City of Lowell, MA
Middlesex County
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Lowell as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES

Building construction — See Ch. 115.

Electrical standards — See Ch. 140.

Fire prevention — See Ch. 155.

Health and sanitation — See Ch. 171.

Property maintenance — See Ch. 227.

Waste and recycling — See Ch. 176.

Water and sewers — See Ch. 272.

ARTICLE I
Rental Property (§ 176-1 — § 176-3) 

[Adopted 4-26-1988 as Ch. 10, Art. I of the 1988 Code; amended in its entirety 10-9-2012]

§ 176-1
Definitions. 

§ 176-2
Permits; inspection; fair housing. 

§ 176-3
Violations and penalties. 

§ 176-1 Definitions.

As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:

OWNER'S AGENT
Any person, entity, agency, firm, or corporation authorized to represent the owner in matters pertaining to the management, rental, collection of rents, or maintenance of the rental unit.
RENTAL UNIT
As established by Massachusetts Sanitary Code (105 CMR 410) and the Lowell Zoning Code, any legal dwelling, housing, rooming, or tenement unit provided, rented or operated for compensation, and allowing occupancy by one or more persons for 30 or more consecutive days. Rental units shall not include dormitories, owner-occupied two-family units, health-care facilities, or units designated specifically for the care of the sick, aged, disabled or convalescent.
VIOLATION NOTICE
A written notice of violation or violation ticket issued by a code enforcement inspector from the Division of Development Services or Lowell Fire Department indicating one or more violations of Massachusetts Sanitary Code, Building Code, Fire Code or local ordinances.

§ 176-2 Permits; inspection; fair housing.

A. 

No person, firm, agency, or corporation shall rent, operate, or provide residential occupancy, for 30 consecutive days or more, with compensation, any dwelling, tenement, housing, or rooming unit without a valid rental unit permit issued by the city.

B. 

A rental unit permit shall be issued upon application, payment of the required fee as set forth in Chapter 150, proof of fair housing compliance, and the satisfactory result of an inspection by a City code enforcement inspector to determine that the unit's and the building's common areas conform to Massachusetts General Laws, Massachusetts Sanitary Code (105 CMR 410), this article and other applicable state and local laws and regulations.

C. 

Rental unit permits are required for all rental units in a building. In buildings containing six or more rental units, the rental unit permits may be issued for all of the building's rental units following an inspection of a sample of units consisting of no less than 10% or three of the rental units contained within the building, whichever is greater. The sample of units shall be selected by the code enforcement inspector.

D. 

An inspection will not be required for rental units where an annual inspection is conducted in conjunction with funding or rental vouchers from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), provided the owner or owner's agent submits a copy of the satisfactory HUD inspection report, which must have occurred within the 12 months preceding the rental unit permit application.

E. 

Anyone seeking a rental unit permit shall be provided with information regarding applicable federal, state, and local fair housing laws and regulations and shall submit with his permit application a sworn statement attesting to his having received and reviewed this documentation and affirming fair housing compliance.

F. 

Anyone seeking a rental unit permit must provide a designated person-in-charge for each property containing a rental unit. The name and contact information, including a phone number, must be provided with the rental permit application. Any changes to the person-in-charge or his/her contact information shall be submitted to the City within seven days of the change.

G. 

The rental unit permit shall expire on the last day of the month, three years from issuance. Nothing in this article shall prohibit an owner or owner's agent for seeking rental unit permits more frequently, provided the requirements for the permit, including a complete application, satisfactory inspection, and payment of the permit fee, are met.

H. 

If a rental unit or the common areas of the building the rental unit is located in has, within the three years of the valid permit period, generated three or more violation notices of the Sanitary Code, Building Code, Fire Code or local ordinances, excluding violations of Chapter 270, Waste and Recycling, or combination thereof, or one or more life safety violation notices, the rental unit permit shall be revoked, and notice will be sent to the owner or owner's agent indicating the permit's revoked status and providing a deadline of 30 days to vacate the unit or obtain a new valid rental unit permit. Subsequent rental unit permits will be issued following a satisfactory inspection by a City code enforcement inspector and will be valid for one year only, until the rental unit and/or building common areas have had three consecutive years without generating three or more violation notices, excluding violations of Chapter 270, Waste and Recycling, or one or more life safety violation notices. Violations of life safety are determined by the code enforcement inspector in accordance with the Massachusetts Building Code, Sanitary Code and/or Fire Code.

I. 

For rental units with HUD funding or vouchers, if the rental unit or the common areas of the building the rental unit is located in has, within the three years of the valid permit period, generated three or more notices of violation of the Sanitary Code, Building Code, Fire Code or local ordinances, excluding violations of Chapter 270, Waste and Recycling, or combination thereof, or one or more life safety notices of violation, the rental unit permit shall be revoked, and notification shall be provided to the owner or owner's agent, with copy to HUD, indicating the permit's revoked status and providing 30 days to vacate the unit or obtain a new valid rental unit permit. Subsequent rental unit permits will be issued following a satisfactory inspection by a City code enforcement inspector and will be valid for one year only, until the rental unit and/or building common areas have had three consecutive years without generating three or more violation notices, excluding violations of Chapter 270, Waste and Recycling, or one or more life safety violation notices. Violations of life safety are determined by the code enforcement inspector in accordance with the Massachusetts Building Code, Sanitary Code and/or Fire Code.

J. 

The owner or owner's agent may appeal the decision to revoke a rental unit permit to the Board of Health. The appeal must be received within 15 days of the notice of the revoked permit being received, on the form provided by the Division of Development Services. A hearing will be set for the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Health, provided the appeal application is received 14 days prior to the meeting. If the appeal application is received less than 14 days prior to the next regularly scheduled Board of Health meeting, the appeal hearing will be set for the following regularly scheduled Board of Health meeting. The owner or owner's agent will have the right to inspect the public record regarding the matter and to appear and/or be represented at the hearing. Any person aggrieved by the appeal decision issued under this article may seek relief in any court of competent jurisdiction as provided by the laws of the commonwealth.

K. 

This article does not limit, eliminate, or in any way impact the City's authority to respond to complaints and/or requests for inspection from owners and/or tenants, seek remedy for violations, or pursue other enforcement allowed by state and local laws.

§ 176-3 Violations and penalties.

A. 

This article shall be enforced by City code enforcement inspectors or other designees.

B. 

There shall be a penalty of not more than $300 for any violation of this article. Each day of violation shall constitute a separate offense.