This chapter shall be known as the "Housing Code of the Town of Chesapeake Beach, Maryland."
The purpose of this chapter is to protect the public health, safety, and welfare in connection with residential structures and premises and other buildings and premises that may contain residential occupancy, to that end, this chapter:
Establishes minimum property maintenance standards for basic equipment and facilities used for light, ventilation, heating and sanitation for residential structures and premises, and for safe and sanitary maintenance of residential structures and premises.
Establishes minimum requirements for the exterior and interior of residential structures and premises and any residential rental unit therein, including requirements related to the structural integrity and maintenance of building foundations, walls, roofs, floors, porches, and attachments; the operability of exit doors, windows, chimneys, and plumbing; and the means of egress, fire protection systems and other equipment and devices necessary for safety from fire.
Fixes the responsibilities of property owners, operators, and tenants of residential structures and premises.
Establishes a Town rental licensing and inspection program.
Provides for administration, enforcement and penalties.
Unless otherwise expressly stated, the following terms have the meanings indicated:
- CODE ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
- The Town's official person, designee or agent responsible for administering this code and enforcing its provisions.
- To declare a structure or part thereof, premises, or equipment unsafe or unfit for use or occupation.
- Any or all of the physical assets, other than land or buildings, and all apparatuses, machines, and devices that are intended to function to make a housing unit habitable, safe, and enjoyable, providing services including, but not limited to; heating, cooling, ventilation, supply of hot water, cooking, refrigeration, detection of smoke and gas, and suppression of fire.
- The control and elimination of insects, rodents, vermin, or other pests by eliminating their harborage places; removing or making inaccessible material that may serve as their food; poison spraying, fumigating, or trapping; or by any other pest elimination methods that have received all necessary and legally required approvals.
- HABITABLE ROOM AREA
- A room or enclosed floor space in a structure used or intended to be used for living, sleeping, cooking, or eating. It does not include bathrooms, laundries, furnace rooms, pantries, utility rooms, foyers, stairways, closets, hallways, storage spaces, workshops, accessory structures and hobby and recreational areas in unsealed or uninsulated parts of a structure below ground level or in attics.
- HOUSING UNIT
- A single unit of a structure providing or intended to provide complete living and sleeping facilities for one or more persons.
- The presence within or contiguous to a structure or premises of insects, rodents, vermin or other pests.
- Repair of a structure, premises, or equipment to bring the structure into compliance with the standards established by this chapter and other applicable statues, codes, and ordinances and other acts intended to prevent a decline in the condition of structures, premises or equipment below such standards.
- An individual having possession of a space within a housing unit.
- A person who has charge, care, or control of a structure or premises that is offered for occupancy.
- An individual, partnership, limited partnership, trust, estate, association or corporation.
- The practice, materials, facilities, and fixtures used in the installation, maintenance, extension or alteration of all piping, fixtures, appliances, and appurtenances used for the water distribution system of the premises, including drainage systems for the discharge of water and wastewater.
- A lot, plot or parcel, of land including the structures on it.
- RENTAL or RENTAL UNIT
- Any housing unit rented or leased to a person for a continuous period of 30 days or more.
- Paper, rags, cartons, boxes, wood, excelsior, rubber, leather, plastic, tree branches, yard trimmings, metal cans, metals, mineral matter, glass, crockery, dust and other similar materials as well as the residue from the burning of materials.
- The condition of being free from danger and hazards that may cause accidents or disease.
- An occupant other than the property owner.
- The Town of Chesapeake Beach, Maryland.
- The process of supplying and removing air by natural or mechanical means to or from a space.
This chapter applies to all residential structures and premises used for human habitation within the Town, except any housing exempted under authority of § 162-4E of this chapter.
Repairs or alterations to a structure, or changes of its use that may be caused directly or indirectly by the enforcement of this chapter, shall be done in accordance with the procedures and provisions of the Town Zoning Ordinance, Building Code, Plumbing Code, Mechanical Code and Electrical Code or any other applicable laws.
The provisions of this chapter do not abolish or impair any remedies available to the Town or its officers or agents relating to the removal or demolition of any structures that are deemed to be dangerous, unsafe, and unsanitary.
All repairs, maintenance, alterations, or installations that are required for compliance with this chapter shall be executed and installed in accordance with industry standards so as to secure the results intended by this chapter.
The Code Enforcement Officer may modify or waive application of this chapter in whole or part on the basis of the religious practices of the occupant of the housing unit.
No provision of this chapter is intended to supersede the Standard Building Code, the National Electric Code, Chapter 115 of the Town Code, or any applicable local or state laws, including but not limited to;
State fire laws, Annotated Code of Maryland, Public Safety Article, Title 6 and Title 11.
State elevator laws: Annotated Code of Maryland, Public Safety Article, Title 12, Subtitle 8.
State boiler laws: Annotated Code of Maryland, Public Safety Article, Title 12, Subtitle 9.
State Plumbing Code: Annotated Code of Maryland, Business Occupations and Professions Article, § 12-205 et seq., and Code of Maryland Regulations, 09.20.01.01.
This chapter shall not be enforced so as to cause the displacement of any person unless alternate housing of comparable affordability is available within a reasonable distance of the vacated premises.
When an order to vacate is given by a Code Enforcement Official authority with respect to any housing unit, the unit shall not be rented and/or subsequently occupied without a determination by the Code Enforcement Official that the housing unit complies with this chapter.
It shall be the responsibility of the Code Enforcement Officer to enforce and administer the provisions of this chapter. The Code Enforcement Officer is authorized to take the following actions:
To issue all notices and orders necessary to insure compliance with this chapter.
To enter a structure or premises at any reasonable time upon providing reasonable notice, as provided for in this chapter, to the property owner, or agent, and tenant, for the purpose of making inspections and performing duties under this chapter.
To accept an application for a rental license, to issue and renew rental licenses, to condition the issuance of rental licenses on compliance with the standards of this chapter and/or completion of any required improvements, and to deny, suspend or revoke rental licenses for cause.
To conduct a hearing to obtain facts necessary before deciding to declare a rental facility or rental unit therein to be ineligible for a rental license.
To require and approve any alterations or repairs necessary to bring a structure or premises into compliance with the provisions of this chapter. The determination of the measures necessary to bring the premises into compliance shall take into consideration state and local standards and practices, together with the use of equivalent alternative approaches.
To approve changes in alterations or repairs in the field when conditions are encountered that make the originally approved work impractical, if the changes in approved work can be readily determined to be in compliance with this chapter and are requested in writing by the property owner or agent.
To condemn (declare unfit for habitation) residential structures, premises, or buildings containing residential occupancy, or parts thereof.
Under this chapter, the authority of the Code Enforcement Officer to enter premises and structures to conduct inspections and investigate complaints shall be limited as follows:
Except where the Code Enforcement Officer has reasonable and documented grounds to believe that a housing unit is unfit for human habitation or constitutes a hazard, as provided for in § 162-6, Subsection A, the authority of the Code Enforcement Officer to inspect structures and premises for the purpose of enforcing Article II of this chapter is limited to rental housing units, owner-occupied structures containing a rental unit or units, and any nonresidential structure regardless of its intended principal use that is used in whole or part as a rental dwelling.
Except where the Code Enforcement Officer has reasonable and documented grounds to believe that a housing unit is unfit for human habitation or constitutes a hazard, as provided for in § 162-6, Subsection A, the Code Enforcement Officer shall provide at least seven days' notice to any property owner, or agent, and tenant before conducting an inspection of the premises or structure and provide opportunity for the owner or agent to be present for the inspection. Notice may be personally served by the Code Enforcement Officer, sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, or delivered electronically with an acceptance acknowledged. If the notice is returned with receipt showing it was not delivered, or if receipt of the notice was not electronically acknowledged, a copy thereof shall be posted in a conspicuous place in or about the structure for at least three days prior to the inspection.
Where the Code Enforcement Officer's free access and entry to any part of a structure or premises where inspection authorized by this chapter is sought is refused, impeded, inhibited, interfered with, restricted, or obstructed by a property owner, tenant, or operator of a structure, the Town shall seek, in court of competent jurisdiction, an order that the Code Enforcement Officer may enter the premises and/or structure.
Credentials. The Code Enforcement Officer shall disclose his/her credentials when entering onto private property for the purpose of inspecting a structure or premises.
Coordination of enforcement. Whenever the Code Enforcement Officer, in initiating an inspection of a property under this chapter, becomes aware that an inspection of the same premises is to be made by any other governmental official or agency, the Code Enforcement Officer shall make a reasonable effort to coordinate inspections so as to minimize the inconvenience to the owner and/or occupants.
The Code Enforcement Officer shall confer with other governmental officials or agencies for the purpose of eliminating conflicting orders before any are issued without intending to cause a delay in any emergency order to be issued by the governmental official or agency.
When a structure or part of it or its premises is found by the Code Enforcement Officer to be unfit for human habitation, unsafe, unsanitary, lacking adequate egress, and/or characterized by circumstances that constitute a fire hazard or a danger to human life, or is otherwise found to be dangerous according to the provision of Chapter 115 of the Town Code, and the remedies provided for herein prove impractical, the Code Enforcement Officer may condemn the structure or part of it and may order the structure or part of it to be placarded and vacated pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
When equipment is found by the Code Enforcement Officer to be unsafe equipment, it may be condemned, placarded, and placed out of service pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
A condemned structure or the condemned part of a structure or its premises may not be reoccupied, and condemned equipment may not be placed back into service, without the written approval of the Code Enforcement Officer.
Condemnation due to unsafe equipment. The presence of unsafe equipment, if the danger posed by such equipment cannot be avoided by placing it out of service in a manner that prevents its use prior to repair or by removing it from the structure, may be the basis of a determination by the Code Enforcement Officer that the structure or premises is unsafe or unfit for human occupancy or use.
A structure is unfit for human occupancy or use whenever the Code Enforcement Officer finds that it is unsanitary, vermin- or rodent-infested, contains filth or contamination, or lacks ventilation, illumination, or sanitary or heating facilities or other essential equipment required by this chapter.
Any owner, operator or tenant who violates the provisions of this chapter shall be given a fixed amount of time to correct the violation, which amount of time shall be set by the Code Enforcement Officer based on the nature of the violation.
The notice to correct may be served by the Code Enforcement Officer or the Calvert County Sheriff's Office or sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, or delivered electronically with acceptance acknowledged. If the notice is returned with a receipt showing it has not been delivered, or if it has not electronically acknowledged, a copy thereof shall be posted in a conspicuous place in or about the structure.
Whenever the Code Enforcement Officer has determined to condemn any structure or part thereof or equipment under this chapter, prior notice shall be given to the property owner and to the tenant of the intent to order the structure of part thereof placarded and vacated or order the equipment placed out of service.
When the condemnation order is served on a tenant, the tenant shall be given a reasonable amount of time to vacate the structure.
In response to an enforcement order, a property owner may elect to remove the property from the rental market, and it shall not be leased again and/or subsequently occupied by a tenant without determination by the Code Enforcement Officer that the dwelling unit complies with the provision of this chapter.
Prior to authorizing the reoccupancy of any rental facility or unit therein, the Code Enforcement Officer shall refer the matter to the Zoning Administrator, who shall determine whether the Zoning Ordinance permits the continuation or reactivation of the use in the zoning district where located.
Any grant, transfer or lease of a property that is subject to a compliance order or to which a notice of current violation applies must provide such orders or notices to the grantee, transferee or lessee and provide to the Code Enforcement Officer a signed and notarized statement from the grantee, transferee or lessee, acknowledging receipt of the order or notice and stating that the grantee, transferee or lessee accepts and assumes responsibility without condition for making the corrections or repairs required by the compliance order or notice of violation.
It is intent of the Town that it will record in the land records of Calvert County any valid condemnation order after the date of legal appeal has passed or, if appealed, following a ruling upholding the condemnation.
Any violation of any provision of this chapter or of the Maryland Building Performance Standards incorporated herein by any property owner or his or her agent shall be a municipal infraction subject to a fine of $200. Each day a violation continues shall constitute a separate offense. An infraction shall be prosecuted in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Local Government Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, and any appeal shall be as provided therein.
Nothing contained in this chapter shall excuse any person, firm, partnership or corporation within the Town from complying with all laws and paying all fees that may be required under the laws and regulations of the Town, or of Culvert County, where applicable, or the State of Maryland.