Borough of Norristown, PA
Montgomery County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Municipal Council of the Municipality of Norristown 3-15-2005 by Ord. No. 05-06. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Housing Code Review Committee — See Ch. 33.
Apartments — See Ch. 107.
Property maintenance — See Ch. 239.
Zoning — See Ch. 320.
Municipal Council has identified that overcrowding is often a problem in rental properties and in small single-family dwellings. It can create serious problems; for example, disease spreads more easily, privacy is lost, mental health is affected and buildings are subject to more abuse and wear. Overcrowding can have a destructive effect on a whole neighborhood if it takes place in several houses on the same block or in several units in the same apartment building. Reducing overcrowding will reduce related health and safety hazards. This chapter requires all types of dwelling units to comply with the occupancy area requirements. There is no exception for owner-occupied houses; however, overcrowding of owner-occupied, single-family residences requires the careful thought and judgment of the code official to determine an appropriate course of action.
It shall be unlawful for the owner to permit overcrowded conditions in his or her dwelling. If the owner of a dwelling shall commit the aforesaid illegal conduct, the owner shall immediately be issued a citation by a representative of the Municipality of Norristown. (See definitions in § 222-4.)
If the owner of the dwelling shall be found by a court of competent jurisdiction to violate § 222-2 of this chapter, upon conviction, be sentenced to pay a fine no more than $1,000 and no less than $300 and the cost of prosecution.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
DWELLING
Subsections A through G shall constitute dwellings.
A. 
A dwelling designed for and occupied exclusively as a residence for only one family and not attached to any other building or dwelling units.
B. 
A residential building containing two dwelling units and which is not attached to any other building. A two-family building counts as two dwelling units for density purposes.
C. 
A two-family building with dwelling units placed side-by-side and joined to each other by a vertical, common party wall but otherwise surrounded by yard areas. When lotted, each dwelling unit may be on a separate lot, with the common boundary between the two lots running along the common party wall. Separate ingress and egress is provided to each unit.
D. 
A two-family building with one dwelling unit placed above the other so that they share a common horizontal partition. When lotted, a duplex shall be entirely on one lot. Separate ingress and egress is provided to each unit.
E. 
A dwelling unit having its own independent outside access, with no other dwelling units located directly and totally above or below it, and having party walls in common with at least one but not more than three adjacent similar dwelling units and located in a building comprised of at least three dwelling units. Each dwelling unit may be individually lotted or owned as a condominium. This dwelling type shall include but not be limited to dwelling units commonly known as "townhouses," "rowhouses," "triplexes," "quadruplexes," and "multiplexes."
F. 
A single-family attached dwelling in a row of at least three units, with one dwelling unit from ground to roof, with individual outside access. Although these units are in rows, their design should deemphasize a lined-up appearance.
G. 
(1) 
A detached residential building containing three or more dwelling units. Units may be arranged entirely in vertical rows (like townhouses) and are generally located entirely above or below one another. Units may share outside access and/or internal hallways, lobbies and similar facilities. The dwelling units cannot be individually lotted, but instead share the lot or tract on which the building containing them is located. The development is usually under one operating unit, as a rental or condominium development.
(2) 
This dwelling type includes but is not limited to low-rise, mid-rise and high-rise apartments and multifamily conversions as defined below.
(a) 
An apartment building not exceeding three stories and 36 feet in height, also known as a "garden apartment."
(b) 
An apartment building exceeding three stories and 36 feet in height but not exceeding six stories and 72 feet in height.
(c) 
An apartment building exceeding six stories and 72 feet in height but not exceeding 10 stories and 120 feet in height.
(d) 
A multifamily dwelling, containing not more than four units, that results from the conversion of a single-family or two-family dwelling, also known as a "converted apartment building."
OCCUPANT/PERSON
Any human being that sleeps on the premises. This definition is solely used in context of this chapter and is not meant to be used to apply to any other laws created by the Municipality of Norristown.
[Amended 6-3-2008 by Ord. No. 08-16]
OVERCROWDED CONDITIONS
Dwelling units shall not exceed the below stated occupancy level or fail to meet minimum square footage requirements outlined below (Subsections A through E); if they do so exceed the occupancy level or minimum square footage, that dwelling shall be considered overcrowded:
A. 
Sleeping (bedroom) space shall be at least 70 square feet for a mom occupied by one person and 50 square feet per person is required for a room occupied by more than one person.
B. 
A living room shall not be required if there are only one or two occupants per dwelling or apartment. If there are three to five occupants in a dwelling or an apartment there must be at least 120 square feet allocated for a living room. If there are six or more occupants in a dwelling at least 150 square feet must be allocated for a living room.
C. 
A dining room shall not be required if there are only one or two occupants per dwelling or apartment. If there are three to five occupants in a dwelling or apartment there must be at least 80 square feet allocated for a dining room. If there are six or more occupants at least 100 square feet must be allocated for a dining room.
D. 
A bathroom/personal hygiene room shall be required per each dwelling or apartment. If there are six or more occupants, at least two bathrooms shall be provided in each dwelling or apartment. A bathroom is defined by the 2003 International Property Maintenance Code as a room containing, plumbing fixtures including a bathroom or shower.
E. 
The calculations for square footage required for living and dining rooms in Subsections B and C above shall be in addition to those required by Subsection A.