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DEPARTMENT OF ENGINEERING,
PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT
CODE ENFORCEMENT & RENTAL REGISTRATION
- Owner or Operator must register by January 1 of each year.
If a rental property is purchased at anytime throughout the year, registration must be accomplished upon the completion of transfer of title to the premises. This is accomplished through the escrow agent handling the transfer of title.
If any of the information that is required on the registration form changes, the owner or operator must notify the Department of Community Development in writing within 30 days of the change. A fee of $10 is charged for the updating of information.
If a registration form is filed late, an additional late fee of $10 will be charged.
A registration form shall be valid for one year unless:
- False information is furnished to the Department of Community Development in the registration form; or
- Transfer of title to a rental unit has been completed.
- One rental unit, a fee of $30;
- Two to five rental units, a fee of $60;
- Six to twenty-five rental units, a fee of $150;
- Twenty-six to fifty rental units, a fee of $250;
- Fifty-one to one-hundred rental units, a fee of $350;
- One-hundred and one or more rental units, a fee of $450.
If the owner or operator adds additional rental units between registration periods, a minimum fee of $10 will be charged, with a maximum additional fee, if any based upon the fee schedule above.
If an owner or operator registered and paid $60 for 4 rental units in January and then purchases one more rental unit in June, he/she will be charged the $10 minimum fee for updating the registration information. The owner or operator now owns a total of 5 rental units and still remains in the $60 registration fee bracket.
If an owner or operator registered and paid $60 for 5 rental units in January and then purchases 1 more rental unit in June, the owner or operator now owns a total of 6 rental units and is in the $150 registration fee bracket. However, since the owner or operator initially paid a $60 registration fee in January for 5 units, that amount will be subtracted from $150 that he/she is now required to pay. The owner or operator will be charged the $10 minimum fee for updating the registration information plus a fee of $90 to register the additional unit amounting to a total fee of $100.
The registration fees are based on a calculated budget of $74,000 to staff and run the registration program. All registration fees that are collected are deposited in a segregated account that may only be used to administer the registration program.
The purchaser of a rental unit must have one of the following in escrow with the escrow agent handling the transfer of title to the premises. Upon transfer of title, the escrowed document must be forwarded to the Department of Community Development:
- A copy of a registration form completed by the purchaser, or
- A statement that the premises contains only one rental unit and will be occupied by the purchaser for one year after the transfer of title.
- A registration form cannot be transferred and will be void upon completion of transfer of title to the premises.
If a transferof title takes place before the rental unit is registered under new ownership, the new owner may be assessed administrative penalties for operating an unlicensed rental in addition to the annual registration fee plus a ten dollar ($10) late registration fee.
Inspections will be performed on a written complaint basis only. Anonymous complaints will not be processed.
If an owner or operator is issued a notification of a violation(s) of the Housing Code, the Code Compliance Officer will state in the notice the time period in which the violation(s) must be corrected. If the violation(s) is corrected with the time period specified in the notification, there will be no further action by the Code Compliance Officer and it will not be documented as a violation for purposes of the mandatory semi-annual inspections or administrative penalties. However, if the violation(s) is not corrected within the time period specified in the notification and an extension of time was not granted prior to the reinspection date, the violation will be documented for non-compliance for the purpose of mandatory semi-annual inspections and an administrative penalty will be assessed.
Mandatory semi-annual inspections will be performed for a minimum of 4 years only under the following circumstances:
- If two or more notices and orders to comply have been issued to the owner or operator within a two year period concerning the same premises and have not been complied with in the time provided, that premises shall be subject to semi-annual mandatory inspections.
- If the owner or operator has been convicted of a violation of the Housing Code, all rental units that the owner owns or operator operates shall be subject to semi-annual mandatory inspections for a minimum of four (4) years.
- If the owner or operator has had a premises ordered razed by the Housing Appeals Board, all rental units that the owner owns or operator operates shall be subject to semi-annual mandatory inspections for a minimum of four (4) years.
- A notice or order to comply that is outstanding on or after the effective date of the Environmental Health Housing Code, or a notice or order to comply that was issued 30 days prior to the effective date of the Code will constitute noncompliance for purposes of enforcement of the semi-annual mandatory inspections.
- A conviction that was obtained one year prior to the adoption of the Housing Code will constitute a conviction for purposes of enforcement of the semi-annual mandatory inspections.
An owner or operator criminally charged with a Housing Code violation for the first time and has failed to comply may avoid criminal prosecution through the Code Enforcement Diversion Program. The diversion program allows first time violators dismissal of charges in exchange for payment of a $150 administrative penalty, 7.5 hours of community service, and compliance with the Housing Code.
$125 for a premises with one rental unit;
$175 for a premises with two rental units;
$225 for a premises with three rental units;
$250 for a premises with four rental units;
$265 for a premises with 5 or more rental units, plus a fee of $15 for each additional rental unit on the premises.
- A re-inspection fee in the amount of $50 is charged per rental unit for each re-inspection subsequent to the first two semi-annual inspections. This means that a semi-annual inspection fee of $50 per unit will be charged in years 2,3 and 4.
- All inspection and re-inspection fees collected will be used exclusively for rental unit mandatory inspection purposes.
Whenever the Housing Code Compliance Officer determines that there has been a violation of the Housing Code, he shall give notice of the violation to the person responsible therefore (owner, operator or occupant) and order compliance. The notice and order shall:
- Be put in writing on an appropriate form as developed by the Department of Community Development;
- Include a list of violations, referring to the sections and divisions violated and order remedial action which will effect compliance;
- Specify a reasonable time within which to comply;
- Be served on the operator, owner or occupant by one of the following:
- personally or by certified mail and certificate of mailing to the person's residence, regular place of business;
- last known address or the building affected.
If the certified or certificate of mailing is returned undelivered, a copy shall be posted in a conspicuous place in or on the person's residence, regular place of business, last known address or the building affected.
Whenever a person violates or fails to comply with any of the provisions of the Housing Code, the Housing Code Compliance Officer has the authority to impose an administrative penalty.
The following criteria shall be considered in assessing an administrative penalty:
- The extent to which the person has benefited by the violation;
- The degree of harm to the public health, safety, welfare and aesthetics as a result of the violation;
- The recidivism of the person, including previous compliance and enforcement action;
- Good faith efforts to remedy the violation;
- The duration of the violation after a notice and order of compliance was served.
Administrative penalties, pursant to Section 1341.99 (A):
- For a first offense, an administrative penalty of up to $100.
- For a second offense, an administrative penalty of up to $500.
- For a third offense, an administrative penalty of up to $1,000.
If an owner or operator fails, neglects or refuses to pay an administrative penalty within the time ordered pursuant to Section 1341.04, the Director of Community Development shall notify the Director of Finance to certify the administrative - --penalty to the County Auditor as a special assessment against the real estate at issue. In addition, an interest rate equal to the current rate of interest charged by the City on special assessments shall be imposed for the life of the administrative penalty.
If an occupant who is not the owner of the premises, fails, neglects or refuses to pay an administrative penalty within the time ordered pursuant to Section 1341.04, the Director of Community Development will notify a city prosecutor to institute an action in Civil Court for collection of the amount of the administrative penalty plus interest at a rate as authorized by the Court.
Funds generated by the administrative fines are deposited in a segregated account for Housing Code enforcement purposes only.
The board shall consist of 5 regular members and 2 alternate members who are appointed by the City Manager, with consent of City Commission, for overlapping terms of 3 years.
Members of the Board must be U.S. citizens and residents of the City, who are not employees, that are qualified by experience and/or training to pass on matters pertaining to property maintenance.
The Board must adopt rules of procedure consistent with the Housing Code and elect the officers, which the Board deems necessary.
Three members of the Board constitute a quorum.
The Board shall meet upon notice from the chairperson, within ten days of the filing of an appeal, or at stated periodic meetings as deemed necessary by the chairperson.
Any person affected by any notice and order, which has been issued in connection with the enforcement of the Housing Code, can request a hearing before the Board.
A written request for the hearing must be filed in the office of Community Development within 10 days after the notice and order is served and must be accompanied by a deposit of $15, which is non-refundable.
Upon receipt of the request, the Director of Community Development shall set a time and place for a hearing before the Board.
The hearing shall be held within a reasonable time after a request has been filed.
Written notice of the meeting of the Board shall be given by the Director of Community Development to the appellant and the citizen complainant.
The notice shall be sent by ordinary U.S. mail at least 5 days prior to the date of the hearing.
Notice of the agenda to be heard by the Board shall be on view in the office of the Department of Community Development at least ten days prior to the meeting of the Board.
The City Law Department shall be notified of the hearing.
At the hearing, the appellant shall be given an opportunity to be heard and to show cause why the notice and order should be modified or dismissed, or why a variance should be granted.
The Board can grant a variance by reason of special conditions where undue hardship would result from a literal application of any section of the Housing Code.
Where undue hardship is clearly demonstrated, the Board may permit a variance if the dwelling will vary only a reasonable minimum from the literal provisions of the Housing Code, but will comply with the spirit and intent with respect to sanitation, safety, and rehabilitation.
The failure of the appellant or his representative to appear and present his position at the hearing will be grounds for dismissal of the request.
On hearing, the Board may affirm, disaffirm, modify, or dismiss the notice and order, or grant a variance, by a majority vote of the Board members who are present.
The appellant and the Director of Community Development shall be notified of in writing of the findings.
The proceedings at the hearings, including the findings and decision of the Board and reasons therefor, shall be summarized in writing and entered as a matter of public record in the office of the Director of Community Development.
The record shall include a copy of every notice and order issued in connection with the matter.
Any person aggrieved by the decision of the Board may appeal to a court of competent jurisdiction as provided by the Ohio Revised Code.
- This is only a notice of intent. The Housing Code Compliance Officer does not have authority to order the actual demolition. Only the Housing Appeals Board can issue an order of demolition.
- The Housing Code Compliance Officer can determine that the violations of the Housing Code are so extensive that the premises must be either demolished or repaired by the City due to the dwelling or premises being insecure, unsafe or structurally defective.
- The notice and order of demolition by the Housing Code Compliance Officer must:
- Be written on an appropriate form developed by the Department of Community Development,
- Include a list of violations, referring to the sections and divisions violated, and order remedial action which will affect compliance,
- Specify a reasonable time within which to comply,
- Be served upon all persons listed in the Erie County Recorder's Office and the Erie County Clerk of Courts as having an interest or holding a lien on the dwelling or the premises, and
- Contain notice that the City intends to demolish or repair the dwelling and premises and assess costs to the owners of record, and that the person notified may request a hearing before the Housing Appeals Board.
If the notice given above receives no reply or compliance within the reasonable time ordered by the Housing Code Compliance Officer and a request for a hearing before the Housing Appeals Board has not been received, the Housing Code Compliance Officer must forward a report to the Housing Appeals Board.
- The Housing Appeal Board gives written notice to the owner and all persons having an interest in the premises, as shown by the land records of the Erie County Recorder's Office to appear before the Board on the date specified in the notice.
- Makes written findings of fact from the testimony offered;
- Issues an order based upon the findings of facts made, commanding if proper, that the dwelling or premises in violation must be demolished within 30 days.
- The order shall be served upon the owner and all other persons having an interest in the premises as shown by the land records of the Erie County Recorder's Office and Erie County Clerk of Courts.
- The order shall state that the dwelling or premises will be demolished by the City and that there is right to appeal the Board's order pursuant to Ohio Revised Code Chapter 2506.
- The Board may grant a 30 to 90 day extension for compliance upon showing of satisfactory assurance that the property owner or interested party has the financial and practical capability of initiating and completing the required repairs within the extended time. After one extension has been granted, an additional extension may be granted only upon a showing that substantial progress has been made. In the event of noncompliance, to any extent, or partial repairs, the Board may at any time declare the premises to be a public nuisance and have the premises razed.
- If there is no compliance after 30 days the Board shall cause the dwelling or premises to be repaired, vacated, or demolished as the facts may warrant. The Board will advise the Director of Community Development to institute demolition.
- If the owner fails to pay the costs incurred by the demolition, the costs shall be paid out of the City treasury on the certificate of the Director of Community Development, and the Director of Finance shall then certify the amount so paid to the Auditor of Erie County. The Auditor shall enter the amount on the tax duplicate as a special assessment against the real estate on which the dwelling or premises was situated. The assessment shall be collected as other taxes and refunded to the City when collected.
- Holds a hearing and the Housing Code Compliance Officer, citizens and the owner of the dwelling or premises and all other person having an interest in the premises as shown by the land records of the Erie County Recorder's Office give testimony relative to the fitness of the building for human habitation or use.