[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Grand Chute 1-7-1997 as Ch. 12 of the 1997 Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known and may be cited and referred to as the "Minimum Standards Housing Code, Town of Grand Chute." This chapter establishes minimum standards governing the condition and maintenance of dwellings; establishes minimum standards governing utilities and facilities and other conditions essential to make dwellings safe, sanitary and fit for human habitation; fixes certain responsibilities and duties of owners, operators and occupants of dwellings and dwelling units; authorizes the inspection of dwellings and the condemnation of dwellings unfit for human habitation; and provides penalties for violations.
The provisions of this chapter shall apply to and through June 30, 1974, to all buildings or portions thereof used, or designed or intended to be used, for human habitation. Thereafter, Chapter 220, Article II, Building Regulations, shall apply to all construction and maintenance requirements of new dwellings within the Town of Grand Chute, except that this chapter shall remain in full force and effect to maintain and enforce the standards set forth herein, or in Chapter 220, Article II, as governed by the date of construction of any dwelling or dwelling unit.
Certain words or terms in this chapter are defined for the purpose hereof as follows. Words used in the present tense include the future; words used in the masculine gender include the feminine and neuter; the singular number includes the plural, and the plural number the singular; and the word "dwelling," "dwelling unit" or "premises" includes the words "or any part thereof."
- Approved by the Building Inspector.
- A portion of a building located partly or wholly underground and having 1/2 or more of its clear floor-to-ceiling height below the average grade of the adjoining ground.
- BUILDING INSPECTOR
- The Inspector for the Town of Grand Chute.
- Any building or structure, or part thereof, which is used or intended to be used for living or sleeping.
- DWELLING UNIT
- A room or group of rooms located within a dwelling and forming a single habitable unit with facilities which are used or intended to be used for living, sleeping and cooking.
- The control or elimination of insects, rodents or other pests by eliminating their harborage places, by removing or making inaccessible materials that may serve as their food, by poisoning, spraying, fumigating or trapping, by blocking their access to a dwelling, or by any other recognized and legal pest elimination methods approved by a health officer of the Town of Grand Chute pursuant to the appropriate ordinances.
- FIRST STORY
- That story of a dwelling at or next above the average grade of adjoining ground.
- The animal and/or vegetable waste resulting from the handling, preparation, cooking and consumption of food.
- HABITABLE ROOM
- A room or enclosed floor space used or intended to be used for living, sleeping, cooking or eating purposes, excluding bathrooms, water closet compartments, laundries, pantries, foyers or communicating corridors, closets and storage spaces.
- HALF BASEMENT or LOWER LEVEL
- A portion of a building located partly underground but having less than 1/2 of its clear floor-to-ceiling height below the average grade of the adjoining ground.
- The presence, within or around a dwelling, or in or near waste disposal containers, of any insects, rodents or other pests.
- LIGHT HOUSEKEEPING
- The use of a room or rooms for combined living, sleeping and dining purposes by individuals or groups of persons having part of a dwelling such as stairs or halls in common but living independently of each other and doing their cooking upon the premises, whether in the same or in other units, as distinguished from a dwelling unit or apartment having normal kitchen and toilet facilities.
- LIGHT HOUSEKEEPING UNIT
- The room or rooms occupied for light housekeeping purposes by one individual or group of persons living independently of other such individuals or groups.
- MULTIPLE DWELLING
- Any dwelling containing more than two dwelling units.
- Any person living, sleeping, cooking or eating in or having possession or use of a dwelling unit.
- Any legally responsible person who has charge, care or control of a building or part thereof in which dwelling units are leased or let.
- Any legally responsible person who, alone or jointly or severally with others:
- A. Has legal title to any dwelling with or without actual possession thereof; or
- B. Has charge, care or control of any dwelling as owner or agent of the owner or as executor, executrix, administrator, administratrix, trustee or guardian of the estate of the owner. Any such person thus representing the owner shall be bound to comply with the provisions of this chapter to the same extent as if he were the owner.
- Includes any individual, firm, corporation, association or partnership.
- Water pipes, mechanical garbage disposal units, waste pipes, water closets, sinks, installed dishwashers and clothes-washing machines, lavatories, bathtubs, shower baths, catch basins, drains, vents and other similar supplied fixtures, including all connections to water or sewer lines.
- ROOMING HOUSE
- Any dwelling, or that part of any dwelling, containing one or more rooming units in which space is let by the owner or operator.
- ROOMING UNIT
- Any room or group of rooms forming a single habitable unit used or intended to be used for living and sleeping but not for cooking or eating purposes.
- Combustible or noncombustible waste materials, except garbage, and the term shall include the residue from the burning of wood, coal, coke and other combustible material, paper, rags, cartons, boxes, wood, excelsior, rubber, leather, tree branches, yard trimmings, leaves, tin cans, metals, mineral matter, glass, crockery or dust.
- Paid for, arranged, furnished, or provided by or under control of the owner or operator.
No person shall occupy or let to another for occupancy any dwelling for the purpose of living, sleeping, cooking or eating therein which does not comply with the requirements of this chapter.
Sink, flush water closet, lavatory basin and bathtub or shower in dwellings.
Every dwelling unit shall contain:
A kitchen sink in good working condition, properly connected to an approved water and sewer system.
A room or rooms affording privacy and equipped with a flush water closet, lavatory basin, and bathtub or shower in good working condition, properly connected to an approved water and sewer system.
No water closet shall be of the flush hopper, frostproof hopper, privy or similar type where a sewer system is available to the property; where no sewer is available, then such facilities shall be used only when approved by the Building Inspector.
Access to bathrooms and water closets. Access to each bathroom or water closet compartment shall be provided without requiring passage through a sleeping room, bathroom or water closet compartment of another dwelling unit.
Floors and ventilation of bathrooms and water closets.
Every water closet compartment and bathroom shall be floored with a surface which is reasonably impervious to water and which can be easily kept in a clean and sanitary condition.
Every bathroom and water closet compartment shall be provided with windows meeting the requirements for light and ventilation of habitable rooms prescribed in § 317-6 or with an approved mechanical or gravity ventilation system affording adequate ventilation and maintained in good working condition at all times.
Piped hot and cold running water.
Every kitchen sink, lavatory basin and bathtub or shower required under this chapter shall be connected and supplied with hot and cold running water.
Every dwelling shall have supplied water-heating facilities which are properly installed and connected to waterlines maintained in safe and good working condition and of sufficient capacity to supply an adequate amount of water at every required kitchen sink, lavatory basin, bathtub or shower at a temperature of not less than 120° F.
Window area and ventilation.
Every habitable room shall have at least one window or skylight facing directly to the outdoors. The minimum total window area in every sleeping room shall be 10% of the floor area of such room but not less than 12 square feet. Whenever walls or other portions of structures face a window of any such room and such light obstruction structures are located less than three feet from the window and extend to a level above that of the ceiling of the room, such a window shall not be deemed to face directly to the outdoors and shall not be included as contributing to the required minimum total window area. Whenever the only window in a room is a skylight-type window in the top of such room, the total window area of such skylight shall equal at least 15% of the total floor area.
Every habitable room shall have at least one window which can easily be opened or such other device as will adequately ventilate the room. The total openable window area in every habitable room shall equal at least 45% of the minimum window area required by this section.
When flies or other pests are prevalent, all openable windows as required by Subsection A(2) of this section shall be effectively screened, and screen doors shall be self-closing. Screens and screen doors shall be maintained in good condition.
Every basement window used for ventilation, and every other opening to a building which might provide an entry for rodents, shall be supplied with a screen or such other device as will effectively prevent their entrance.
Electrical outlets. Every habitable room shall contain at least one floor- or wall-type electric convenience outlet and one ceiling electric lighting fixture or two electric convenience outlets, and every water closet compartment, bathroom or hall, furnace room or laundry room shall contain at least one wall- or ceiling-type electric light fixture. Every electrical outlet and fixture shall be properly installed and maintained in good and safe working condition and connected to an approved source of electric power in a safe, approved manner.
Public hall lighting. Every public hall and stairway in every multiple dwelling shall be lighted to at least five footcandles on the floor and stairs at all times.
Heating facilities. Every dwelling shall have heating facilities which are properly installed and vented, are maintained in safe operating condition, and are capable of heating all habitable rooms, bathrooms and water compartments in each dwelling unit therein to a temperature of at least 70° F. at a distance of three feet above floor level when the outside temperature is minus 20° F.
Every dwelling unit shall contain at least 150 square feet of floor space for the first occupant thereof and at least 100 additional square feet of floor space for every additional occupant, in addition to the floor area included in water closet compartments, bathrooms, halls or passageways.
Every room occupied for sleeping purposes shall contain at least 70 square feet of floor space for one occupant or 50 square feet of floor space for each occupant if more than one.
Access to sleeping rooms. No dwelling unit shall be so located or arranged that access thereto requires passage through a habitable room of another dwelling unit.
Ceiling height of habitable rooms. At least 1/2 of the floor area of every habitable room shall have a ceiling height of not less than seven feet of unfinished ceiling height. The floor area of any part of a room where the ceiling height is less than five feet shall not be considered as part of the required floor area.
Basement or half-basement occupancy.
No basement space may be used as a habitable room or dwelling unit, except as hereinafter provided.
In one- and two-family dwellings, kitchens and dining rooms may be located in a basement area having its floor level not more than three feet six inches below the outside finish grade.
A basement space may be used as a living or sleeping room or dwelling unit provided that its floor level is not more than three feet six inches below the outside finish grade at any point and the ceiling of such space shall not be less than four feet above the outside finish grade at any point.
Family rooms may be located in basements or half-basements provided that adequate ventilation is provided. In a one- or two-family residence, any basement or half-basement space may be used as a sleeping room by members of the immediate family of a resident owner, but only on condition that the floors and walls are made impervious to the leakage of underground and surface runoff water, the space is insulated against dampness, the space to be so used complies with all the requirements of this chapter for habitable rooms, and access to the habitable room can be gained without passage through a furnace room.
Members. Every foundation, door, outer wall, ceiling and roof shall be weathertight, watertight, and rodentproof, shall be capable of affording privacy, and shall be kept in good repair.
Openings. Every window, exterior door and basement hatchway or stairway shall be weathertight, watertight and rodentproof and shall be kept in good working condition and repair.
Stairs and porches. Every inside and outside stair and handrail and every porch and porch rail shall be so constructed as to safely support the maximum load that normal use may require and shall be kept in safe condition and good repair at all times. The Building Inspector may require a handrail for each stair if deemed necessary.
Handrails. Every stairway of more than three risers must have a handrail of height corresponding to state statute requirements and be safely enclosed to handrail height.
Mechanical soundness of plumbing. All plumbing shall be properly installed and maintained in sanitary condition, free from defects, leaks and obstructions.
Exits. Every dwelling unit shall have a safe, unobstructed means of egress leading to safe and open space at ground level, as required by the Wisconsin Statutes and the ordinances of the Town of Grand Chute.
Effectiveness. Every supplied facility, piece of equipment, or utility which is required under this chapter shall be so constructed or installed that it will function safely and effectively and shall be maintained in satisfactory working condition.
Owner or owner-occupant responsibility. Every owner or owner-occupant shall be responsible for the cleanliness of all parts of a dwelling and premises shared in common by more than one family and for provision of the following utilities and services, except where such responsibility is assumed by an operator or an occupant by agreement:
Provision of garbage and rubbish disposal facilities or containers where the dwelling exceeds two units.
Extermination of insects, rodents or other pests, except that where only one dwelling unit is infested, the occupant of such infested unit shall be responsible for its extermination, unless the dwelling is not maintained in a reasonably ratproof or insectproof condition.
Provision of all facilities, utilities, services or conditions required by this chapter.
Occupant responsibility. Every occupant of a dwelling unit shall be responsible for keeping the occupied area and premises and all plumbing equipment and facilities in a clean, safe and sanitary condition at all times. Garbage and rubbish shall be disposed of or stored in proper containers in a neat and sanitary manner unless disposed of or stored by the owner or owner-occupant as provided in Subsection A above.
No owner, operator or occupant shall cause any service, facility, equipment or utility to be removed from or shut off from or discontinued in any occupied dwelling unit let or occupied by him, except for such temporary interruption as may be necessary while actual repairs or alterations are in progress or during temporary emergencies when discontinuance of service is approved by the Building Inspector. Upon the discontinuance of gas or electric service for cause by a public utility company or upon discontinuance of any municipal or other service for cause, the Building Inspector shall be notified and shall thereupon take immediate steps to have the responsible person correct conditions leading to such discontinuance of service. This section shall not be construed to prevent the cessation or discontinuance of any such service upon order of the Building Inspector or any other authorized officials.
All dwellings or parts thereof which have any of the following defects shall be deemed dangerous dwellings and shall be condemned as unfit for human habitation:
Those whose interior or exterior bearing walls or other vertical structural members list, lean or buckle to such an extent as to weaken the structural support they provide.
Those which, excluding the foundation, show 33% or more of damage or deterioration of the supporting member or members or 50% or more of damage or deterioration of the nonsupporting enclosing or outside walls or covering.
Those which have improperly distributed loads upon the floors or roofs or in which the same are overloaded or which have insufficient strength to be reasonably safe for the purpose used.
Those which have been damaged by fire, wind or other causes so as no longer to provide shelter from the elements and which have become dangerous to life, safety, morals or the general health and welfare of the occupants or the people of the Town of Grand Chute.
Those which have become or are so dilapidated, decayed, unsafe, unsanitary or vermin-infested or obsolete that they are likely to cause sickness or disease or injury to the health, morals, safety or general welfare of those living therein or of the people at large.
Those which lack light, air and sanitation facilities as required by this chapter to protect the health, morals, safety or general welfare of persons living therein.
Those which lack the facilities required by this chapter for egress in case of fire or panic or those which have insufficient stairways, elevators, fire escapes, or other means of ingress and egress required herein.
Those which have parts thereof which are so attached that they may fall and injure occupants or the public or other property.
Declaration of nuisance and orders.
All dangerous dwellings or parts thereof within the terms of this chapter are hereby declared to be public nuisances and shall be vacated and repaired or demolished in accordance with the provisions of § 317-13 of this chapter.
In any case where a dangerous dwelling is 50% or more damaged or decayed or deteriorated from its original structure, or where it cannot be repaired so as to comply with the terms of this chapter, the provisions of § 317-13 of this chapter shall be followed.
The Building Inspector is hereby authorized and directed to make inspections to determine the condition of dwellings, dwelling units and premises located within the Town of Grand Chute in order to safeguard the health and safety of the occupants of such dwellings and of the general public. For this purpose and upon showing proper identification, the Building Inspector is authorized to enter, examine and survey at any reasonable hour all dwellings, dwelling units and premises, but the owner, occupant or the person in charge thereof may give the Building Inspector free access thereto for the purpose of such inspection or require a warrant to accomplish the same.
Every occupant of a dwelling shall give the owner thereof or his agent or employee access to any part of such dwelling or its premises at any reasonable hour for the purpose of making any repairs or alterations which are necessary to effect compliance with the provisions of this chapter or any lawful order issued pursuant thereto.
No officer, agent or employee of the Town of Grand Chute shall be personally liable for any damage that may accrue to persons or property as a result of any act required or permitted in the discharge of his duties under this chapter. Any suit brought against any officer, agent or employee of the Town of Grand Chute as a result of the proper discharge of his duties under this chapter shall be defended by the Town of Grand Chute Town Attorney until final determination of the proceedings therein.
Notices of violation.
Contents of notice.
Whenever the Building Inspector determines that there has been a violation of any provision of this chapter he shall give notice of such violation to the person or persons responsible therefor and order compliance with this chapter as hereinafter provided. Such notice and order shall be in writing on an appropriate form and shall include:
Such notice and order shall be served upon the owner, occupant or agent in person; provided, however, that the notice and order shall be deemed to be properly served if such owner, occupant or agent is sent a copy thereof by registered mail to his last known address and a copy is posted in a conspicuous place in or on the dwelling affected.
Whenever the Building Inspector determines that a dwelling is a dangerous dwelling as defined in § 317-11, he shall:
Affix upon the door or entrance to such dwelling a printed placard declaring that such dwelling is unfit for human habitation and is ordered vacated. No person shall deface or remove such placard from any dwelling which has been condemned as unfit for human habitation and placarded as such. The Building Inspector shall remove the placard whenever the defect or defects upon which the condemnation and placarding were based have been eliminated.
Serve notice, as provided herein, to the owner and occupant or lessee of any building found by him to be a dangerous dwelling within the standards set forth in § 317-11 that the owner must vacate and repair or demolish said building in accordance with the terms of the notice and this chapter, and the occupant or lessee must vacate said building or, with the consent of the owner, may have it repaired in accordance with the notice and order and remain in possession.
Any person affected by a notice and order issued in connection with the enforcement of this chapter may request and shall be granted a hearing on the matter before the Town Board, provided that such person shall file in the office of the Building Inspector a written petition requesting the hearing and setting forth his name, address, telephone number and a brief statement of the grounds for the hearing or for the mitigation of the order. Such petition shall be filed 30 days after the date the notice and order are served. Upon receipt of the petition, the Building Inspector shall set a time and place for a hearing before the Town Board and shall give the petitioner written notice thereof. Said hearing shall be held within 30 days after a petition has been filed, and the petitioner shall be given an opportunity to be heard and to show cause why the notice and order should be modified or withdrawn. The failure of the petitioner or his representative to appear and to state his case at such hearing shall have the same effect as if no petition were filed.
After the hearing, the Town Board, by a majority vote, shall sustain, modify or withdraw the notice, depending on its findings as to whether the provisions of this chapter have been complied with, and the petitioner and the Building Inspector shall be notified within 10 days in writing of such findings.
The proceedings of the hearing, including the findings and decision of the Town Board and the reasons therefor, shall be summarized in writing and entered as a matter of public record in the office of the Building Inspector. Such record shall also include a copy of every notice and order issued in connection with the case.
Orders to vacate.
Where a notice of violation and order to comply have been served pursuant to this chapter and, upon reinspection at the end of the time specified for compliance, if no petition for a hearing has been filed, it is found that the violation or violations have not been remedied, the Building Inspector may order the dwelling, or parts thereof affected by the continued violations, vacated in accordance with the following procedure:
Dwellings shall be vacated within a reasonable time, not to exceed 60 days.
Vacated dwellings shall have all outer doors firmly locked and basement, cellar and first- and second-story windows barred or boarded to prevent entry.
Vacated dwellings shall not again be used for human habitation until written approval is secured from the Building Inspector.
If a dwelling or part thereof is not vacated within the time specified in the order of vacation, the Building Inspector shall seek a court order in a court of competent jurisdiction for the vacation of such dwelling or part thereof.
Emergency order. Whenever the Building Inspector finds that an emergency exists which requires immediate action to protect the health and safety of the residents or of the public, he may issue an order so stating, and notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter such order shall take effect and shall be complied with immediately. Upon petition to the Town Board, the petitioner shall be afforded a hearing pursuant to Subsection B of this section.
Vacation and demolition.
If the owner, occupant, or lessee fails to comply with the order of the Building Inspector or the action of the Town Board after hearing, the Building Inspector shall cause such dwelling or part thereof to be vacated and repaired or demolished as the facts may warrant and shall, with the assistance of the Town of Grand Chute Town Attorney, cause the costs of such repair or demolition to be charged against the land on which the building existed as a municipal lien or to be recovered in a suit at law against the owner.
In cases where it reasonably appears that there is immediate danger to the life or safety of any person unless a dangerous dwelling as defined herein is immediately vacated and repaired or demolished, the Building Inspector shall cause its immediate vacation and repair or demolition. The costs of such emergency repair or demolition shall be collected in the same manner as provided in Subsection E(1) above.
Violation of the provisions of this chapter or failure to comply with any of its requirements shall constitute a forfeiture. Any person who violates any provision of this chapter or fails to comply with any of its requirements shall, upon conviction thereof, be fined as provided in the Uniform Forfeiture and Bond Schedules and, upon failure to pay such forfeiture, be imprisoned in the county jail for a period not to exceed 30 days, until the forfeiture is paid, and in addition shall pay all costs and expenses involved in the case. Each day such violation continues shall be considered a separate offense.
The provisions of this chapter shall be held to be the minimum requirements to protect the health, safety, morals and welfare of the people of the Town of Grand Chute, and where this chapter imposes greater requirements than imposed by other provisions of law or ordinance this chapter shall control.