[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Muskego 12-23-1964 by Ord. No. 1 as Ch. 19 of the 1964 Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter is to prevent the deterioration of residential units and neighborhoods. This code recognizes that such deterioration could develop because of faulty design or construction; poor maintenance; lack of proper sanitary facilities; inadequate lighting and ventilation; inadequate heating facilities; or a combination of these factors.
Such buildings could become so dilapidated and neglected that they jeopardize or are detrimental to the health, safety, morals, general welfare, or the economic values of adjoining properties.
The adoption and subsequent enforcement of this chapter is therefore declared to be essential to the public interest. It shall be liberally construed to maintain a pleasant, safe and healthful environment, and is intended to ensure the maintenance of property values within the City of Muskego.
The following definitions shall apply in the interpretation and enforcement of this code. Whenever the word "dwelling," "dwelling unit," "rooming house," "rooming unit" or "premises" is used in this chapter, it shall be construed as though it were followed by the words "or any part thereof."
- Approved by or in accordance with regulations established by City ordinance, or code, and authority designated by law to enforce such ordinance, or code.
- That portion of a dwelling, not deemed as first story, located partly underground but having less than 1/2 of its clear floor-to-ceiling height below average finished grade of the adjoining ground.
- A bathtub or shower stall properly connected with both hot and cold water lines.
- A nonhabitable room within a dwelling unit which is used, or intended to be used, primarily for bathing and/or toilet purposes, and which contains a toilet, lavatory, and, in some cases, bathtub or shower facilities.
- A habitable room within a dwelling unit which is used primarily for the purpose of sleeping, but shall not include any kitchen or dining room.
- That portion of a dwelling, not deemed as first story, located all or partly underground but having more than 1/2 of its clear floor-to-ceiling height below average grade of the adjoining ground.
- The City of Muskego, Wisconsin.
- Used by or shared by, or intended to be used or shared by, the occupants of two or more rooming units or two or more dwelling units.
- Any building which is wholly or partly used or intended to be used for living, sleeping, cooking or eating, by human occupants, and including any accessory structure attached thereto.
- DWELLING UNIT
- Any 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, cooking or eating by one family.
- The control and elimination of insects, rodents, or other pests by elimination of their harborage places, by removing or making inaccessible material that may serve as their food, by poisoning, spraying, or trapping or by any other recognized and legal elimination methods approved by the Health Department of the County of Waukesha.
- The animal and vegetable waste resulting from the preparation, handling, 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, laundries, pantries, foyer, communicating corridors, closets and storage spaces.
- Any dwelling wherein sleeping accommodations are offered for pay to transients, in five or more rooms. It does not include rooming houses.
- The presence of any insects, rodents or other pests within a dwelling or on the dwelling premises.
- A habitable room used or intended to be used for cooking or the preparation of meals.
- MULTIPLE DWELLING
- Any dwelling containing more than two dwelling units.
- Any person living, sleeping or eating in or having actual possession of a dwelling unit or rooming unit.
- Any person who has charge, care, or control of building or part thereof, in which dwelling units or rooming units are let.
- Any person who alone or jointly or severally with others shall be the legally recorded holder of the title, with or without actual possession thereof, or who has charge, care or control of any dwelling or dwelling unit as agent or owner, or as executor, administrator, trustee or guardian of the estate of the owner. "Owner" shall also include the legally recorded holder of a land contract vendee interest.
- Any individual, firm, corporation, partnership or association.
- Includes all of the following supplied facilities and equipment: gas pipes, gas burning equipment, water pipes, waste pipes, toilets, sinks, lavatories, bathtubs, shower baths, installed clothes washing machines, catch basins, drains, vents and any other similar supplied fixtures, together with all connections to water, sewer or gas lines.
- Any lot, plot or parcel of land including the building or structures thereon, be they occupied or unoccupied.
- 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.
- Household wastes, except garbage, and the term shall include lawn rakings, tin cans, glass, metal, crockery and similar household wastes; also papers, rags and other combustible refuse.
- Paid for, furnished or provided by or under the control of the owner or operator.
- TEMPORARY HOUSING
- Any tent, trailer or other structure used for human shelter which is designated to be transportable and which is not attached to the ground, to another structure, or to any utilities systems on the same premises for more than 30 consecutive days.
The Building Inspector may make inspections to determine the conditions of dwellings, dwelling units, rooming units and premises located within the City.
The owner, operator or occupant of every dwelling, dwelling unit or rooming unit shall, upon the request of the Building Inspector, and upon the showing of proper credentials, permit access to all parts of such building on his or her premises, at all reasonable times, for the purpose of the inspection, examination and survey hereby authorized.
Every occupant of a dwelling or dwelling unit shall give the owner, operator or employee thereof access to any part of such dwelling, dwelling unit or its premises at all reasonable times for the purpose of making such repairs as are necessary to effect compliance with the provisions of this chapter.
Service of notices. Whenever the Building Inspector determines that there has been a violation or that there are reasonable grounds to believe that there has been a violation of any provision of this chapter, he shall give written notice of such violation or alleged violation to the owner of record of the property or his agent. Such notice shall:
Include a description of the real estate sufficient for identification.
Include a statement of the alleged violation or violations.
Include an order for remedial action which, if taken, will effect compliance with the provisions of this chapter and with rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto.
Allow reasonable time, of up to six months, for the performance of any act it requires.
Be served upon the owner, or his agent, provided that such notice shall be deemed to be properly served upon such owner if a copy thereof is delivered to him personally or, if not found, by leaving a copy thereof at his usual place of abode, in the presence of someone of the family of suitable age and discretion, who shall be informed of the contents thereof, or by sending a copy thereof by registered mail, with return receipt required, to his last known address, or, if the registered letter with the copy is returned with a receipt showing it has not been delivered to him, by posting a copy thereof in a conspicuous place in or about the dwelling affected by the notice.
Petition for hearing; opportunity to be heard; order if no petition.
Any person affected by any notice which has been issued in connection with the enforcement of any provision of this chapter may request and shall be granted a hearing on the matter before the Board of Housing Appeals, provided the person requesting the hearing shall file a written petition requesting such hearing, specifying the grounds thereof, with the Board and the Building Inspector. Such petition shall be filed prior to expiration of the time stated on the order, requirement, decision or determination by the Building Inspector but not after 30 days. The petition for hearing shall be filed with the Board in duplicate and shall set forth name, address, and a brief statement of grounds for such hearing, together with a fee established by resolution of the Common Council.
The Building Inspector shall forthwith, upon the filing of such petition, transmit to the Board all of the papers constituting the record upon which the petition for hearing was taken.
The Board shall fix a reasonable time for hearing of the petition, which shall be not less than 10 days nor more than 30 days after the date on which the petition was filed, provided that, upon written application of the petitioner to the Board, it may postpone the date of the hearing for a reasonable time beyond such thirty-day period if in its judgment the petition has set forth a good and sufficient reason for such postponement. The Board shall give 10 days' written notice of the time and place of hearing to the petitioner and to the Building Inspector.
At such hearing the petitioner shall be given an opportunity to be heard and to show cause why such notice should be modified or withdrawn. The failure of the petitioner or his representative to appear at this hearing shall be grounds for dismissal of the petition and shall terminate right of further appeal.
Any notice served pursuant to this section shall automatically become an order if a written petition for a hearing is not filed in the office of the Board prior to expiration of the time stated on the notice and not to exceed 30 days. Any occupancy permit which has been suspended by a notice shall be deemed automatically revoked if a petition for hearing is not filed in the office of the Board prior to expiration of the time stated on the notice, and not to exceed 30 days. The Board may administer oaths and affirmations in connection with the conduct of any hearing held in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
Decision of Board. After such hearing the Board shall sustain, modify or withdraw the order depending upon its findings as to whether the provisions of this chapter have been complied with. The Board may also modify any order so as to authorize a variance from the provisions of this chapter when, because of special conditions, a literal enforcement of the provisions of this chapter will result in unnecessary hardship, provided that the spirit of this chapter will be observed, public health and welfare secured and substantial justice done. If the Board sustains or modifies such order, the owner, operator, or occupant, as the case may require, shall comply with all provisions of such order within a reasonable period of time as determined by the Board. After a hearing in the case of any notice or order suspending any permit required by this chapter, when such notice or order has been sustained by the Board, the Board shall order the permit revoked.
Review by Circuit Court. The proceedings at such hearing, including the findings and decision of the Board, shall be summarized, reduced to writing and entered as a matter of public record in the office of the Board. Such record shall also include a copy of every notice or order issued in connection with the matter. A copy of the written decision of the Board shall then be served in the manner prescribed under Subsection A on the person who filed the petition for hearing. Any person or persons jointly or severally aggrieved by the decision of the Board, or any taxpayer, or any officer, department, board or bureau of the City may seek relief therefrom by having the decision reviewed by the Circuit Court by certiorari, if the petition for the writ is presented to the Court within 15 days after the date on which said Board's decision was served on the person who filed the petition for hearing, and if the person aggrieved notified said Board within seven days after the Board's decision was served on him of his intention to present such petition to the Court. Such petition, duly verified, shall set forth that such decision is illegal, in whole or in part, or does not comply with the provisions of this section, specifying the grounds thereof.
Emergency orders. If the Building Inspector determines that a building is in such condition that it constitutes a public nuisance and that there is great and immediate danger to the public health, safety and welfare, or that a building or part thereof is unsanitary and unfit for human habitation, occupancy or use, he shall post a notice on the premises containing the following words: "This Building Cannot Be Used for Human Habitation, Occupancy or Use," and he shall immediately prohibit the use of the building for human habitation, occupancy or use, until the necessary repairs have been made. The procedure thereafter followed shall be pursuant to this section.
All habitable buildings shall comply with the following requirements for basic equipment and facilities:
Sinks. Every dwelling unit shall contain a kitchen sink which shall be located in the room in which food is cooked or prepared.
Toilets and sinks. Every dwelling unit, except as otherwise permitted under this chapter, shall contain a bath, flush toilet and a sink, irrespective of the sink required as a kitchen facility.
Privacy. The room wherein the toilet, lavatory and bathtub or shower required under this chapter are installed shall afford privacy to a person within. The bathtub or shower may be in a room separate from the room housing the toilet and lavatory basin but shall still afford privacy to a person within.
Multiple use. Under no circumstances may occupants of two or more dwelling units share a toilet or lavatory with the exception of rooming houses as defined in § 205-2.
Water supply. Every kitchen sink, lavatory basin, bathtub and shower required by this chapter shall be properly connected with both hot and cold water lines supplying water of safe, sanitary quality.
Water heating facilities. Every dwelling shall have supplied automatic or manually operated water heating facilities which are properly installed, are maintained in safe and good working condition, and are properly connected with hot water lines required under this chapter, and are capable of heating water to a temperature of at least 120° F. as to permit an adequate amount of hot water to be drawn at every required sink, lavatory, basin, bathtub or shower even when the dwelling heating facilities required by this chapter are not in operation.
Garbage and refuse receptacles.
Duty to provide and maintain. Refuse containers shall be provided by the owner, tenant, lessee or occupant of the premises and shall be maintained in good condition.
Garbage containers shall be made of metal or heavy molded plastic, equipped with suitable handles and tight-fitting covers, and shall be watertight.
Scattering of refuse. No person shall place garbage or rubbish in any container so that it may be opened or torn open by animals so that the contents thereof may be deposited by the elements upon any public street, sidewalk, alley or any other public place or into any occupied premises within the City.
Exits. Each exit from a dwelling unit shall be kept in a reasonably good state of repair. Required exits shall, in addition, comply with all provisions of the appropriate codes of the state.
Stairways. All stairways in dwellings shall have at least one firmly constructed handrail at not less than two feet six inches vertically above the note of the tread. All stairways shall, in addition, comply with all provisions of the appropriate codes of the state.
All habitable buildings shall comply with the following requirements for light, ventilation and heating:
Windows. Every habitable room shall have a 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. No skylight shall be installed in lieu of a window where a skylight has not previously existed.
Ventilation. 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, except where there is supplied some other device affording adequate ventilation and approved by the Building Inspector.
Bathroom. Every bathroom and toilet compartment shall have at least one openable window facing the outside, except where there is supplied some mechanical device approved by the Building Inspector to provide adequate ventilation.
Every habitable room of each dwelling shall contain at least two separate wall-type electric convenience outlets, or one such convenience outlet and one supplied ceiling-type or wall-type electric fixture, and every water closet compartment, bathroom, laundry room, furnace room, and public hall shall contain at least one supplied ceiling- or wall-type electric fixture. Every such outlet and fixture shall be properly installed and shall be maintained in good and safe working condition and shall be connected to the source of electric power in a safe manner.
The Building Inspector shall investigate all electrical deficiencies and make his recommendations thereon, which recommendations shall be made a part of the order made under the Minimum Housing Code to the property owner.
Public halls and stairways. In every building accommodating two dwelling units using the same halls and stairways, arrangements shall be made to supply conveniently located light switches, including two-way light switches, at both the top and bottom of all stairways controlling an adequate lighting system which may be turned on when needed.
Insect protection. When flies or other pests are prevalent, all openable windows as required by this chapter shall be effectively screened and screen doors shall be self-closing. Screens and screen doors shall be maintained in good condition.
Rodents. 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.
Heating. Every dwelling shall have heating facilities which are capable of safely and adequately heating all habitable rooms, bathrooms and toilet rooms within its walls to a temperature of a least 70° under winter temperatures of minus 20°, without forcing the heating facilities beyond safe capacity.
All habitable buildings shall comply with the following requirements for maintenance:
Floors, walls, etc. Every floor, wall, ceiling, foundation and roof shall be weathertight, watertight and rodentproof; shall be capable of affording privacy; and shall be kept in good repair, and in clean and sanitary condition. Exterior surfaces shall be painted or suitably surfaced:
Stairs and porches. Every inside and outside stair, every porch and every appurtenance thereto shall be so constructed as to be safe to use and capable of supporting the load that normal use would cause to be placed thereon, and shall be kept in sound condition and good repair, and in a clean and sanitary condition. Such stairs shall be kept free of refuse or stored material. Handrails shall be installed as required in City and state building codes.
Rainwater drainage from roof. All rainwater shall be so drained and conveyed from the roof so as not to cause dampness in any wall, ceiling or floor of a habitable room, bathroom or toilet room. All exterior drainpipes shall be maintained in safe and sanitary condition. Such drainpipes, eave troughs, etc., shall be maintained so they do not detract from the visual character of the neighborhood.
Toilet and bathroom floors. The floors of all toilet and bath rooms shall be constructed and maintained so as to be leakproof and shall be kept in a clean and sanitary condition.
Chimneys and supplied smoke pipes. Every chimney and every supplied smoke pipe shall be adequately supported, reasonably clean, and maintained in a good state of repair.
Discontinuance of service. No owner, occupant or operator shall cause any service, facility, equipment or utility which is required under this section to be removed from or shut off from or discontinued for any occupied dwelling 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 emergency when discontinuance of service is approved by the enforcing officer.
Vacant dwelling units to be clean and sanitary before being let for occupancy. No owner shall occupy or rent to any person for occupancy or allow any other person to occupy any dwelling unit unless it is safe, clean and sanitary and complies with all provisions of this chapter and all rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto.
No person shall occupy or let to another for occupancy any dwelling or dwelling unit, for the purpose of living therein, which does not comply with the following requirements:
Floor space. Every dwelling unit except hotels and rooming houses shall contain at least 150 square feet of habitable floor space for the first occupant thereof and at least 100 additional square feet of floor space for every additional occupant thereof.
Sleeping rooms. In every dwelling unit of two or more rooms, every room occupied for sleeping purposes by one occupant shall contain at least 70 square feet of floor area, and every room occupied for sleeping purposes by more than one occupant shall contain at least 40 square feet of floor area for each occupant.
Habitable room area. Floor area shall be calculated on the basis of habitable room area. However, closet area and hall area within the dwelling unit where provided may not count for more than 10% of the required habitable floor area.
Ceiling height. At least 1/2 of the floor area of every habitable room shall have a ceiling height of at least seven feet six inches, and the floor area of that part of any room where the ceiling height is less than five feet shall not be considered as part of the floor area in computing floor area of the room for determining the maximum permissible occupancy thereof.
Basement and cellar space. No basement or cellar 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 finished grade. A basement space may be used as a living or sleeping room or dwelling unit, provided its floor level is not more than three feet six inches below the outside finished grade at any point and whose ceiling is four feet or more above grade at any point. Family rooms may be located in basements or cellars provided adequate ventilation is provided. In a one- or two-family residence, any basement or cellar 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 and the space to be so used complies with all the requirements of this code for habitable rooms.
Occupants to have access to sanitary facilities. Every occupant of every dwelling shall have unrestricted access to a bath and flush toilet and to a sink or lavatory basin located within that dwelling.
Windows. All windows shall be maintained in good repair.
Where in this code the obligation for observance is not otherwise clearly designated, the respective responsibility of owner, operator and occupant is as follows:
Sanitary responsibilities of owner. Every owner of a dwelling shall be responsible for maintaining in a safe, clean and sanitary condition all communal, shared, or public areas of the dwelling and premises thereof which are shared or used by the occupants of three or more dwellings units.
Sanitary responsibilities of occupants. Every occupant of a dwelling or dwelling unit shall maintain in a clean and sanitary condition that part of the dwelling unit and yard which he occupies and controls.
Disposal of rubbish. Every occupant of a dwelling or dwelling unit shall place all his rubbish accumulating between time of collection or other satisfactory disposal in proper receptacles.
Disposal of garbage. Every occupant of a dwelling or dwelling unit who does not otherwise provide for the disposal of garbage in a sanitary and inoffensive manner shall prepare all his garbage for collection and place it, pending collection, in a proper receptacle as provided herein. The owner shall be responsible for supplying such facilities or receptacles for all dwelling units in dwellings containing more than two dwelling units. In all other cases, the occupant shall be responsible for such facilities or receptacles.
Extermination of pests; occupant's responsibilities. Every occupant of a dwelling containing more than one dwelling unit shall be responsible for the extermination of any insects, rodents, or other pests therein, whenever his dwelling unit is the only one infested; provided, however, that when infestation is caused by failure of the owner to maintain a dwelling in a rodentproof or substantially insectproof condition, extermination shall be the responsibility of the owner.
Extermination of pests; owner's responsibilities. Every owner or operator shall be responsible for exterminating of any insects, rodents or other pests therein, whenever infestation occurs in more than one dwelling unit in a dwelling or in the shared or public parts of a dwelling of two or more units, or in any vacant unit.
Use and operation of plumbing fixtures. Every occupant of a dwelling unit shall keep all plumbing fixtures therein in clean and sanitary condition and shall be responsible for the care in the proper use and operation thereof.
Use and operation of heating facilities. Every occupant of a dwelling unit shall be responsible for care in the proper use and proper operation of heating facilities.
Destruction, mutilation and defacing of property. No person shall willfully or wantonly damage, mutilate or deface any part of residential real estate, supplied fixtures, equipment and furnishings or any other property of another.
Grading, landscaping and drainage of premises. No premises shall be graded or maintained so that stagnant water will accumulate or stand on the premises or adjacent premises or within any building or structure. No premises shall be graded or maintained so that surface runoff causes damages to any person or property. In addition, yards shall be landscaped so that the visual character of the neighborhood is preserved.
Responsibilities in case of contract. A contract effective between owner and operator, operator and occupant, or owner and occupant, with regard to compliance hereunder, shall not relieve any party of his direct responsibility under this chapter.
Owner to note in writing the number of occupants allowed. Every owner or operator shall advise the occupant in writing, either by insertion in the lease between the parties or otherwise, of the maximum number of occupants permitted in the occupied premises under this chapter.
No person shall operate a rooming house, or let to another for occupancy any rooming unit in any rooming house, except in compliance with the following requirements:
To comply with code. Every owner, operator or occupant of a rooming unit shall comply with the provisions of this code as though such unit were a dwelling unit, except as herein noted.
Toilets and lavatories. At least one flush toilet, lavatory basin, and bathtub or shower, properly connected to a municipal water and sewer system and in good working condition, shall be supplied for each six persons, including the operator's quarters or family whenever they share the use of said facilities, provided that in rooming houses where rooms are let only to males, flush urinals may be substituted for not more than 1/2 the required number of flush toilets. All such facilities shall be so located within the dwelling to be reasonably accessible from a common hall or passageway to all persons sharing such facilities. Every lavatory basin and bathtub or shower shall be adequately supplied with hot water at all times. No such facilities shall be located in a basement.
Linen. The operator of every rooming house shall change supplied bed linen and towels therein at least once each week and prior to the letting of any room to any occupant. The owner shall be responsible for the maintenance of all supplied bedding in a clean and sanitary manner.
Area of sleeping rooms. Every room occupied for sleeping purposes by one person shall contain at least 70 square feet of floor space and every room occupied for sleeping purposes by more than one person shall contain at least an additional 50 square feet of floor space for each additional occupant thereof.
Sanitary maintenance. The operator of every rooming house shall be responsible for the sanitary maintenance of all walls, floors and ceilings and for the maintenance of a sanitary condition in every part of the rooming house, and he shall be further responsible for the sanitary maintenance of the entire structure or building leased or occupied by the operator.
Rubbish storage. Adequate garbage disposal facilities or garbage storage containers whose type and location are approved shall be supplied by the rooming house operator. The operator shall be responsible for the disposal of all garbage in a clean and sanitary manner through the use of approved mechanical equipment or by placing it in the required containers.
Includes hotels. Every provision of this chapter which applies to rooming houses shall also apply to hotels. If, however, the state or any of its agencies is found to have a more restrictive regulation in regard to or in conflict with these provisions, that regulation shall take precedence over this code.
From and after September 14, 1967, no dwelling or dwelling unit in the City may be occupied if such dwelling or dwelling unit has been inspected by the Building Inspector and it has been determined that such dwelling or dwelling unit does not conform to the requirements of this chapter.
The Building Inspector shall order compliance with this code within a stated period of time not to exceed six months. However, in case of hardship, he may grant, at his discretion, time extensions not exceeding six months each and, in any case, not exceeding a total of two years from the time of the original order. Said extensions shall be granted only upon evidence of substantial effort to and progress in removing the violation.
If any person fails to comply with the orders imposed by the Building Inspector, the Building Inspector shall give notice to the City Attorney to commence such legal action as to effectuate the purpose of this chapter.
Any person who shall violate any provision of this chapter or any order, rule or regulation made hereunder shall be subject to a penalty as provided in § 1-4 of this Code.
The regulation and standards herein prescribed are minimum standards. If any standard or regulation required by the Minimum Housing Code differs from a standard or regulation of some other provision of the Minimum Housing Code or other City ordinances or regulations or state regulations, the stricter shall take precedence.