Town of Westernport, MD
Allegany County
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The provisions of this chapter shall constitute and shall hereafter be known as the "Housing Code of the Town of Westernport." The code may be cited as the "Housing Code" and will be referred to herein as "this code."
It is hereby found and declared that there exist in the Town of Westernport structures used for habitation which are, or may become in the future, substandard with respect to structure, equipment or maintenance and further that such conditions, together with inadequate provision for light and air, insufficient protection against fire hazards, lack of proper heating, unsanitary conditions and overcrowding, constitute a menace to the health, safety, welfare and reasonable comfort of its citizens. It is further found and declared that the existence of such conditions, factors or characteristics will, if not remedied, create slum and blighted areas requiring large-scale clearance, contribute substantially and increasingly to the spread of disease and crime and to losses by fire and accident, and necessitate excessive expenditures of public funds for the prevention of or protection from the same, and further that, in the absence of corrective measures, such areas will experience a deterioration of social values, an impairment of economic values and depreciation of assessable base, and a curtailment of investment and tax revenues. It is further found and declared that the establishment and maintenance of minimum housing standards are essential to the prevention of blight and decay and the safeguarding of public health, safety, morals and general welfare.
The purpose of this code is to establish and maintain requirements, standards and conditions essential for the protection of the health, safety, morals and general welfare of the public and of the owners and occupants of dwellings in the Town of Westernport; to establish standards governing the condition, use, operation, occupancy and maintenance of dwellings and other structures and the utilities, facilities and other physical components, things and conditions to be supplied to dwellings in order to make dwellings safe, sanitary and fit for human habitation; to fix certain responsibilities and duties of owners, agents and occupants of dwellings; to provide for the licensing of certain rental units, boardinghouses, multiple-family dwellings and any combination thereof; to authorize and establish procedures for the inspection of dwellings, the correction of violations of the provisions of this code and the condemnation of dwellings, so as to eliminate and to prevent all conditions in and about dwellings which are now or which may in the future become so unsafe, dangerous, unhygienic or unsanitary as to constitute a menace to the health and safety of the people; and to fix penalties for violations of the provisions of this code. This code is hereby declared to be remedial and essential to the public interest, and it is the intention of the Mayor and Commissioners that this code be liberally construed to effectuate the purposes stated above.
No building, structure or premises, or any part thereof, shall be used or designed, intended or maintained to be used for habitation unless it shall conform to the provisions of this code. The provisions of this code shall apply and prevail irrespective of when such building or structure shall have been constructed, altered or repaired and irrespective of any permits or licenses heretofore issued relating to the use, occupancy, construction or repair of such building or structure or to the installation or repair of the facilities thereof.
In any case where a provision of this code concerns the same subject matter as an existing provision of any zoning, building, electrical, plumbing, health, fire or safety ordinance or code or regulation, the applicable provisions concerned shall be construed so as to give effect to each; provided, however, that if such provisions are found to be in irreconcilable conflict, the provision which establishes the higher standard for the promotion and protection of the public health and safety shall prevail. In any case where a provision of this code is found to be in conflict with an existing provision of any other ordinance or code or regulation in force in the Town of Westernport which establishes a lower standard for the promotion and protection of the public health and safety, the provision of this code shall prevail, and the other existing provision of such other ordinance or code or regulation is hereby repealed to the extent that it may be found in conflict with this code.
For the purpose of this code, certain words, terms and phrases and their derivatives shall be construed and given the meanings specified in this section. Words used in the singular shall be construed to include the plural, and the plural the singular. Words used in the masculine gender shall be construed to include the feminine, and the feminine the masculine. Whenever the words "dwelling," "dwelling unit," "rental unit," "boardinghouse," "boarding unit" and "premises" are used in this code, they shall be construed as though they were followed by the words "or any part thereof." The word "shall" shall mean mandatory whenever used in this code.
AGENT
Any person or business entity designated, for the purposes of this code, to serve as the representative of an owner that is not a resident of Allegany County, Maryland.
ALLEY
Any way less than 30 feet in width on which dwellings do not front.
APPROVED
Accepted as satisfactory by the appropriate Town authority as being in accordance with the requirements of this code, unless otherwise noted.
AREAWAY
A subsurface space adjacent to a building for affording access to or for lighting or ventilating the basement or a cellar of said building.
BASEMENT
The usable portion of a building immediately below the main entrance story. No building shall have more than one basement.
BOARDINGHOUSE
Any house, building or combination of buildings, or any portion thereof, which is used or designed to be used, with or without meals, where lodging is provided for two or more persons who are not members of the operator's family, whether for consideration or not, and shall not include hotels, motels or lodging houses.
CEILING
The surface suspended from or attached to the underside of floors or roofs which does not form a structural part of a floor or roof, or shall mean the underside of exposed floor or roof construction.
CEILING HEIGHT
The clear distance between the floor and the ceiling directly above.
CELLAR
The lowest space or spaces in a building located under the basement story.
CROSS-CONNECTION
Any connection, either direct or indirect, that will permit or may possibly permit the flow of water of unknown or questionable safety, sewage, other liquids, gases or mixtures into a piping system or receptacles containing or intended to contain potable water.
DIRECTOR
The individual holding the position wherein he/she is authorized by the Town Administrator to oversee the Department of Community Development.
DWELLING
A house or building or portion thereof which is occupied in whole or in part as a home, residence or sleeping place of one or more human beings, either permanently or transiently.
DWELLING UNIT
A room or group of rooms forming a single habitable unit occupied by one or more persons with facilities which are used or intended to be used exclusively by the occupants of such unit for living, sleeping, eating and cooking.
EXISTING
In existence at the time of passage of this code, or any building or other structure erected under a permit issued before the passage of this code.
EXIT
In general, the way out from any point in a building along a continuous and unobstructed line of travel which ultimately leads to a street or other public thoroughfare.
EXTERMINATION
The extinction of insects, rodents, vermin or other pests.
FAMILY
A person living alone, or two or more persons living together as a housekeeping unit, with separate identity from other persons or groups in the same structure.
FIREPROOFED
Protected to resist the damaging effects of fire in accordance with the requirements of the code for such construction.
FLUE
An enclosed pipe, duct or passageway used only for the transmission of heat or the products of combustion.
HABITABLE ROOM
A room used or intended to be used for living, sleeping, eating or cooking. Storerooms, bathrooms, toilet rooms and closets, halls or spaces in attics or in basements are not habitable rooms.
HOTEL/MOTEL
Any business that is required to pay an occupancy tax to the State of Maryland.
INFESTATION
The presence, within or around a dwelling, of large numbers of insects, rodents, vermin or other pests.
LAND INSTALLMENT CONTRACT
Shall have the same meaning as that contained within § 10-101(c) of the Real Property Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, as amended from time to time, which, as of the effective date of the enactment of this code, provides as follows:
(c) "Land installment contract" means a legally binding executory agreement under which:
(1)
The vendor agrees to sell an interest in property to the purchaser and the purchaser agrees to pay the purchase price in five or more subsequent payments exclusive of the down payment, if any; and
(2)
The vendor retains title as security for the purchaser's obligation.
LAVATORY
A fixed wash bowl equipped with plumbing.
LESSEE
The holder of a contract for the possession and profit of lands and tenements for a fixed term, for life, or at will.
LICENSEE
The holder of a license issued under Article III of this chapter.
LOT
A parcel or portion of land now or hereafter laid out and included within certain fixed lines.
MAINTENANCE OF A BUILDING, STRUCTURE, APPLIANCE, APPARATUS OR EQUIPMENT
The way or manner any such building, structure, appliance, apparatus or equipment is serviced, repaired or altered to perpetuate the use or purpose for which such building, structure, appliance, apparatus or equipment was originally intended.
MEANS OF EGRESS
Any doorway, passageway, stairway or other means of escape in exits from a building or other structure.
A. 
Any house, building, or combination of buildings, including groups of detached buildings comprising a single apartment project under a single ownership and management, or any portion of any building, which is used or designed to be used for:
(1) 
More than two dwelling units;
(2) 
Two dwelling units and any other occupancy, such as commercial or office occupancy, and shall include all apartment houses, garden apartments and apartment hotels; or
(3) 
Any combination thereof.
B. 
As used in Article VIII of this code shall mean any combination of boarding units and dwelling units totaling three or more in number.
OCCUPANT
Includes the person who actually uses or has possession of the premises.
OWNER
Any person, firm, corporation, limited liability company, limited liability partnership, limited partnership, partnership or other business entity, guardian, conservator, receiver, trustee, executor, personal representative, judicial officer, or any other person who, alone or jointly or severally with others, owns, holds, or controls the whole, or any part, of the freehold or leasehold title to any dwelling or dwelling unit, with or without accompanying actual possession thereof, and shall include, in addition to the holder of legal title, any vendee in possession thereof, but shall not include a mortgagee or an owner of a reversionary interest under a ground rent lease.
PERSON
Any individual, firm, corporation, limited liability company, limited liability partnership, limited partnership, partnership or other business entity, guardian, conservator, receiver, trustee, executor, personal representative, or any other judicial officer.
PREMISES
A lot or group of lots including any building or group of buildings or other structures or parts thereof which may be situated thereon and considered as a unit devoted to a certain use or occupancy, including the necessary and customary accessory buildings and other open spaces required or used in connection with such use of a lot or group of lots.
PUBLIC
Open to common use without reference to ownership.
PUBLIC HALLWAY
Hallway accessible to the public.
RENTAL DWELLING UNIT
Any dwelling unit or boarding unit located in the Town of Westernport which is rented, leased or let, whether for consideration or not, by the owner of said unit to one or more tenants for occupancy as a residence. A rental unit shall not include units located within a permitted hotel/motel, bed-and-breakfast, nursing home or hospital. Rental units shall include assisted living facilities, group homes, and boardinghouses.
ROOFING
The shingles, tiles, composition, sheet metal covering or other waterproof protection on top of a roof.
SKYLIGHT
Any window, cover or enclosure, or any combination of them, placed above a roof for the admission of light or air.
TENANCY
A part of a building occupied by one tenant.
TENANT
A person occupying or using a rental dwelling unit or any part or parts thereof owned by another with the express written or oral permission of said owner.
TOILET ROOM
An enclosed space containing a water closet or urinal and lavatory basin.
WATER-RESISTANT (AS TO FLOORS)
A clean, smooth floor, without cracks or holes, made of terrazzo, ceramic, asphalt or rubber tile, smooth concrete, linoleum or other similar material, or made of wood, and, if made of wood, then with tightly fitting joints, covered with varnish, lacquer or other similar water-resistant coating.