Buffalo City Charter

341-14 Posting name of owner and/or agent of properties not in compliance with housing and property codes.

[Added 7-22-1997, effective 8-5-1997; amended 1-21-2003, effective 2-4-2003]

A. When the Commissioner determines that the owner or agent of record for real property within the City has not complied with the standards of this chapter or other standards or laws for the construction, replacement or repair of buildings, the Commissioner shall immediately serve notice upon that owner or agent of record as provided below and may have erected a sign with the text stated below on the public right-of-way adjacent to the subject structure. The sign is in addition to any and all remedies available to the City in state law, City Charter or ordinance regarding property maintenance, building and fire codes and notwithstanding any fine or penalty imposed pursuant to provisions of this chapter or other law. The owner or agent of record determined to be in violation shall be personally liable for the cost of purchasing, erecting and dismantling the sign, as well as the costs of any repair, demolition or other related work performed by the City of Buffalo where it is necessary for the City to cause said work to be done.

B. Such notice shall contain a description of the premises; a statement of the particulars of the code violations; a statement that, if such owner or agent of record so served shall fail to commence code compliance within 10 days from service of said notice, the City of Buffalo shall have the right to post a sign as provided for in this section on the right-of-way immediately adjacent to that owner's property; a statement describing the text of sign as provided in Subsection G below; a statement that the sign once erected will be dismantled upon satisfactory compliance with the code by the owner or agent, the place and return date for a hearing on the violations; and a statement that the costs of enforcement, including, but not limited to, the costs of purchasing, erecting and dismantling the sign if erected, will be the personal liability of the owner or agent.

C. The notice aforementioned shall also contain the time and place at which a hearing will be granted before the Commissioner to the owner or agent of record described in the notice, at which time and place the owner or agent shall be afforded the opportunity to present testimony and evidence regarding the conditions of the property, with reference to those particulars contained in the aforementioned notice.

D. The aforementioned notice by the Commissioner shall be served in either of the following manners: (1) Personally upon the owner or agent of record; or (2) By registered mail, in a securely fastened, postpaid wrapper, addressed to the owner, at that owner's last known place of address as shown by the records of the Department of Assessment and Taxation, the Director of the Treasury or the Clerk of the County of Erie and by posting a copy of the notice on the premises involved.

E. After service of the aforementioned notice, a subsequent inspection shall be performed. If, after the third subsequent inspection is performed, the owner has not performed the required repairs, the Commissioner of Permit and Inspection Services then has the option to have erected a sign described in this section.

F. The time of said hearing shall be specified on a date no sooner than five days after service of the notice and no later than the 10th day after service thereof.

(1) Further determination. If the owner or agent submits evidence at such hearing, the Commissioner shall thereafter make a further determination, which shall:

(a) Affirm the original determination;

(b) Modify the specifications of the original determination;

(c) Establish a timetable for code compliance; or

(d) Vacate the original notice.

(2) The Commissioner shall promptly provide notice of the further determination to the owner or agent of record.

G. The sign mentioned in Subsection A above shall be at least 18 inches in height by 24 inches in width, mounted on two standards of sufficient integrity to withstand normal wind loads. The sign shall be mounted on the standards at a height of no more than 42 inches from existing grade so as not to hamper the line of sight for pedestrians and motor vehicles. This sign shall have a white background with black lettering stating the following: "This property is contributing to the spread of slum and blight in the City of Buffalo. "This property is owned by _________ (name of owner or agent), who resides at _________ (address of record), in the City/Town/Village of _________, State of _______. If further information is needed, the owner of this structure may be contacted at ________ (owner's telephone number). "This sign has been erected by the City of Buffalo as a public service in the war against slums and blight."

H. The sign shall remain erected as long as the Commissioner deems appropriate. The Commissioner may have the sign dismantled once the Commissioner is satisfied that the violation leading to posting of the sign has been abated and that the owner or agent of record complies with relevant code provisions.

I. The owner or agent of record shall file with the Department of Assessment and Taxation a written statement showing his or her current name, address, and telephone number. The address given shall not be a post office box. Failure to provide such information shall subject the owner or agent of record to a fine as provided in 137-7.

J. Definitions. For purposes of this section, the following terms or words shall have the meaning and effect as follows:

COMMISSIONER The Commissioner of Permit and Inspection Services or designee.

OWNER OR AGENT OF RECORD Any owner of real property or premises within the City as indicated within the records of the Department of Assessment and Taxation obtained pursuant to City Charter Sections 28-4 and 28-5 or from other sources, the Director of the Treasury, other City records or the Clerk of the County of Erie or any other person who has agreed to be the owner's agent.