Pittsburgh Legal Back Talk

Legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus.

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Time is Running Out to Register Rental Properties in the City of Pittsburgh.

Posted By Cliff Tuttle | February 18, 2009

Posted by Cliff Tuttle

The City of Pittsburgh’s Residential Rental Registration Ordinance requires that all residential landlords must be registered no later than April 1, 2009 or face a fine up to $1,000 per unit per month. The first step is to report to the Bureau of Building Inspection at Room 320 at 200 Ross Street. The best time is probably 8:00 AM, the opening bell. Don’t come any later at 2:00 — even that may be too late. Expect a substantial wait at most times, probably an hour. Food and drink is available from vending machines if you become weak from standing. The application fee is $25.00 per unit.

If you don’t have an occupancy permit. this will be your next step, followed by a trip to the cashier — they’ll gladly show you where to go. Most single family residences do not have occupancy permits, since it was not required, at least not until now. Be prepared to pay $40.00 per permit.

There may also be other zoning issues involving multiple units without occupancy permits or with occupancy permits specifying fewer units. If you think you have one of these, it is best to get started right away.

When you complete the day’s activities, you are just getting rolling. You will be instructed to contact a designated building inspector to have an on-site inspection.

The permits cost $12 per unit and must be displayed at the residence. That will be interesting — I wouldn’t trust my original permit in the house with the tenant. However, if the tenants trash them, don’t worry. You’ll be getting another one for another $12.00 per unit next year and every year.

Of course, there is a reason for maintaining this expensive data base. Chapter 670 of the City of Pittsburgh Code of Ordinances is entitled: “Disruptive Property Abatement”. If you are a landlord in the City, you need to know something about this ordinance.

The City Council has authorized the Director of Public Safety . . . “to charge the cost of law enforcement resulting from authorities being called to a disruptive property to the property owner in order to deter repeated violation of state and local law, and to pursue misdemeanor charges against the owner and/or occupant of a disruptive property when disruptive activity (as defined herein) remains unabated over an unreasonably long period of time.”

The list of City Ordinances classified as disruptive activity is rather extensive. It runs the gamut from noise control to drugs. And yes, Arlo, littering is included, too.

670.2(b): “When the Director determines that the owner(s), tenant(s) or occupant(s) of a property, or any person present at the property with the permission and knowledge of he owner(s), tenant(s) or occupant(s), has either been arrested or issued a citation or summons for disruptive activities occurring on the property on three (3) separate occasions within any sixty day period, the director my declare the property a disruptive property and proceed with the notice and enforcement procedures set forth in this chapter.”

More about this fascinating ordinance soon.



CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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