City of Paterson, NJ
Passaic County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Paterson 12-18-1979 by Ord. No. 79-111 as Ch. 14, Art. 4, of the 1979 Revised General Ordinances of Paterson. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Brush, grass and weeds — See Ch. 149.
Dangerous and unfit buildings — See Ch. 157.
Rat baiting — See Ch. 161, Art. I.
Numbering of buildings — See Ch. 169.
Certificates of re-rental approval and compliance — See Ch. 175.
Uniform construction codes — See Ch. 183.
Fire safety — See Ch. 215.
Heating — See Ch. 267.
Housing-property maintenance — See Ch. 271.
Littering — See Ch. 313.
Nuisances — See Ch. 341.
Lead-based paint — See Ch. 351.
Rodent control — See Ch. 385.
Solid waste — See Ch. 427.
This chapter shall be known as the "Minimum Standards of Dwellings Code of the City of Paterson" and may be so cited.
A. 
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
BASEMENT
A portion of a building located partly underground, but having less than half of its clear floor-to-ceiling height below the average grade of the adjoining ground.
CELLAR
A portion of a building located partly or wholly underground and having half or more of its clear floor-to-ceiling height below the average grade of the adjoining ground.
DWELLING
Any building which is wholly or partly used or intended to be used for living or sleeping by human occupants.
DWELLING UNIT
Any room or group of rooms located within a dwelling and forming a single habitable unit with facilities which are used or intended to be used for living, sleeping, cooking or eating.
EXTERMINATION
The control and elimination of insects, rodents or other pests by eliminating their harborage places; by removing or making inaccessible materials that may serve as their food; by poisoning, spraying, fumigating, trapping; or by any other recognized and legal pest elimination methods approved by the Health Division.
GARBAGE
The animal and vegetable waste resulting from the handling, preparation, cooking and consumption of food.
HABITABLE ROOM
A room or enclosed floor space used or intended to be used for living, sleeping, cooking or eating purposes, excluding bathrooms, water closet compartments, laundries, pantries, foyers or communicating corridors, closets and storage spaces.
HEALTH OFFICER
The legally designated health authority of the Health Division or his authorized representatives.
INCIDENTAL COOKING FACILITIES
Any electric or gas device for the preparation of food by the application of heat containing not more than one (1) plate or burner, not exceeding eight (8) inches in diameter.
INFESTATION
The presence, within or around a dwelling, of any insects, rodents or other pests.
MULTIPLE DWELLING
Any dwelling containing more than two (2) dwelling units.
OCCUPANT
Any person, over one (1) year of age, living, sleeping, cooking or eating in or having actual possession of a dwelling unit or rooming unit.
OPERATOR
Any person who has charge, care or control of a building or part thereof in which dwelling units or rooming units are let.
OWNER
Any person who, alone or jointly or severally with others:
(1) 
Shall have legal title to any dwelling or dwelling unit, with or without accompanying actual possession thereof; or
(2) 
Shall have charge, care or control of any dwelling or dwelling unit as owner or agent of the owner or as executor, executrix, administrator, administratrix, trustee or guardian of the estate of the owner. Any such person thus representing the actual "owners" shall be bound to comply with the provisions of this chapter and of the rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto, to the same extent as if he were the owner.
PLUMBING
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 or gas lines.
ROOMING HOUSE
Any dwelling or that part of any dwelling containing one (1) or more rooming units, in which space is let by the owner or operator to three (3) or more persons who are not husband and wife, son or daughter, mother or father or sister or brother of the owner or operator.
ROOMING UNIT
Any room or group of rooms forming a single habitable unit used or intended to be used for living and sleeping, but not for cooking or eating purposes.
RUBBISH
Combustible and noncombustible waste materials, except garbage; and the term shall include the residue from the burning of wood, coal, coke and other combustible material, paper, rags, cartons, boxes, wood, excelsior, rubber, leather, tree branches, yard trimmings, tin cans, metals, mineral matter, glass, crockery and dust.
SUPPLIED
Paid for, furnished or provided by or under the control of the owner or operator.
B. 
Whenever the words "dwelling," "dwelling unit," "rooming house," "rooming unit" or "premises" are used in this chapter, they shall be construed as though they were followed by the words "or any part thereof."
A. 
The Health Division is hereby authorized to make and adopt such written rules and regulations as may be necessary for the proper enforcement of the provisions of this chapter; provided, however, that such rules and regulations shall not be in conflict with the provisions of this chapter.
B. 
Such rules and regulations shall have the same force and effect as the provisions of this chapter, and the penalty for violation thereof shall be the same as the penalty for violations of the provisions of this chapter as hereinafter provided in this chapter.
C. 
The Health Division shall file a certified copy of such rules and regulations with the City Clerk.
A. 
The Health Officer is hereby authorized and directed to make inspections to determine the condition of dwellings, dwelling units, rooming units and premises located within the city, in order that he may perform his duty of safeguarding the health and safety of the occupants of dwellings and of the general public.
B. 
For the purpose of making the foregoing inspections, the Health Officer is hereby authorized to enter, examine and survey, at all reasonable times, all dwellings, dwelling units, rooming units and premises. The owner or occupant or person in charge of every dwelling, dwelling unit and rooming unit shall give the Health Officer free access to such dwelling, dwelling unit or rooming unit and its premises at all reasonable times for the purpose of such inspection, examination and survey.
C. 
Every occupant of a dwelling or dwelling unit shall give the owner thereof or his agent or employee access to any part of such dwelling or dwelling unit or its premises at all reasonable times for the purpose of making such repairs or alterations as are necessary to effect compliance with the provisions of this chapter or with any lawful rule or regulation adopted or any lawful order issued pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
A. 
Whenever the Health Officer determines that there are reasonable grounds to believe that there has been a violation of any provision of this chapter or of any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, he shall give notice of such alleged violation to the person or persons responsible therefor as provided in Subsections B and C of this section. Any notice served pursuant to this section shall automatically be deemed and become an order unless a written petition for a hearing is filed in the office of the Health Officer within ten (10) days after such service of notice, as provided in Subsection C hereof.
B. 
Contents of notice.
(1) 
Notice of violations given pursuant to Subsection A hereof shall:
(a) 
Be in writing.
(b) 
Contain a statement of the alleged violation or violations.
(c) 
Specify a reasonable time at which the violation or violations shall be abated, corrected or eliminated.
(2) 
At the option of the Health Officer, the notice of violation or violations may contain an outline of remedial action which if taken will abate, correct or eliminate the violation or violations alleged in the notice.
C. 
A copy of the notice of violation given pursuant to Subsections A and B hereof shall be served upon the owner or his agent or the occupant, as the case may require, personally or by leaving a copy at his usual place of abode with a person over the age of fourteen (14) years or by registered or certified mail addressed to him at his last known address or by posting said copy in a conspicuous place in or about the dwelling affected by such notice or by any other method authorized or required by the laws of this state.
A. 
Any person given notice pursuant to § 275-5 of a violation of this chapter or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto shall be entitled to a hearing upon the matter before the Health Officer if a written petition requesting such hearing and briefly setting forth the grounds therefor is filed in the office of the Health Officer within ten (10) days after the day of the service of the notice. Upon receipt of the petition, the Health Officer shall fix a time and place for the hearing, but not later than ten (10) days after the filing of the petition, and shall give the petitioner written notice thereof.
B. 
The hearing shall be commenced before the Health Officer within ten (10) days after the day on which the petition was filed unless, on application of the petitioner and a showing of good cause, the Health Officer grants a postponement thereof to a fixed date which he deems reasonable under the circumstances.
C. 
At the hearing, the petitioner shall be given an opportunity to be heard and to show why such notice should be modified or withdrawn.
D. 
The Health Officer, after the hearing, shall sustain, modify or withdraw the notice in accordance with his findings as to whether the provisions of this chapter and of the rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto have been complied with. If the Health Officer sustains or modifies such notice, it shall be deemed to be and have the effect of an order.
E. 
The proceedings at such hearing, including the findings and decision of the Health Officer, shall be summarized and reduced to writing and entered as a matter of public record in his office. Such record shall also include a copy of every notice or order issued in connection with the matter.
F. 
Any person aggrieved by the decision of the Health Officer may seek relief therefrom in any court of competent jurisdiction as provided by the laws and court rules of this state.
A. 
Whenever the enforcing official finds that an emergency exists which requires immediate action to protect the public health, safety or welfare, he may, without notice or hearing, issue an order reciting the existence of such an emergency and requiring that such action be taken as he deems necessary. Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter to the contrary, such order shall be effective immediately upon service.
B. 
The person to whom the order referred to in Subsection A of this section is directed shall comply therewith immediately, but upon petition, in writing, to the Health Officer, shall be afforded a hearing as soon as possible for the purpose of reviewing such order. At the conclusion of such hearing, the Health Officer, depending upon his findings as to whether the provisions of this chapter and of the rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto have been complied with, shall continue the order in effect; or modify it, including, but not by way of limitation, the time for compliance therewith; or rescind it. A record of the proceedings of such hearing shall be taken and entered as provided in § 275-6.
No person shall occupy as owner-occupant or let to another for occupancy any dwelling or dwelling unit, for the purpose of living, sleeping, cooking or eating therein, which does not comply with the following requirements:
A. 
Every dwelling unit shall contain a kitchen sink in good working condition and properly connected to a water and sewer system approved by the Health Officer.
B. 
Every dwelling unit shall contain a room which affords privacy to a person within said room and which is equipped with a flush water closet and a lavatory basin in good working condition and properly connected to a water and sewer system approved by the Health Officer.
C. 
Every dwelling unit shall contain, within a room which affords privacy to a person within said room, a bathtub or shower in good working condition and properly connected to a water and sewer system approved by the Health Officer.
D. 
Every kitchen sink, lavatory, basin and bathtub or shower required under the provisions of Subsections A, B and C of this section shall be properly connected with both hot and cold water lines.
E. 
Every dwelling unit shall be supplied with adequate rubbish storage facilities, the type and location of which are approved by the Health Officer.
F. 
Every dwelling unit shall have adequate garbage disposal facilities or garbage storage containers, the type and location of which are approved by the Health Officer.
G. 
Every dwelling shall have supplied water-heating facilities which are properly installed, are maintained in safe and good working condition, are properly connected with the hot-water lines required under the provisions of Subsection D of this section and are capable of heating water to such a temperature as to permit an adequate amount of water to be drawn at every required kitchen sink, lavatory basin, bathtub or shower at a temperature of not less than one hundred twenty degrees Fahrenheit (120° F.). Hot running water at a temperature of not less than one hundred twenty degrees Fahrenheit (120° F.) shall be supplied at every kitchen sink, lavatory basin, bathtub or shower at all times.
H. 
Every dwelling unit shall have safe unobstructed means of egress leading to a safe and open space at ground level, as required by the laws of this state and the ordinances of the city, including, but not by way of limitation, the building code and fire prevention code of the city.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 183, Construction Codes, Uniform, and Ch. 215, Fire Safety.
No person shall occupy as owner-occupant or let to another for occupancy any dwelling or dwelling unit, for the purpose of living therein, which does not comply with the following requirements:
A. 
Every habitable room shall have at least one (1) window or skylight facing directly to the outdoors. The minimum total window area, measured between stops, for every habitable room shall be ten percent (10%) of the floor area of such room. Whenever walls or other portions of structures face a window of any such room and such light-obstruction structures are located less than three (3) feet from the window and extend to a level above that of the ceiling of the room, such a 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 fifteen percent (15%) of such room.
B. 
Every habitable room shall have at least one (1) window or skylight which can easily be opened or such other device as will adequately ventilate the room. The total of openable window area in every habitable room shall be equal to at least forty-five percent (45%) of the minimum window area size or minimum skylight-type window size, as required in Subsection A of this section, except where there is supplied some other device affording adequate ventilation and approved by the Health Officer.
C. 
Every bathroom and water closet compartment shall comply with the light and ventilation requirements for habitable rooms contained in Subsections A and B of this section, except that no window or skylight shall be required in adequately ventilated bathrooms and water closet compartments equipped with a ventilation system which is kept in continuous operation and approved by the Health Officer.
D. 
Every dwelling shall be supplied with electric service which shall be installed and maintained in accordance with the requirements of the construction code enforcing agency of the city.
E. 
Every dwelling shall have heating facilities which are properly installed, are maintained in safe and good working condition and are capable of safely and adequately heating all habitable rooms, bathrooms and water closet compartments in every dwelling unit located therein to a temperature as required by Chapter 267, Heating, Article I, Responsibility To Provide Minimum Temperature.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code; see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I.
F. 
Every public hall and stairway in every multiple dwelling containing three (3) or more dwelling units shall be adequately lighted at all times. Every public hall and stairway in structures devoted solely to dwelling occupancy and containing not more than two (2) dwelling units may be supplied with conveniently located light switches, controlling an adequate lighting system which may be turned on when needed, instead of full-time lighting.
G. 
Every basement or cellar window used or intended to be used for ventilation and every other opening to a basement which might provide an entry for rodents shall be supplied with a screen or such other device as will effectively prevent their entrance.
No person shall occupy as owner-occupant or let to another for occupancy any dwelling or dwelling unit, for the purpose of living therein, which does not comply with the following requirements:
A. 
Every foundation, floor, wall, ceiling and roof shall be reasonably weathertight, watertight and rodentproof, capable of affording privacy, and shall be kept in good repair.
B. 
Every window, exterior door and basement hatchway shall be reasonably weathertight, watertight and rodentproof and shall be kept in sound working condition and good repair.
C. 
Every inside and outside stairs, porch and appurtenances thereto shall be so constructed as to be safe to use and capable of supporting the load that normal use may cause to be placed thereon; and shall be kept in sound condition and good repair.
D. 
Every plumbing fixture and water and waste pipe shall be properly installed and maintained in good sanitary working condition, free from defects, leaks and obstructions.
E. 
Every water closet compartment floor surface and bathroom floor surface shall be constructed and maintained so as to be reasonably impervious to water and so as to permit such floor to be easily kept in a clean and sanitary condition.
F. 
Every supplied facility, piece of equipment or utility which is required under this chapter shall be so constructed or installed that it will function safely and effectively and shall be maintained in satisfactory working condition.
G. 
No owner, operator or occupant shall cause any service, facility, equipment or utility which is required under this chapter to be removed from or shut off from or discontinued for any occupied dwelling let or occupied by him, except for such temporary interruptions as may be necessary while actual repairs or alterations are in process or during temporary emergencies when discontinuance of service is approved by the Health Officer.
H. 
No owner shall occupy or let to any other occupant any vacant dwelling unit unless it is clean, sanitary and fit for human occupancy.
No person shall occupy as owner-occupant or let to another for occupancy any dwelling or dwelling unit for the purpose of living therein which does not comply with the following requirements:
A. 
Every dwelling unit shall contain at least one hundred fifty (150) square feet of floor space for the first occupant thereof and at least one hundred (100) additional square feet of floor space for every additional occupant thereof, the floor space to be calculated on the basis of total habitable room area; provided, however, that a one-room dwelling unit shall not be occupied by more than two (2) persons.
B. 
In every dwelling unit of two (2) or more rooms, every room occupied for sleeping purposes by one (1) occupant shall contain at least seventy (70) square feet of floor space, and every room occupied for sleeping purposes by more than one (1) occupant shall contain at least fifty (50) square feet of floor space for each occupant thereof.
C. 
No dwelling or dwelling unit containing two (2) or more sleeping rooms shall have such room arrangements that access to a bathroom or water closet compartment intended for use by occupants of more than one (1) sleeping room can be had only by going through another sleeping room; nor shall room arrangements be such that access to a sleeping room can be had only by going through another sleeping room or a bathroom or water closet compartment.
D. 
Every habitable room, except attic and basement rooms, shall have a ceiling height of at least seven and one-half (7 1/2) feet in every part. At least one-half of the floor area of every habitable attic room shall have a ceiling height of at least seven and one-half (7 1/2) feet. The floor area of that part of any room where the ceiling is less than five (5) feet shall not be considered as part of the floor area in computing the total floor area of the room for the purpose of determining the permissible occupancy thereof.
E. 
No cellar space shall be used as a habitable room or dwelling unit.
F. 
No basement space shall be used as a dwelling unit unless:
(1) 
The floor and walls are impervious to leakage of underground and surface runoff water and are insulated against dampness.
(2) 
The total of window area in each room is equal to at least the minimum window area size as required in § 275-9A.
(3) 
Such required minimum window area is located entirely above the grade of the ground adjoining such window area.
(4) 
The total of openable window area in each room is equal to at least the minimum as required under § 275-9B except where there is supplied some other device affording adequate ventilation and approved by the Health Division.
(5) 
The ceiling height shall be not less than seven (7) feet in every part used as a habitable room.
Every owner of a dwelling containing more than two (2) dwelling units shall be responsible for maintaining in a clean and sanitary condition the shared or public areas of the dwelling and premises thereof.
It shall be the duty and responsibility of every occupant of a dwelling or dwelling unit to:
A. 
Keep in a clean and sanitary condition that part of the dwelling, dwelling unit and premises thereof which he occupies and controls.
B. 
Dispose of all his rubbish in a clean and sanitary manner by placing it in the rubbish containers required by § 275-8E.
C. 
Dispose of all his garbage and any other organic waste which might provide food for rodents in a clean and sanitary manner by placing it in the garbage disposal facilities or garbage storage containers required by § 275-8F. It shall be the responsibility of the owner to supply such facilities or containers for all dwelling units in a dwelling containing more than two (2) dwelling units and for all dwelling units located on premises where more than two (2) dwelling units share the same premises. In all other cases, it shall be the responsibility of the occupant to furnish such facilities or containers.
D. 
Be responsible for the extermination of any insects, rodents or other pests in or on the dwelling premises, if he occupies a dwelling containing only one (1) dwelling unit, and to be responsible for such extermination if he occupies a dwelling unit in a multiple dwelling and his is the only dwelling unit infected. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this subsection, whenever infestation is caused by failure of the owner to maintain a dwelling in a rodentproof or reasonably insectproof condition, extermination shall be the responsibility of the owner. Whenever infestation exists in two (2) or more of the dwelling units in any dwelling or in the shared or public parts of a dwelling containing two (2) or more dwelling units, extermination thereof shall be the responsibility of the owner.
E. 
Keep all plumbing fixtures in the dwelling unit he occupies in a clean and sanitary condition, and to be responsible for the exercise of reasonable care in the proper use of and operation thereof.
No person shall operate a rooming house or shall occupy or let to another for occupancy any rooming unit in any rooming house, except in compliance with the provisions of every section of this chapter, except the provisions of §§ 275-8, 275-12 and 275-13 hereof.
A. 
At least one (1) flush water closet, lavatory basin and bathtub or shower properly connected to the city water and sewer system approved by the Health Division and in good working condition shall be supplied for each eight (8) persons or fraction thereof residing within a rooming house, including members of the operator's family wherever they share the use of said facilities. In a rooming house where rooms are let only to males, flush urinals may be substituted for not more than one-half (1/2) the required number of water closets. 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. Every lavatory basin and bathtub or shower shall be supplied with hot water at all times. No such facilities shall be located in a basement.
B. 
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 maintenance of all supplied bedding in a clean and sanitary manner.
C. 
Every room occupied for sleeping purposes by one (1) person shall contain at least seventy (70) square feet of floor space, and every room occupied for sleeping purposes by more than one (1) person shall contain at least fifty (50) square feet of floor space for each occupant thereof. At least one-half (1/2) of the floor area of every habitable room shall have a ceiling height of at least seven and one-half (7 1/2) feet, and the floor area of that part of any room where the ceiling height is less than five (5) feet shall not be considered as part of the floor area in computing the total floor area of the room for the purpose of determining the maximum permissible occupancy thereof.
D. 
Every rooming unit shall have safe, unobstructed means of egress leading to a safe and open space at ground level, as required by the laws of the state and the ordinances of the city, including, but not by way of limitation, the fire prevention code and building code of the city.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 215, Fire Safety, and Ch. 183, Construction Codes, Uniform.
E. 
The operator of every rooming house shall be responsible for the sanitary maintenance of all walls, floors and ceilings and for maintenance of a sanitary condition in every part of the rooming house. He shall be further responsible for the sanitary maintenance of the entire premises where the entire structure is leased or occupied by the operator.
F. 
Every provision of this chapter which applies to rooming houses shall also apply to hotels, except to the extent that any such provision may be in conflict with the laws of the State of New Jersey or with the lawful regulations of any state board or agency.
G. 
No rooming unit or rental space in a rooming house shall be used for cooking facilities, provided that incidental cooking facilities, as defined in § 275-2, shall be permitted where the following requirements are met:
(1) 
The size of the room shall be one hundred fifty (150) square feet for one (1) person and fifty (50) square feet for each additional person.
(2) 
The room shall contain a refrigerator and a sink with hot and cold running water. The sink should be in the room and not in a common hallway.
(3) 
There shall be adequate ventilation over the cooking area.
(4) 
There shall be a water-repellent flooring surface.
(5) 
The single plate or burner is not in excess of eight (8) inches.
H. 
Cooking facilities serving more than one (1) dwelling or rooming unit or combination thereof shall not be permitted except that nothing herein shall be construed to prohibit operators of hotels and boardinghouses serving food to lodgers, nursing homes or other similar establishments of a similar nature, subject to licensing provisions by the State of New Jersey.
Any person who violates any provision of this chapter or any provision of any rule or regulation adopted by the Health Division pursuant to authority granted by this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000.), by imprisonment for a term not exceeding ninety (90) days or by a period of community service for not a term not exceeding ninety (90) days, or any combination thereof. A separate offense shall be deemed committed on each day during or on which a violation occurs or continues.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code; see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I.