[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Selectmen of the Town of Bethel 9-11-1978. Amendments noted where applicable.]
§ 63-7 Requirements for safe and sanitary maintenance of parts of rental dwellings and rental dwelling units.
The following general provisions shall apply to the interpretation and enforcement of this chapter:
It is hereby declared that the purpose of this chapter is to protect, preserve and promote the physical and mental health and social well-being of the residents of this municipality; to investigate and control the incidence of communicable diseases; to regulate privately and publicly owned rental dwellings for the purpose of maintaining adequate sanitation and public health; and to protect the safety of the people and to promote the general welfare. This chapter shall be applicable to all rental dwellings now in existence or hereafter constructed within this municipality.
It is hereby further declared that for all of said rental dwellings this chapter will:
Establish minimum standards for basic equipment and facilities for light, ventilation, heating and cooling.
Establish minimum standards for basic equipment and facilities for safety from fire and accidents.
Establish minimum standards for use and location and amount of space for human occupancy.
Establish minimum standards for safe and sanitary maintenance.
In addition, this chapter will determine the responsibilities of owners, operators and occupants of rental dwellings and it will provide for the administration and enforcement of all of the aforesaid standards and responsibilities.
It is hereby found that rental dwellings (see § 63-2) exist or may in the future exist within the Town of Bethel, either occupied or unoccupied by human beings, which are in a deteriorated condition, and such rental dwellings are in said deteriorated condition because of improper management, because of faulty design or construction, because of failure to keep said rental dwelling in a proper state of repair, because said rental dwellings lack proper sanitary facilities, adequate lighting or ventilation or adequate equipment for heating or cooling or because of any combination of the aforesaid factors. As a result, said rental dwellings have become so deteriorated, dilapidated, neglected, overcrowded or unsanitary as to jeopardize or be detrimental to the health, safety, morals or welfare of the occupants of said rental dwellings and the people of the said municipality.
It is hereby further found that such deteriorated rental dwellings contribute to the growth of physical, mental or social ill health or disease, mortality, crime and juvenile delinquency within this municipality.
Citation. This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Housing Code for Rental Housing Units."
Applicability. Every portion of a rental building or its premises used or intended to be used for the purpose of dwelling, living, eating, sleeping or cooking therein or occupancy shall comply with the provisions of this chapter and with the rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto, irrespective of when such rental building shall have been constructed, altered or repaired and irrespective of any permits or licenses which shall have been issued for the use or occupancy of the dwelling and dwelling premises or structure, for the construction or repair of the dwelling or structure or for the installation or repair of dwelling equipment prior to the effective date of this chapter. This chapter establishes minimum standards for the initial and continued occupancy of all rental dwellings and rental structures and does not replace or modify standards otherwise established for the construction, repair or use of buildings or the installation of building equipment.
Application of Building Code. Any alterations to buildings or changes of use therein which may be caused directly or indirectly by enforcement of this code shall be done in accordance with applicable sections of the Building Code of the municipality.
Travel trailers and mobile homes. All movable units used for human habitation and the areas, ground or parcels on which they are located shall comply with the requirements of this Housing Code, except if the definition of "temporary housing" in § 63-2 shall apply.
Application of zoning law. Nothing in this code shall permit the establishment or conversion of a multifamily dwelling in any zone, except where permitted by the zoning regulations of the municipality; nor shall this code permit continuation of such nonconforming use in any zone except as provided in said zoning regulations.
Editor's Note: See Ch. 118, Zoning.
The following definitions shall apply in the interpretation and enforcement of this chapter. Section 201.0 of the Connecticut State Basic Building Code applies by reference.
- ACCESSORY STRUCTURE
- A detached structure which is not used or not intended to be used for living or sleeping by human occupants and which is located on the same premises with a dwelling.
- Approved by the local or state authority having such administrative authority.
- The residue from the burning of combustible materials (and the noncombustible portion of refuse loaded into an incinerator).
- The portion of the building partly underground, but having less than half its clear height below the average grade of the adjoining ground.
- The portion of the building partly underground but having less than half its clear height below the average grade of the adjoining ground.
- CENTRAL HEATING SYSTEM
- A single system supplying heat to one or more than one dwelling unit or more than one rooming unit.
- Fallen into partial ruin or decay.
- Any enclosed space which is wholly or partly used or intended to be used for living or sleeping by human occupants, provided that temporary housing as hereinafter defined shall not be regarded as a dwelling.
- 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 and eating.
- ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
- The official designated herein or otherwise charged with the responsibilities of administering this code, or his authorized representative.
- The control, destruction and elimination of insects, rodents or other pests by eliminating their harborages, by removing or by making inaccessible materials that may serve as their food and by the use of poisoning, spraying, fumigating, trapping or any other pest elimination methods approved by the enforcing officer.
- One adult person plus one or more persons who are legally related to said person and residing in the same dwelling unit with said person.
- FLUSH WATER CLOSET
- A toilet bowl flushed with water under pressure with a water-sealed trap above the floor level.
- The animal and vegetable waste resulting from the handling, preparation, cooking, serving and nonconsumption of food, and shall also mean combustible waste material.
- GROSS FLOOR AREA
- The total area of all habitable space in a building or structure.
- Any person who shares a dwelling unit in a nonpermanent status for not more than 30 days.
- 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, furnace rooms, pantries, kitchenettes and utility rooms of less than 50 square feet, foyers or communicating corridors, stairways, closets, storage space and workshops, hobby and recreation areas in unsealed or uninsulated parts of a structure below ground level or in attics.
- HEALTH OFFICER
- The duly designated health authority of the Town of Bethel or his authorized representative.
- HEATED WATER
- Water heated to a temperature of not less than 120º F. at the outlet.
- A family and/or one or more unrelated persons, including servants and not more than two boarders, who share the same dwelling and use some or all of its cooking and eating facilities.
- HOUSING OFFICIAL
- The official charged with the administration and enforcement of this chapter, or his authorized representative.
- The presence in large numbers within or around a dwelling or other structure of insects, rodents or other pests.
- KITCHEN or KITCHENETTE
- Any room containing any or all of the following equipment or area of a room within three feet of such equipment: sink and/or other device for dishwashing, stove or other device for cooking and refrigerator or other device for cool storage of food.
- KITCHEN SINK
- A sink of a size and design adequate for the purpose of washing eating and drinking utensils, located in a kitchen, properly connected with a cold and hot water line.
- A handwashing basin which is properly connected with both a hot and cold water line and which is separate and distinct from a kitchen sink.
- LEAD PAINT
- Any pigmented liquid substance applied to surfaces by brush, roller or spray in which the total nonvolatile ingredient contains more than 1% of lead, by weight, calculated as metallic lead.
- MULTIPLE DWELLING
- Any dwelling containing more than two dwelling units.
- Any person, over one year of age, living, sleeping, cooking or eating in or actually having possession of a rental dwelling unit or a rental rooming unit, except that in dwelling units a guest will not be considered an occupant.
- Any person who has charge, care or control of a building, or part thereof, in which rental dwelling units or rental rooming units are let.
- ORDINARY SUMMER CONDITIONS
- A temperature range between 65º F. and 75º F.
- ORDINARY WINTER CONDITIONS
- A temperature 15º F. above the lowest recorded out-of-door temperature in the locality for the prior ten-year period.
- Any person who, alone or jointly or severally with others:
- (1) Shall have legal title to any rental dwelling, premises or dwelling unit, with or without accompanying actual possession thereof; or
- (2) Shall have charge, care or control of any rental dwelling, premises or dwelling unit as owner or agent of the owner, or an executor, administrator, trustee or guardian of the estate of the owner. Any such person thus representing the actual owner shall be bound to comply with the provisions of this chapter and of rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto to the same extent as if he were the owner.
- PERMISSIBLE OCCUPANCY
- The maximum number of persons permitted as family or household to reside in a rental dwelling unit or rooming unit based on the square footage per person in habitable rooms.
- Includes any individual, firm, corporation, association or partnership.
- Includes all of the following supplied facilities and equipment: gas pipes, gas-burning equipment, water pipes, garbage disposal units, waste pipes, water closets, sinks, installed dishwashers, 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, septic tank systems or gas lines.
- POTENTIAL HAZARDOUS MATERIAL
- Any material, including building material, containing lead and/or other toxic heavy metal compound in concentrations dangerous to the public health as deemed by the State Department of Health.
- A platted lot or part thereof or unplatted lot or parcel of land or plot of land, either occupied by any dwelling or nondwelling structure, and includes any such building, accessory structure or other structures thereon.
- The ability of a person or persons to carry out an activity commenced without interruption or interference, either by sight or sound by unwanted persons.
- A form of construction which will prevent the ingress or egress of rats to or from a given space or building or their gaining access to food, water or harborage. It consists of the closing and keeping closed of every opening in foundations, basements, cellars and exterior and interior walls.
- All putrescible and nonputrescible solids (except body wastes), including garbage, rubbish, ashes and dead animals. The term shall also include paper, rags, cartons, boxes, wood, excelsior, rubber, leather, tree branches, yard trimmings and other combustible waste materials.
- ROOMING HOUSE
- Any dwelling or that part of any dwelling containing one or more rooming units in which space is occupied by three or more persons who are not members of a single family.
- 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.
- Nonputrescible solid wastes (excluding ashes) consisting of both:
- The condition of being free from danger and hazards which may cause accidents or disease.
- SEPTIC TANK
- A receptacle, usually underground, to which sewage is drained and retained to effect disintegration of the organic matter by bacteria and as defined in Section 19-13-B20A of the Connecticut Public Health Code.
- SPACE HEATER
- A self-contained, vented, fuel-burning appliance of either the circulating type or the radiant type.
- Paid for, furnished, provided by or under the control of the owner or operator.
- TEMPORARY HOUSING
- Any tent, trailer, mobile home or any other structure used for human shelter which is designed to be transportable and is not attached to the ground, to another structure or to any utility system on the same premises for more than 30 consecutive days.
- A water closet, with a bowl and trap made in one piece, which is of such shape and form that it holds a sufficient quantity of water under pressure so that no fecal matter will collect on the surface of the bowl and which is equipped with flushing rims which permit the bowl to be properly flushed and scoured when water is discharged through the flushing rims.
- The process of supplying and removing air by natural or mechanical means to or from any space.
Meaning of certain words.
Wherever the words "dwelling," "dwelling unit," "rooming house," "rooming unit," "premises" and "structure" are used in this chapter, they shall be construed as though they were followed by the words "or any part thereof" and preceded by the word "rental."
Words used in the singular include the plural, and the plural the singular.
The masculine gender includes the feminine, and the feminine the masculine.
No owner or other person shall let to another person any vacant dwelling or dwelling unit unless said dwelling unit and the premises are clean, sanitary, fit for human occupancy and comply with all applicable legal requirements of the State of Connecticut and the Town of Bethel.
Every owner of a dwelling containing two or more dwelling units shall maintain in a clean and sanitary condition the shared or public areas of the dwelling and premises thereof.
Every occupant of a dwelling or dwelling unit shall maintain in a clean and sanitary condition that part or those parts of the dwelling, dwelling unit and premises thereof that he occupies and controls.
Every occupant of a dwelling or dwelling unit shall store and dispose of all his rubbish in a clean, sanitary and safe manner.
Every occupant of a dwelling unit shall store and discard in a clean, sanitary and safe manner all his garbage and any other organic waste which might provide food for rodents and insects. If a container is used for storage pending collection, it shall be secure against entry by insects and rodents and shall be watertight.
Every owner of a dwelling containing three or more dwelling units shall supply facilities or containers for the sanitary and safe storage and/or disposal of rubbish and garbage by the occupant of said dwelling unit. In the case of single- or two-family dwellings it shall be the responsibility of the occupant to furnish such facilities or containers.
The owner of a dwelling or dwelling unit or structure shall be responsible for providing and hanging all screens and double or storm doors and windows whenever the same are required under the provisions of this chapter or any rule or regulation adopted thereunder, except where a written agreement between the owner and occupant has provided otherwise. In the absence of such an agreement, maintenance or replacement of screens, storm doors and windows, once installed in any one season, become the responsibility of the occupant. See § 63-5 for areas required.
Every occupant of a dwelling containing a single dwelling unit shall be responsible for the extermination of any insects, rodents or other pests therein or on the premises. Every occupant of a dwelling unit, in a dwelling containing more than one dwelling unit, shall be responsible for such extermination whenever his dwelling unit is the only one infested. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this subsection, whenever infestation is caused by failure of the owner to maintain a dwelling in a ratproof or reasonable insectproof condition, extermination shall be the responsibility of the owner. Whenever infestation exists in two or more of the dwelling units in any dwelling, or in the shared or public parts of any dwelling containing two or more dwelling units, extermination thereof shall be the responsibility of the owner.
Every occupant of a dwelling unit or structure shall keep all plumbing fixtures and facilities therein in a clean, operable and sanitary condition and shall be responsible for the exercise of reasonable care in the proper use and operation thereof.
No owner or occupant of a dwelling, dwelling unit or structure shall accumulate rubbish, boxes, lumber, scrap metal or any other material in such a manner that may provide a rodent harborage or rodent food in or about any dwelling, dwelling unit or structure.
No person shall let to another for occupancy any dwelling or dwelling unit, for the purposes of living, sleeping, cooking or eating therein, which does not comply with the following minimum standards for basic equipment and facilities:
Every dwelling unit shall have a room or portion of a room in which food may be prepared and/or cooked and which shall be equipped with the following:
A kitchen sink in good working condition apart from the lavatory sink required in § 63-4C. Said kitchen sink shall be properly connected to a water supply system which is approved by the appropriate authority and at all times shall provide an adequate amount of heated and unheated running water under pressure. Said kitchen sink shall be connected to a sewer system or septic tank system which is approved by the appropriate authority.
Cabinets and/or shelves for the storage of eating and drinking and cooking equipment and utensils and of food that does not, under ordinary maximum summer conditions, require refrigeration for safekeeping. Said cabinets and/or shelves shall be adequate for the permissible occupancy of the dwelling unit and shall be of sound construction, with surfaces that are easily cleanable and that will not impart any toxic or deleterious effect to food.
A stove or similar device for cooking food and a refrigerator or similar device for the safe storage of food at temperatures less than 45º F., but more than 32º F., under ordinary maximum summer conditions. Both said stove and refrigerator shall be properly installed with all necessary connections for safe, sanitary and efficient operation. It is provided, however, that such stove, refrigerator and/or similar devices need not be installed when the dwelling unit is not occupied and when the occupant is expected to provide the same at time of occupancy. In that case a sufficient space for the safe and efficient installation and operation of said stove, refrigerator and/or similar devices shall be provided.
Within every dwelling unit there shall be a nonhabitable room, affording privacy to a person within said room. Said room shall be equipped with a flush water closet in good working condition, and such flush water closet shall be equipped with easily cleanable surfaces, shall be connected to a water system that at all times provides an adequate amount of running water under pressure so as to cause the water closet to be operated properly and shall also be connected to a sewer system or septic system which is approved by the appropriate authority.
Within every dwelling unit there shall be a room, affording privacy to a person, which is equipped with a lavatory sink. Said lavatory sink may be either in the same room as the flush water closet or in an adjacent room. The lavatory sink shall be in good working condition and properly connected to an approved water supply system, which water supply system shall at all times provide an adequate amount of heated and unheated running water under pressure. Said lavatory sink shall be connected to a sewer or septic system which is approved by the appropriate authority.
Within every dwelling unit there shall be a nonhabitable room which affords privacy to a person within said room and which is equipped with a bathtub or shower in good working condition. Said bathtub or shower may be in the same room as the flush water closet or in another room. Said bathtub or shower shall be properly connected to a water supply system which is approved by the appropriate authority and which provides at all times an adequate amount of heated and unheated running water under pressure. Said bathtub or shower shall also be connected to a sewer system or septic tank which is approved by the appropriate authority.
Every dwelling unit shall have one or more approved means of egress leading to safe and open space at ground level, as required by the laws of this state and this Town.
No person shall let to another for occupancy any dwelling or dwelling unit unless all exterior doors of the dwelling or dwelling unit are equipped with safe, functioning locking devices.
No person shall let to another for occupancy any dwelling or dwelling unit, for the purpose of living therein, which does not comply with the following minimum standards for light and ventilation:
Every habitable room shall have at least one window, skylight or exterior door facing directly to the outdoors. The minimum total window area, measured between stops, for every habitable room shall be not less than 10% of the floor area of such room. Wherever walls or other portions of any structure face a window of any such rooms and where such light-obstructing structure is located less than three feet from the window and extends to a level above that of the ceiling of the room, such 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 of such room. Each window shall be not less than three square feet in area.
At least one window, skylight or exterior door of every habitable room shall face directly outdoors and shall be easily opened, or the room shall be equipped with such device as will adequately ventilate the room. If no such ventilating device is furnished, the total of openable window area in every habitable room shall be equal to at least 45% of the minimum window area size or minimum skylight-type window size, as required in Subsection A of this section.
Every bathroom and water closet compartment shall comply with the light and ventilation requirements for habitable rooms contained in Subsections A and B, except that no window or skylight shall be required in adequately ventilated bathrooms and water closet compartments equipped with a ventilation system in working condition which is approved by the appropriate authority.
Where there is electric service available from power lines which are not more than 300 feet away from a dwelling, every dwelling unit and all public and common areas shall be supplied with electric service, outlets and electrical fixtures for lighting, all of which shall be properly installed, shall be maintained in good and safe working condition and shall be connected to the source of electric power in a manner prescribed by the ordinances, rules and regulations of the municipality. The minimum capacity of such service and the minimum number of outlets and lighting fixtures shall be as follows:
Every habitable room shall have an electric service and outlets and/or lighting fixtures capable of providing at least three watts per square foot of floor area.
Every habitable room and nonhabitable room used for food preparation shall have at least one floor- or wall-type electric convenience outlet for each 60 square feet, or fraction thereof, of floor area, and in no case less than two outlets.
Every water closet compartment, bathroom, kitchen or kitchenette, laundry room, furnace room and public hall shall contain at least one supplied ceiling- or wall-type electric light fixture.
Convenient switches for turning on one light in each room or passageway shall be located so as to permit the area ahead to be lighted.
Every public hall and stairway in every multiple dwelling shall be adequately lighted by natural and/or electric light at all times so as to provide at least six footcandles of light at the tread or floor level. Every public hall and stairway in structures containing not more than two dwelling units may be supplied with conveniently located light switches controlling an adequate lighting system, which may be turned on when needed as an alternative to the furnishing of full-time lighting. The owner is responsible for keeping such lighting in working order.
Alternate devices. In place of the means for natural light and ventilation herein described, alternate arrangement of windows, louvers or other methods and devices that will provide the equivalent minimum performance requirements shall be permitted when complying with the approved rules.
No person shall let to another for occupancy any dwelling or dwelling unit, for the purposes of living therein, which does not comply with the following minimum thermal (heating and cooling) standards:
Every dwelling shall have heating facilities which shall be properly installed and maintained safe and which shall be capable of safely and adequately heating all of the habitable rooms, kitchen or kitchenette, bathrooms and water closet compartments in every dwelling unit located therein. Such heating facilities shall adequately heat the room to a temperature of at least 68º F. with an outside temperature of 0º F. The reading shall be taken at a distance 60 inches above the floor level of each such room.
§ 63-7 Requirements for safe and sanitary maintenance of parts of rental dwellings and rental dwelling units.
No person shall let to another for occupancy any dwelling or dwelling unit, for the purpose of living therein, which does not comply with the general requirements of this section relating to the safe and sanitary maintenance of parts of rental dwellings and rental dwellings units.
Every foundation, floor, roof, ceiling, exterior and interior wall and accessory structure shall be reasonably weathertight, watertight and damp-free, shall be kept in sound condition and good repair and shall be capable of affording privacy for the occupants. All exterior wood surfaces shall be protected from the elements and decay by paint or other protective covering or treatment. Toxic paint and materials will not be used on such exterior surfaces as are readily accessible to children.
Lead paint or potentially hazardous material on the interior surfaces of any dwelling unit, rooming unit, rooming house or on any fixtures or other objects used, installed or located in or upon any exposed surface in any such facility subject to letting or occupancy by children is prohibited. Such interior surfaces include but are not limited to windowsills, window frames, doors, door frames, walls, ceiling, stairrails and spindles and all other appurtenances of the interior portion of the dwelling premises.
In each instance where conditions disclose loose, flaking, chipping or falling paint, and there is reason to believe that the presence of lead paint or toxic material exists as a potential hazard, the enforcing officer shall take samples in a manner prescribed by the appropriate authority and shall submit samples for analysis to said appropriate authority.
Every window, exterior door, basement hatchway and all similar devices shall be kept rodentproof and reasonably watertight and weathertight and shall be kept in sound working condition and good repair at all times.
During that portion of the year when there is a need for protection against mosquitoes, flies and other flying insects, every door opening directly from a dwelling unit to outside space shall be equipped with properly fitting screens having not less than a 16 mesh and shall be operated by a self-closing device. During said portion of the year every window or other device with openings to outdoor space, used or intended to be used for ventilation, shall also be supplied with such screens, except that no screens shall be required for any dwelling unit located on any floor above the fifth floor. See § 63-3G for the party responsible.
Every window located at or near ground level that is used or intended to be used for ventilation and every other opening located at or near ground level which might provide an entry for rodents shall be supplied with adequate-gauge screen or such other devices as will effectively prevent their entrance.
Every dwelling or accessory structure and the premises upon which it is located shall be rodentproof and maintained so as to prevent the harboring of rodents. Such premises shall be graded and drained, kept free of standing water and maintained in a clean, sanitary and safe condition.
All openings in the exterior walls, foundations, basements and ground or first floors, and roofs which have an opening that is 1/2 inch or more in diameter, shall be ratproofed in an approved manner if they are within 48 inches of the existing exterior ground level immediately below such openings, or if such openings may be reached by rats from the ground by climbing unguarded pipes, wires, cornices, stairs, roofs and other means such as trees or lines or by burrowing.
Skirting, lattice or other nonratproofed enclosures that can create a harboring place for rats under a porch or under any other portions of a building shall be ratproofed at all locations where a rat could find, burrow or gnaw an access opening.
In the event that occupancy usages would result in the stacking or piling of materials, the materials shall be so arranged as to prohibit the creation of a harbor for rats. This can be accomplished by orderly stacking and elevating such material so that there will be an eighteen-inch opening between the material and the ground level. No materials shall be stacked or piled against the exterior walls of the structure.
All exterior doors, including swinging, sliding and folding types, shall be constructed so that the space between the lower edge of the door and the threshold shall not exceed 3/8 inch. It is provided further that the space between sections of folding and sliding doors, when closed, shall not exceed 3/8 inch.
Interior floors of basements, cellars and other areas in contact with the soil shall be paved with concrete or other materials impervious to rats.
Materials used for rodent control shall be those materials that are acceptable to the appropriate authority.
All fences provided by the owner or an occupant on the premises shall be constructed of manufactured metal fencing material, wood, masonry or other inert material. Such fences shall be maintained in good condition. Wood materials shall be protected against decay by use of paint or other preservative. The permissible height and other characteristics of all fences shall conform to the appropriate statutes, ordinances and regulations of this state and the local authority. Wherever any egress from the dwelling opens into the fenced area, the fence shall include a means of egress from the premises to any public way adjacent thereto.
Accessory structures on the premises shall be structurally sound and shall be maintained in good repair and free from insects and rodents, or such structures shall be removed from the premises. The exterior of such structures shall be made weather-resistant through the use of decay-resistant materials or the use of paint or other preservatives.
In areas of heavy rat infestation, the enforcing officer shall require that every exterior door be equipped with an automatic closing device or with a screen door that is equipped with such a device and properly fitted.
All sewers, pipes, drains, conduits, roof ventilators, chimneys, pipe vents, downspouts, openings, etc., permitting accessibility to rats shall be protected against entry by grilles, hardware, cloth, caps, expanded metal covers or other ratproof material acceptable to the appropriate authority.
If the space between two buildings is too small to permit inspection of the exterior walls of such building, such space shall be sealed so as to prevent the entrance of rats. Provisions shall be made in the ratproofing in such cases so that drainage is not obstructed.
Every foundation, roof, floor, exterior and interior wall, ceiling and inside and outside stair and every porch, gutter and downspout and every appurtenance thereto shall be safe to use and capable of supporting the loads that normal use may cause to be placed thereon and shall be kept in sound condition and good repair. Every inside and outside stair or step shall have uniform risers and treads, and stairways shall have handrails, structurally sound, of required height and balustrades spaced as in § 63-7D(1).
Porches, stairways and/or balconies located more than three feet higher than the adjacent area shall have structurally sound protective handrails of the required height, and, if unenclosed, balusters spaced no less than six inches apart shall also be provided. Alternate systems providing at least the same degree of protection, if approved by the appropriate authority, shall be acceptable.
Every plumbing fixture and water and waste pipe shall be properly installed and maintained in good sanitary working condition.
Every water closet compartment shall be constructed and maintained so as to be impervious to water. Every bathroom and kitchen floor surface shall be so constructed and maintained as to be easily kept in clean and sanitary condition and shall be reasonably impervious to water.
Every plumbing fixture and pipe, every chimney, flue and smoke pipe and every other facility, piece of equipment, utility and heating apparatus installed on the premises for the use of any dwelling unit or which is otherwise required under this chapter shall be constructed and installed in conformance with the applicable local or state codes and shall be maintained in satisfactory working condition.
Neither the owner nor any occupant of any dwelling unit shall cause any service, facility, equipment or utility which is required under this chapter to be removed from, shut off from or discontinued for any premises containing an occupied dwelling or dwelling unit let or occupied hereunder, except for such temporary interruption as may be necessary while actual repairs or alterations are in process or during temporary emergencies when discontinuance of service is approved by the appropriate authority.
All construction and materials, all ways and means of egress and all installation and use of equipment shall conform to applicable state and local laws dealing with fire protection.
No person shall let to be occupied any dwelling unit, for the purpose of living therein, which does not comply with the following minimum space, use and location requirements:
Every dwelling unit shall contain at least 150 square feet of floor space for the first occupant thereof, and at least 130 square feet of floor space for every additional occupant thereof, the floor space to be calculated on the basis of total habitable room space.
In every dwelling unit of two or more rooms, every room occupied for sleeping purposes shall contain at least 70 square feet of floor space for the first occupant and at least 50 square feet of floor space for each additional occupant thereof.
No dwelling or dwelling unit containing two or more sleeping rooms shall have such room arrangement that access to a bathroom or water closet compartment, intended for use by occupants of more than one sleeping room, can be had only by going through another sleeping room or a bathroom or water closet compartment; nor shall room arrangements be such that access to a sleeping room can be had only by going through another sleeping room. A bathroom or water closet compartment shall not be used as the only passageway to any hall, basement or cellar or to the exterior of a dwelling unit.
At least 75% of the floor area of every habitable room shall have a ceiling height of no less than eight feet in basement, seven feet six inches in the first story and seven feet four inches in upper stories. 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 of the room for the purpose of determining the maximum permissible occupancy thereof. At least 50% of the floor area in the attic rooms shall have a ceiling height of seven feet four inches.
No space located totally or partially below grade shall be used as a habitable room or dwelling unit unless:
The floor and those portions of the walls below grade are of waterproof and dampproof construction.
The minimum window area required in § 63-5A is located entirely above grade of the ground adjoining such window area. If windows are located wholly or partly below grade, it shall be required that there be constructed a properly drained window well whose ground area shall be equal to or greater than the area of the window opening; the bottom of the window well shall be below the top of the impervious masonry construction under this window; the minimum horizontal projections of the bottom of the window well shall be equal to or greater than the vertical dimension (depth) of this window opening, as measured from the bottom of the masonry opening; and no part of the window well opposite this window shall protrude above a line projected at a forty-five-degree angle from the bottom of the window opening at right angles to the outer wall.
The total openable window area in each room is equal to at least the minimum, as required under § 63-5B of this chapter, except where there is supplied some other device affording adequate ventilation and approved by the appropriate authority.
There are no pipes or other obstructions less than six feet eight inches above the floor level which interfere with the normal use of the room or area.
Every dwelling unit shall have closet or storage space of at least four square feet, floor to ceiling height, for the personal effects of each of the permitted number of occupants of that dwelling unit. If such required closet or storage space is lacking, an amount of space equal in square footage to the deficiency shall be subtracted from the area of habitable room space to be used in determining the number of occupants to be permitted in the dwelling unit.
A dwelling unit shall not be occupied by more than one family plus two occupants unrelated to the family, other than guests or domestic employees. A dwelling unit shall not be occupied by more than one household of unrelated occupants unless a permit for a rooming house has been granted by the appropriate authority.
For the purpose of ensuring the safety of children in the residential environment, each dwelling shall have a facility suitable for the safe storage of medicines, toxic materials and various poisonous household substances, including but not limited to ammonia, paint and gasoline. This subsection is the responsibility of the occupant.
Limitation of dwelling unit access to commercial uses. No habitable room, bathroom or water closet compartment which is accessory to a dwelling unit shall open directly into or shall be used in conjunction with a food store, barber- or beauty shop, doctor's or dentist's examination or treatment room or any similar room used for public purposes.
No dwelling or dwelling unit shall be let for occupancy unless all exterior doors of the dwelling or dwelling unit are equipped with safe, functioning locking devices.
No person shall operate a rooming house or let to another for occupancy any rooming house except in compliance with the provisions of §§ 63-3 and 63-4 of this chapter. No vacant rooming unit shall be occupied or let unless it is clean, sanitary and fit for human occupancy and shall otherwise be in compliance with all applicable requirements of the Town of Bethel.
No person shall operate a rooming house unless he holds a valid rooming house permit issued by the Director of Public Health in the name of the operator and for the said dwelling or dwelling unit as specified in such permit. The operator shall apply to the Director of Public Health for such permit, which shall be issued by the Director of Public Health only after determining that said rooming house is in compliance with the applicable provisions of this chapter and with any rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto. This permit shall be displayed in a conspicuous place within the rooming house at all times. No such permit shall be transferable. Acceptance of such permit by the operator of said rooming house shall serve as authorization by the operator for the enforcing officer to make any and all of such inspections or reinspections as the enforcing officer shall find to be necessary to determine the condition of the rooming units consistent with the enforcement of the provisions of this chapter. Such entry, examination and survey shall be between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. or at such time as shall be reasonable. Every person holding such permit shall give notice in writing to the Director of Public Health within 24 hours after having sold, transferred, given away or otherwise disposed of ownership of, interest in or control of any rooming house. Such written notice shall include the name and address of the person succeeding to the ownership, interest in or control of such rooming house. Every rooming house permit shall expire at the end of the year following its date of issuance, unless it is earlier suspended or revoked as hereinafter provided.
At least one flush water closet, lavatory basin and bathtub or shower that is properly connected to a water and sewer system or septic system approved by the health officer and in good working condition shall be supplied for each six persons or fraction thereof residing within a rooming house, including members of the operator's family wherever they share the use of said facilities. It is further provided that:
All such facilities shall be so located within the dwelling as to be reasonably accessible from a common hall or passageway to all persons sharing such facilities.
No such facilities shall be located in a basement, except by written approval of the Director of Public Health.
In a rooming house where rooms are let only to males, flush urinals may be substituted for not more than 1/2 the required number of water closets.
Every lavatory basin and bathtub or shower shall be supplied with heated and unheated water under pressure at all times.
Cooking in a rooming unit and/or dormitory rooms shall be prohibited.
Communal cooking and dining facilities in a rooming house shall be prohibited, except as approved by the Health Officer in writing.
Rooming unit doors shall have operating locks to ensure privacy.
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 operator shall be responsible for the clean and sanitary maintenance of all supplied bedding.
Every room occupied for sleeping purposes by one person shall contain at least 80 square feet of floor space. Every room occupied for sleeping by more than one person shall contain at least 60 square feet of floor space for each occupant thereof. Each such room shall also contain for each occupant not less than four square feet of closet space with an unobstructed height of at least five feet. If such closet space is lacking, an amount of space equal in square footage to the size of any deficiency in closet space shall be subtracted from the area of habitable room to be used by the Director of Public Health in determining the number of persons by whom occupancy is permissible.
Every window of every rooming unit shall be supplied with shades, drawn drapes or other devices or material which when properly used will afford privacy to the occupant of the rooming unit.
Every rooming unit shall have one or more safe, unobstructed means of egress leading to safe and open space at ground level, as required by the laws of the State of Connecticut and the Town of Bethel.
Every provision of this chapter which applies to rooming houses shall also apply to hotels, motels, dormitories and clubs, except to the extent that any such provisions may be found in conflict with the laws of the State of Connecticut or the Town of Bethel.
Access to or egress from each rooming unit shall be provided without passing through any other rooming unit or dwelling unit.
The enforcing officer is hereby authorized and directed to make periodic inspections, by and with the authorization of the owner, occupant or person in charge, to determine the condition of dwellings, dwelling units and premises within the Town of Bethel for the purpose of determining compliance with the provisions of this chapter. For the purpose of making such inspections, the enforcing officer, with the authorization of the owner, occupant or person in charge, is hereby empowered to enter, examine and survey all dwellings, dwelling units, rooming units and premises between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. or at such other time mutually satisfactory to and agreed upon by the enforcing officer and the owner, the occupant or the person in charge of any dwelling, dwelling unit or rooming unit. Such inspection, examination or survey shall not have for its purpose the harassment of such owner or occupant. Such inspection, examination or survey shall be made in a manner that will cause the least amount of inconvenience to said owner or occupant, consistent with an efficient performance of the duties of the enforcing officer. To further ensure that the policy of this chapter is to achieve compliance through cooperation of owners and occupants and to ensure that such policy will be successfully maintained, whenever practicable the enforcing officer will provide reasonable advance notice to the owner, the person in charge and/or the occupants of any planned blanket inspection and any inspections of a routine nature.
The owner or occupant of each dwelling, dwelling unit, rooming unit or premises or the person in charge thereof, upon presentation by the enforcing officer of proper identification, shall give the enforcing officer entry to the dwelling, dwelling unit, rooming unit or premises and free access to every part thereof, provided that no inspection shall be conducted except during the hours designated above. Whenever an owner, occupant or person in charge of a dwelling, dwelling unit or premises shall deny the enforcing officer right of entry for the purpose of inspection, examination or survey, the enforcing officer shall not so enter until he presents a duly granted authorization to enter for the purpose of inspection, examination or survey of such premises. Nothing in this section shall be construed to preclude the entry of the enforcing officer at any time when, in his judgment, an emergency tending to create an immediate danger to the public health, welfare or safety exists; or when such entry by the enforcing officer is requested by the owner, occupant or person in charge of the dwelling, dwelling unit, rooming unit or premises; or when the enforcing officer presents a duly granted authorization to enter for the purpose of inspection, examination or survey of such premises for the purposes hereof. Any owner, occupant or person in charge of a dwelling, dwelling unit, rooming unit or premises refusing to permit or impeding entry of and free access to any part of any dwelling, dwelling unit, rooming unit or premises for the purposes of inspection, examination or survey under the provisions of this subsection and Subsection A above shall, upon conviction, be fined not less than $50 nor more than $100 as provided in § 63-15 of this chapter.
The appropriate authority shall keep confidential all evidence which may be discovered or obtained in the course of an inspection made pursuant to this section. Such evidence shall be considered privileged. Evidence so obtained shall not be disclosed except as may be necessary in the judgment of the appropriate authority for the proper and effective administration and enforcement of the provisions of this chapter and rules and regulations issued pursuant thereto.
Every owner or operator of a rooming house shall keep, or cause to be kept, records of all requests for repair and complaints by tenants, which requests are related to the provisions of this chapter and to any applicable rules and regulations and records of all corrections made in response to such requests and complaints. Such records shall be made available by the owner or operator to the appropriate authority for inspection and copying upon request. Such records shall be admissible in any administrative or judicial proceeding pursuant to the provisions of this chapter as prima facie evidence of the violation or the correction of violations of this chapter or of applicable rules and regulations pursuant thereto.
Whenever the enforcing officer determines that conditions exist which cause any dwelling, dwelling unit, rooming unit or premises to fail to meet the minimum standards provided for in this chapter or regulations pursuant thereto, he shall issue a notice of violation setting forth the alleged failure or failures and requiring that such failures be corrected. The notice of violation shall be put in writing. Said notice of violation shall set forth the alleged violation or violations of this chapter or the rules and regulations pursuant thereto and describe the dwelling, dwelling unit, rooming unit or premises where the violation is alleged to exist or to have been committed. Said notice of violation shall provide a reasonable time for the correction of any violation alleged. Said notice of violation shall then be served upon the owner, occupant or person in charge of the dwelling, dwelling unit, rooming unit or premises by such personal service as shall be in accordance with the laws of the State of Connecticut for the service of process. Such notice may in the alternative, however, be served on said owner, occupant or person in charge by the use of registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, with provisions that the postal service deliver to addressee only. If one or more persons to whom such notice of violation is addressed cannot be found after diligent effort to locate and serve such persons as is hereinabove provided, service may be made upon such persons by posting a copy of the notice of violation in a conspicuous place in or about the dwelling, dwelling unit, rooming unit or premises described therein. After the passage of the period of time allowed for the correction of any violation described in such notice of violation, the enforcing officer shall reinspect the dwelling, dwelling unit, rooming unit or premises described in the notice. In making such reinspection, the enforcing officer shall follow the procedure detailed in § 63-10A and B hereof. Before such reinspection is undertaken, the owner, operator or person in charge of the dwelling, dwelling unit, rooming unit or premises to be inspected shall be informed that any evidence of a violation of any provision of this chapter or any regulation pursuant thereto may form the basis of a criminal prosecution. The authorization of the owner, operator or person in charge to such reinspection shall then be secured as hereinabove provided in § 63-10A and B.
In the event that such authorization for a reinspection is refused and in the event that the enforcing officer has reasonable grounds to believe that a violation of any provision of this chapter or any regulation pursuant thereto has occurred or is occurring, the enforcing officer shall apply to a court of competent jurisdiction, describing the dwelling, dwelling unit or premises in question and stating the facts on which the enforcing officer has concluded that reasonable grounds exist to form a belief that a violation of any provision of this chapter exists, for an order granting authority to enter, inspect, examine and survey the described dwelling, dwelling unit or premises for the purpose of determining whether there has been compliance with the notice of violation.
Any person aggrieved by a notice of violation addressed to such person by the enforcing officer and issued in connection with any inspection, examination or survey pursuant to this chapter shall be granted a hearing on such notice of violation before the Town of Bethel Basic Building Code Board of Appeals, provided that such person shall file in the office of the Basic Building Code Board of Appeals a written petition bearing the petitioner's name and present address, requesting a hearing and setting forth the grounds therefor, within 20 days after the notice of the enforcing officer was served upon such person. In the event that such notice of violation has been posted as hereinabove provided, however, said petition requesting a hearing must be filed within 30 days after the date when such notice of violation was first posted. Within 10 days of the receipt of such petition, the Basic Building Code Board of Appeals shall set a time and place for such hearing and shall give the petitioner written notice thereof. Such notice of hearing shall be by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested. At the hearing, the petitioner shall have the opportunity to present such facts as shall support the petitioner's contention that the notice should be modified or withdrawn. Such a hearing shall take place within a reasonable time after the receipt of the petition by the Basic Building Code Board of Appeals.
After the conclusion of the hearing, a majority of the Basic Building Code Board of Appeals shall be empowered to sustain, modify or withdraw the notice of violation. Variances from the provisions of this chapter may be granted where circumstances warrant, if in the judgment of the Basic Building Code Board of Appeals no harm to the public health, welfare and safety will result from such variance.
The Basic Building Code Board of Appeals is hereby authorized to administer oaths and affirmations to witnesses at such hearings and to take the testimony of witnesses and receive exhibits presented in such hearings.
All proceedings at such hearings, including the findings of fact and decision, shall be reduced to writing, and said findings and decision shall be certified and filed in the office of the appropriate local official.
Any person aggrieved by the final decision of the Basic Building Code Board of Appeals may appeal to any court of competent jurisdiction, as provided by the laws of this state.
Whenever, in the judgment of the enforcing officer, an emergency exists which requires immediate action to protect the public health, welfare or safety, the enforcing officer may, forthwith and without notice or hearing, cause to be issued and served an order describing the violation and reciting the existence of the emergency. The enforcing officer may then take such action under the law as the enforcing officer deems necessary to eliminate and cure the violation. Any aggrieved person who is served with such a notice of violation and order shall comply with its directions at once. Said aggrieved person shall, however, upon request, be given a hearing by the Basic Building Code Board of Appeals within 24 hours of any such request.
The enforcing officer is hereby authorized to enter, inspect, examine and survey all rooming houses between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Whenever, upon inspection of any rooming house, the enforcing officer finds that conditions or practices exist which are in violation of any provisions of this chapter or of any applicable rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, the enforcing officer shall give a written warning to the operator of such rooming house that unless such conditions are corrected within a period of time to be specified by the enforcing officer, the operator's permit will be suspended. Such period of time shall be of a reasonable length. At the end of said period of time the enforcing officer shall reinspect such rooming house, under the conditions of his first entry and inspection as set forth above in this subsection. If the enforcing officer determines that such conditions have not been corrected, he shall issue an order suspending the operator's permit.
Any person whose permit to operate a rooming house has been suspended by order of the enforcing officer shall be granted a hearing on the suspension order by the Basic Building Code Board of Appeals in the manner prescribed by § 63-12 on hearings. If no such petition for a hearing is received by the Basic Building Code Board of Appeals within 10 days following the day on which a permit was suspended, said permit shall be deemed revoked. At any time within said 10 days following the suspension order, however, the rooming house operator may upon request be granted a reinspection by the enforcing officer for the purpose of demonstrating that said rooming house has been put in compliance with this chapter and with all regulations pursuant thereto. Where such compliance is demonstrated to the satisfaction of the enforcing officer, the suspension of the rooming house operator's permit shall be terminated.
The Town of Bethel Basic Building Code Board of Appeals is hereby authorized to make, adopt, revise and amend such rules and regulations as it deems necessary for the carrying out of the provisions of this chapter in accordance with the procedures made, established and provided by the Charter and ordinances of this Town of Bethel.
Any person who shall violate any provision of this chapter or who shall willfully refuse or fail to obey an order of the enforcing officer or the Basic Building Code Board of Appeals to comply with this chapter or of any rule or regulation adopted hereunder shall, upon conviction, be fined not less than $50 nor more than $100.
The designation of dwellings or dwelling units as unfit for human habitation and the procedure for the condemnation and placarding of such unit dwellings or dwelling units shall be carried out in compliance with the following requirements:
Any dwelling or dwelling unit which the enforcing officer shall find to have one or more of the following defects shall be condemned as unfit for human habitation and shall be so designated and placarded by the enforcing officer.
Any dwelling or dwelling unit that is so damaged, decayed or dilapidated, insanitary, unsafe or vermin-infested that it creates a serious hazard to the health or safety of the occupants or of the public.
Any dwelling or dwelling unit that lacks illumination, ventilation or sanitation facilities adequate to protect the health or safety of the occupants or of the public.
Any dwelling or dwelling unit that, because of its general condition or location, is insanitary or otherwise dangerous to the health or safety of the occupants or of the public.
Any dwelling or dwelling unit that is condemned as unfit for human habitation and so designated and placarded by the enforcing officer shall be vacated forthwith by all occupants thereof.
No dwelling, dwelling unit or rooming unit that has been condemned and placarded as unfit for human habitation shall be used again for human habitation until written approval is secured from the enforcing officer and until such placard is removed by express permission of the enforcing officer. The enforcing officer shall permit removal of such placard by the owner, occupant or person in charge of the dwelling, dwelling unit or rooming unit upon the elimination of such defect as was found by the enforcing officer as described in Subsection A hereinabove.
No person shall willfully deface or remove the placard from any dwelling, dwelling unit or rooming unit which has been condemned as unfit for human habitation and placarded as such, except when such action has been authorized by the enforcing officer, as provided for in Subsection C above. Whoever violates this provision shall, upon conviction, be subject to a fine of not less than $25 nor more than $50.
Any person aggrieved by any order involving the condemnation and placarding of a dwelling, dwelling unit or rooming unit shall be granted a hearing subject to the conditions specified in § 63-12 above, upon the written request of such aggrieved person as provided therein.
In the event that no corrective action is taken by the owner, occupant or person in charge of a dwelling, dwelling unit or rooming unit thus condemned as unfit for human occupancy within six months following the date of the condemnation hereinabove described, provided that no appeal is then pending, then the enforcing officer shall order the condemned structure to be demolished as soon as practicable.
Nothing herein contained shall be interpreted as precluding any private right of action of any person against an owner, occupant or person in charge of the condemned and placarded structure.
All subsequent transferees of the condemned dwelling, dwelling unit or rooming unit shall be deemed to have notice of the continuing existence of the violations alleged; and said transferees shall be liable to all penalties and procedures provided by this chapter and by applicable rules and regulations issued pursuant thereto to the same degree as was their transferor.
In any case where a provision of this chapter is found to be in conflict with any existing code, ordinance or regulation of the Town of Bethel existing on the effective date of this chapter, the provision which establishes the higher standard for the promotion and protection of the health and safety of the people shall prevail.
If any section, subsection, paragraph, sentence, clause or phrase of this ordinance shall be declared invalid for any reason whatever, such decision shall not affect the remaining portions of this ordinance which shall remain in full force and effect. To this end the provisions of this ordinance are hereby declared to be severable.
The enforcing officer and his assistants shall be free from personal liability for acts done in good faith in the performance of official duties. Any suit brought against any officer, agent or employee of the municipality as a result of any act required or permitted in the discharge of his duties under this code shall be defended by the legal representative of the municipality until the final determination of the proceedings therein.