PRINTER'S NO. 527
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SENATE BILL
No.
493
Session of
2019
INTRODUCED BY KEARNEY, HUTCHINSON, MARTIN, J. WARD AND SCHWANK,
MARCH 29, 2019
REFERRED TO LOCAL GOVERNMENT, MARCH 29, 2019
AN ACT
Amending Title 53 (Municipalities Generally) of the Pennsylvania
Consolidated Statutes, in consolidated county assessment,
further providing for definitions, for changes in assessed
valuation and for abstracts of building and demolition
permits to be forwarded to the county assessment office.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Section 8802 of Title 53 of the Pennsylvania
Consolidated Statutes is amended by adding a definition to read:
§ 8802. Definitions.
The following words and phrases when used in this chapter
shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
context clearly indicates otherwise:
* * *
"Normal regular repairs." As follows:
(1) The term shall include:
(i) The repair or replacement of materials or
components of property features for the purpose of
maintenance.
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(ii) The replacement of existing property features
with new versions reasonably similar in function,
quality, material and dimension.
(2) As used in this definition, the term "property
features" includes, but is not limited to, roofing, siding,
flooring, heating and air conditioning systems and windows.
* * *
Section 2. Sections 8817(a) and 8861 of Title 53 are amended
to read:
§ 8817. Changes in assessed valuation.
(a) General rule.--In addition to other authorization
provided in this chapter, the assessors may change the assessed
valuation on real property when a parcel of land is subdivided
into smaller parcels or when improvements are made to real
property or existing improvements are removed from real property
or are destroyed. The recording of a subdivision plan shall not
constitute grounds for assessment increases until lots are sold
or improvements are installed. The painting of a building or the
normal regular repairs to a building [aggregating $2,500 or less
in value annually] shall not be deemed cause for a change in
valuation by the assessors under the authority of this section.
* * *
§ 8861. [Abstracts of building and demolition permits to be
forwarded] Submission of permit and substantial
improvement information to the county assessment
office and civil penalty.
(a) Permit.--Every municipality, third-party agency or the
Department of Labor and Industry responsible for the issuance of
building permits or demolition permits shall forward a copy of
each [building] permit to the county assessment office on or
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before the first day of every month. In addition to any charge
otherwise permitted by law, a municipality, a third-party agency
or the Department of Labor and Industry may charge an additional
fee of $10 to each person to whom a permit is issued for
administrative costs incurred in compliance with this section.
The assessment office may provide for the electronic submission
of permits and may establish the format for the submission of
permit information. The provision of permits or permit
information to the assessment office as required by this section
shall not be subject to the procedures of the act of February
14, 2008 (P.L.6, No.3), known as the Right-to-Know Law . No
agency, public official or public employee shall be liable for
civil or criminal damages or penalties for complying with this
section.
(a.1) Noncompliance.--If the county assessment office has
reason to believe that there is noncompliance with subsection
(a), the assessment office shall provide written notice to the
municipality and, if applicable, a third-party agency, or to the
Department of Labor and Industry in the case of noncompliance by
the Department of Labor and Industry. Upon receipt of the
notice, the municipality, third-party agency or Department of
Labor and Industry shall investigate and consult with the
assessment office and take any steps the municipality, third-
party agency or Department of Labor and Industry deems necessary
to remediate the noncompliance. If, after consultation,
noncompliance with subsection (a) continues, the assessment
office may:
(1) In the case of continuing noncompliance after notice
by a municipality or the Department of Labor and Industry,
institute an action in mandamus before the court of common
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pleas to compel compliance with subsection (a). Should the
court determine that the noncompliance is intentional, the
court shall award any costs, disbursements, reasonable
attorney fees and witness fees relating to the action to the
assessment office.
(2) In the case of continuing noncompliance after notice
by a third-party agency, file a complaint with the Department
of Labor and Industry. Intentional noncompliance with
subsection (a) shall constitute just cause for corrective
action by the Department of Labor and Industry. The
assessment office shall, along with the complaint or as
directed by the Department of Labor and Industry, provide the
Department of Labor and Industry with documentation of the
notice required by this section and any other evidence
related to the intentional noncompliance.
(b) Substantial improvement.--If a person makes improvements
to any real property, other than painting of or normal regular
repairs to a building, aggregating more than [$2,500] $4,000 in
value and a building permit is not required for the
improvements, the property owner shall furnish the following
information to the board:
(1) the name and address of the person owning the
property;
(2) a description of the improvements made or to be made
to the property; and
(3) the dollar value of the improvements.
(b.1) County improvement certification form.--The county
commissioners may, by ordinance, require that all persons making
substantial improvements to property as set forth in subsection
(b) submit to the county assessment office a county improvement
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certification form setting forth the information in subsection
(b) prior to beginning any substantial improvement, regardless
of whether a building permit is required. The county may provide
for the electronic submission of the form and a fee no greater
than $5. The county may cooperate with a municipality, third-
party agency or the Department of Labor and Industry in the
distribution of forms.
(c) [Penalty.--Any person that intentionally fails to comply
with the provisions of subsection (b) or intentionally falsifies
the information provided, shall, upon conviction in a summary
proceeding, be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $50.]
Civil penalty.--
(1) The board may assess a civil penalty of not more
than $100 upon a person for intentionally failing to comply
with the provisions of subsection (b) or an ordinance enacted
in accordance with subsection (b.1) or intentionally
falsifying the information required.
(2) If a civil penalty is assessed against a person
under paragraph (1), the board must notify the person by
certified mail of the nature of the violation and the amount
of the civil penalty and that the person may notify the board
in writing within 10 calendar days that the person wishes to
contest the civil penalty. If, within 10 calendar days from
the receipt of that notification, the person does not notify
the county board of assessment of the person's intent to
contest the assessed penalty, the civil penalty shall become
final.
(3) If timely notification of the intent to contest the
civil penalty is given, the person contesting the civil
penalty shall be provided with a hearing in accordance with 2
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Pa.C.S. Chs. 5 Subch. B (relating to practice and procedure
of local agencies) and 7 Subch. B (relating to judicial
review of local agency action).
(d) Existing provisions preserved.--Nothing in this section
shall supersede or preempt any ordinance, resolution or other
requirement of a county to submit information on substantial
improvements in effect on the effective date of this subsection.
(e) Substantial improvement value.--Beginning January 1 of
the year immediately following the effective date of this
subsection and each January 1 thereafter, the amount set forth
in subsection (b) shall be increased by the percentage change in
the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for the
Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland area, for the
most recent 12-month period that figures have been officially
reported by the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of
Labor Statistics immediately prior to the date the adjustment is
due to take effect. The chief assessor shall maintain an
accurate record of the adjusted amount applicable for each year.
Section 3. This act shall take effect in 60 days.
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