[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the City of Crisfield as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Article I Registration, License and Inspection
[Adopted 10-10-2018 by Ord. No. 679]
The purposes of this article and the policy of the City of Crisfield shall be to protect and promote the public health, safety and welfare of its citizens, to establish rights and obligations of owners and occupants relating to residential rental units in the City of Crisfield, and to encourage owners and occupants of residential rental units to maintain and improve the quality of rental units within the community. This article provides for a regular inspection program, registration and licensing of residential rental units, as defined in this article, and the penalties for noncompliance.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- DWELLING or DWELLING UNIT
- A building or portion thereof arranged or designed for residential occupancy, including but not limited to an apartment, accessory apartment, efficiency apartment, boardinghouse, rooming house, single-family dwelling and multifamily dwelling.
- Any individual, proprietorship, partnership, corporation, association, or other legal entity.
- RESIDENTIAL RENTAL UNIT
- Any dwelling unit in which a person resides in consideration of value, paid or tendered to or for the use or benefit of the owner of record of such dwelling unit or the owner's authorized representative, or a lessee of the dwelling unit. This definition shall include the letting or rental of any single-family residential dwelling unit or multifamily residential dwelling unit.
Subject to the provisions of § 91-3B, it shall be unlawful for any person to rent or otherwise let a dwelling or dwelling unit within the City of Crisfield without first having obtained a license for said dwelling or dwelling unit as hereinafter provided.
No later than January 1, 2019, the legal owner of record for property used for a residential rental unit, or such owner's authorized representative, shall make written application to the City for a residential rental unit license upon such form or forms as the City shall from time to time designate. Such application shall be submitted together with a nonrefundable rental license fee, in such amount as approved, from time to time, by resolution of the Council.
A residential rental unit license shall only be issued or renewed after the City Inspector has determined that the residential rental unit, for which such license is sought, is in compliance with the laws and ordinances of the City and the proper fee for such residential rental unit license has been paid. In order to make such determination, the City Inspector, or his authorized designee, shall inspect the residential rental unit, including all common areas associated with the residential rental unit. Permission for such an inspection, without having to obtain any further permission or a judicial warrant, is a condition for the issuance of any residential rental unit license, and failure to permit such an inspection shall constitute reason for the City Inspector to deny or not renew the license for the residential rental unit which is the subject of such inspection. The City shall have the right to inspect a residential rental unit upon the City's receipt of a complaint relating to such residential rental unit and after notice for such inspection has been given to the owner and the occupant of the residential rental unit.
If an inspection of a residential rental unit by the City Inspector, or his authorized designee, reveals a violation of any applicable provision of the City Code, including any building code, property maintenance code or minimum livability code in effect within the City limits, the City Inspector, or his authorized designee, shall provide written notification to the owner and to the occupant of the residential rental unit. The notice shall contain a time period within which the violation must be corrected, which said time period shall be a minimum of 30 days, unless, in the discretion of the City Inspector, or his authorized designee, the violation involves an immediate threat to health or safety, whereupon a shorter time frame may be specified by the Inspector or his authorized designee. Unless otherwise set forth in the notice of violation issued by the City Inspector, or his authorized designee, under this § 91-4B, within 30 days following the issuance of the notice of violation, the owner of the residential rental unit shall notify the City Inspector that the violation has been corrected and that the City Inspector may reinspect the residential rental unit to determine compliance.
A residential rental unit license may be revoked or denied by the Inspector m· his authorized designee if the owner of the residential rental unit, after the passage of the notice period set forth in § 91-4B, fails to eliminate all violations set forth in the written notice issued by the Inspector or his authorized designee under § 91-4B. Revocation or denial of a residential rental unit license shall be in addition to, and not in substitution for, such other penalties as may be provided for said violations elsewhere in this Code or by state law. In addition to any other remedy which may be available in the event of a violation of any provision of this article, the City may seek an injunction to prevent the renting, or offering to rent, of a residential rental unit which is not licensed for rental in accordance with this article.
A residential rental unit license issued under this article shall expire on December 31 of each calendar year. An application for renewal of a residential rental unit license shall be made on or before November 1 of each calendar year. All fees owed to the City in connection with the residential rental unit must be paid to the City prior to the renewal of the rental license for such residential rental unit.
A residential rental unit license issued under this article shall be produced on the demand of a tenant or prospective tenant of such residential rental unit and shall be made available at reasonable times for examination by an authorized agent of the City.
The City is hereby authorized to establish, by resolution of the Council, fees and the amounts thereof for the issuance of a residential rental license, the renewal of a residential rental unit license, the inspection of a residential rental unit, and the reinspection of a residential rental unit. Any unpaid residential rental unit license fee, renewal fee, inspection fee or reinspection fee shall be subject to such interest and penalties as established, from time to time, by resolution of the Council.
The provisions of this article shall not apply to a rental dwelling unit occupied by an immediate family member of the owner of record of a dwelling unit or the owner of record's spouse, parents, children, grandparents, grandchildren, sibling, aunt, uncle, or first cousins, including adopted, half, and stepfamily members; or any government building, hospital, nursing home, hospice or other health care facility, church, synagogue or other religious facility, or day-care facility.
Except as set forth in § 91-10B, any person in violation of this article shall be guilty of a municipal infraction and shall be subject to a fine of $100 for the first infraction and up to $200 for each subsequent infraction. Each separate violation shall constitute a separate offense.
Beginning January 1, 2019, any person renting a dwelling or dwelling unit which is not licensed for rental in accordance with this article shall be guilty of a municipal infraction and shall be subject to a fine of $500 per day for each day the dwelling or dwelling unit is rented without a license issued under this article.