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MILLERSVILLE BOROUGH v. MARTIN FRUITMAN AND SANDRA FRUITMAN (05/09/89)

decided: May 9, 1989.

MILLERSVILLE BOROUGH, APPELLANT
v.
MARTIN FRUITMAN AND SANDRA FRUITMAN, APPELLEES



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County, in the case of Millersville Borough v. Martin Fruitman and Sandra Fruitman, No. 2769 of 1987.

COUNSEL

Peter M. Schannauer, for appellant.

No appearance for the appellee.

Judges Barry and Colins (p.), and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Colins.

Author: Colins

[ 125 Pa. Commw. Page 661]

The Borough of Millersville (Borough) appeals an order of the Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas (trial court) which dismissed an action in equity brought by the Borough. The Borough's action sought to restrain Martin and Sandra Fruitman (appellees) from continuing to violate the Borough's Housing Maintenance and Occupancy Code (Housing Code) by submitting to an inspection and obtaining a license for a leased residential property owned by appellees.

The Borough's Housing Code in relevant portion requires that property owners who lease their property must apply for an annual rental license for which a fee of $30.00 is charged. Prior to granting a rental license, the Borough is required to perform an inspection of the rental unit which must be in substantial conformance with the Housing Code. The Borough adopted its Housing Code pursuant to the authority granted in Section 1202(24) of the Borough Code*fn1 which permits a Borough to "enact and enforce ordinances relating to buildings and housing, their construction, alteration, extension, repair and maintenance and all facilities and services in or about such buildings or housing, . . . to provide for enforcement

[ 125 Pa. Commw. Page 662]

    of such regulations by a reasonable fine, and by instituting appropriate actions or proceedings at law, or in equity, to effect the purposes of this provision and ordinances enacted thereunder. . . ."

Appellees own a house located at 419 North George Street, Millersville, which was rented without a license to tenants in both 1987 and 1988. The Borough mailed appellees at least two notices of violation informing them that the rental of their property without obtaining a license constituted a violation of the Housing Code. Although appellees were afforded the opportunity to appeal the notices of violation to the Housing and Betterment Committee, they failed to do so.

The Borough instituted the present equity action pursuant to Section 108.4(1)*fn2 of the Housing Code in order to restrain and correct appellees' continuing violations of the Housing Code. Appellees' answer and new matter admitted that they had not applied for a license, but argued that their noncompliance was due to the unconstitutional provisions contained in the Housing Code.*fn3 Although the Borough filed preliminary objections

[ 125 Pa. Commw. Page 663]

    to the answer and new matter of appellees, these were later withdrawn by ...


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