation or fiduciary having legal or equitable title or any interest in any real property. Whenever used in any section prescribing or imposing a penalty, the term "owner" as applied to copartnerships and associations shall mean the partners or members thereof and, as applied to corporations, the officers thereof.
PROPERTY
Any building or structure situated in the City.
REGULATIONS
Includes regulations promulgated by the Zoning, Building and Health Codes of the City and by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry under the Pennsylvania Fire and Panic Act of April 27, 1927, P.L. 465, as amended.
[1]
Editor's Note: The former definition of "agreement of sale," as amended, which immediately preceded this definition, was repealed 8-27-2014 by Ord. No. 5471.
[Amended 1-26-1983 by Ord. No. 2701; 2-11-2009 by Ord. No. 5162; 8-27-2014 by Ord. No. 5471]
A. 
The seller, or his or her designee, of any property in the City of Easton shall secure a buyer notification inspection report prior to the transfer of title. The following exceptions shall be for the inspection; a report must be obtained and provided to the buyer.
[Amended 9-28-2016 by Ord. No. 5567; 9-13-2017 by Ord. No. 5600]
(1) 
Where such properties are intended to be demolished and a valid demolition permit, pursuant to the Building Code of the City, has been obtained.
(2) 
Where there are no buildings or structures on the property.
(3) 
Where the building(s) on the property are multifamily residential and each unit has passed a rental unit inspection and has a current rental license issued as set forth in Chapter 456 within the previous 12 months. The rental unit inspection reports shall be provided to the buyer.
(4) 
Where the building(s) on the property are nonresidential and each unit, tenant space or building has passed a fire safety inspection as set forth in Chapter 295 within the previous 12 months. The fire safety inspection report(s) shall be provided to the buyer.
(5) 
Where the building(s) on the property is mixed use or residential and nonresidential, and each unit, tenant space or building has passed the applicable rental unit inspection and has a current rental license issued as set forth in Chapter 456 and the applicable fire safety inspection as set forth in Chapter 295 within the previous 12 months. The rental unit inspection reports and the fire safety inspection report shall be provided to the buyer.
(6) 
An inspection and a report are not required:
[Added 1-24-2018 by Ord. No. 5623]
(a) 
When such properties are sold inter-family (husband and wife, parents and children and spouses of children); or
(b) 
When title to such properties pass by virtue of the laws relating to decedents' estates.
B. 
The seller of the property or his or her authorized agent shall have five business days from the date of the listing, or offer to sell, to request an inspection.
C. 
The buyer has the obligation to secure the inspection report and certificate of compliance required by this chapter for sales that occur prior to an inspection and prior to the issuance of an inspection report.
[Added 1-24-2018 by Ord. No. 5623[1]]
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also redesignated Subsection C as Subsection D.
D. 
The inspection report shall be valid for a period not to exceed one year from the date of issue. This time period can be extended by the Chief Codes Administrator or his or her designee but in no case shall exceed two years.
[Added 8-27-2014 by Ord. No. 5471]
A. 
Northampton County Sheriff/courthouse sales. The county shall include the cost of inspection into the sale/bid process, and it shall be the responsibility of the awarded purchaser to request inspection within 30 days of title transfer unless there is a clear and immediate intent to demolish or substantially remodel the structure and building permits are obtained within that same time frame.
B. 
Bankruptcy sales. Any sale that results from a bankruptcy proceeding does not obviate the seller from the requirements of this chapter except that the City may defer inspection fees until the sale has been completed, provided that such request is made by the seller in writing and includes a date certain for payment.
C. 
Expedited sales. Sales that occur while awaiting an inspection within the time frames prescribed by § 222-5A and prior to the issuance of an inspection report shall not preclude such sale from occurring. In such instances, the seller or authorized agent shall notify the purchaser, in writing, of the obligation to secure the inspection report and certificate of compliance required by this chapter.
[Amended 9-28-2016 by Ord. No. 5567]
[Amended 1-26-1983 by Ord. No. 2701; 4-27-2005 by Ord. No. 4670; 2-11-2009 by Ord. No. 5162; 8-27-2014 by Ord. No. 5471; 9-13-2017 by Ord. No. 5600]
A. 
Upon application of the owner or authorized agent and payment to the City of a fee in accordance with the schedule as established in Chapter 285, Fees, the Chief Codes Administrator or his or her designee shall, within 15 business days, review the pertinent City records and, if not exempted as set forth in § 222-3, inspect the premises in question. Upon completion of the review and inspection, the Chief codes Administrator or his or her designee shall, within five business days, execute and deliver a report to the owner which shall contain the following information:
(1) 
The street address or other appropriate description of subject property.
(2) 
The district classification(s), notation of any illegal or nonconforming uses, and notation of any variance or use permits, including any conditions related to such approvals thereto.
(3) 
A statement of all life and safety violations of the housing, building, plumbing, electrical, safety or fire ordinances and regulations, or appropriate inspection reports as set forth in § 222-3.
B. 
The seller shall attach to the inspection report as cited above a statement as to whether there are outstanding, against the property, any liens or assessments for public improvements.
Notwithstanding any other law or ordinance, the provisions of this chapter may not be waived or disclaimed by any oral or written agreement executed by any owner or purchaser.
[Amended 2-11-2009 by Ord. No. 5162; 8-27-2014 by Ord. No. 5471; 9-28-2016 by Ord. No. 5567; 9-13-2017 by Ord. No. 5600]
A. 
It shall be unlawful for the owner of any dwelling unit or structure to sell, transfer, mortgage, lease or otherwise dispose of such dwelling unit or structure to another unless the owner first delivers to the purchaser the inspection report described in § 222-5.
B. 
The seller, purchaser or transferee, or an authorized agent, shall execute a receipt for the inspection report, as furnished by the City, and such receipt shall be delivered to the Chief Codes Administrator or his or her designee within seven business days as evidence of compliance with the provision of this chapter.
C. 
The receipt for the inspection report shall identify the seller, purchaser or transferee as the responsible party to remedy violations identified in the inspection report and to obtain a certificate of compliance. Once the property is transferred, it shall be the sole responsibility of the purchaser or transferee to make any corrections or repairs necessary for compliance.
D. 
Violations shall be abated and a certificate of compliance obtained within 180 days of transfer for owner-occupied properties and within 30 days for rental, mixed-use and other nonresidential properties. Within these time frames, the City reserves the right to reinspect any property pursuant to the City fee schedule and at owner expense. These compliance time frames may be extended by mutual agreement of the purchaser and the Chief Codes Administrator or his or her designee.
E. 
Violations which render the building, structure or portion thereof uninhabitable may not be occupied until the violations are abated.
[Amended 8-27-2014 by Ord. No. 5471]
A. 
The buyer notification inspection report shall be compiled from the records of the City and from an inspection of the property. The issuance of the report is not a representation by the City that the subject property or its present use is or is not in compliance with the law.
B. 
Neither the enactment of this chapter nor the preparation and delivery of any inspection report or certificate of compliance required hereunder shall impose any liability upon the City for any errors or omissions contained in such inspection report or certificate of compliance, nor shall the City bear any liability not otherwise imposed by law.
[Amended 9-28-2016 by Ord. No. 5567]
C. 
The City buyer inspection report is intended to notify the buyer and seller of minimum code deficiencies and in no way serves to replace or otherwise supplement a professional third-party private inspection.
Appeals from the findings set forth in the certificate must be filed in writing with the Director of the Department of Planning and Development of the City within seven business days after issuance of the certificate, who will refer the appeal to the board or boards as follows:
A. 
The House Hearing Board where conditions reported constitute violations of the applicable codes of the City or deal with the suitability of any dwelling or structure for continued occupancy.
B. 
The Board of Health where the conditions reported constitute a violation of the applicable codes of the City or any matters relating to the structure or construction of buildings or structures within the City.
C. 
The Zoning Hearing Board where the findings set forth in the certificate relate to matters concerning the classification and the use of property under the Planning and Zoning Code, Chapter 595 of the Code of the City.
[Amended 8-27-2014 by Ord. No. 5471]
Any owner who violates the provisions of § 222-5 or 222-7 of this chapter shall be guilty of a summary offense and shall be fined not less that $300 nor more than $1,000 or be imprisoned for not more than 30 days, or both.