[HISTORY: Adopted by the Municipal Council of the Municipality of Norristown 3-15-2005 by Ord. No. 05-06. Amendments noted where applicable.]
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:
- Subsections A through G shall constitute dwellings.
- (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.
- 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.