[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Council of the Town of Rocky Hill 4-4-1977 by Ord. No. 60-77. Amendments noted where applicable.]
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 regulate multiple 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 multiple dwellings now in existence or hereafter constructed within this municipality.
It is hereby further declared that for all of said 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 the use and location and amount of space for human occupancy; and establish minimum standards for safe and sanitary maintenance. In addition, this chapter will determine the responsibilities of owners, operators and occupants of dwellings, and it will provide for the administration and enforcement of all of the aforesaid standards and responsibilities.
The provisions of this chapter shall apply to all multiple dwellings containing three or more dwelling units used for human habitation, which are now or may become in the future substandard with respect to structure, protection against fire hazard, equipment or maintenance, inadequate provisions for light and air, lack of proper heating, unsanitary conditions and overcrowding, or otherwise may be deemed to constitute a menace to the safety, health or welfare of their occupants.
Any alterations to buildings or changes of use therein which may be caused directly or indirectly by the enforcement of this chapter shall be done in accordance with applicable sections of the Building Code, Fire Safety Code or the Public Health Code of the State of Connecticut.
Except where obvious hazards to life, sanitation or adjoining properties are involved, nothing in this chapter shall require changes in any buildings which were built in full compliance with applicable codes in force at the time of their construction or alteration, provided that such buildings have been properly maintained and used only for such use as originally permitted.
This chapter establishes minimum requirements for the initial and continued occupancy of all multifamily buildings used for human habitation and does not replace or modify requirements otherwise established for the construction, repair, alteration or use of buildings, equipment or facilities, except that the Building Official shall have the authority to require safe exits in accordance with Article 8 of the State Basic Building Code or such other codes of the municipality as may be applicable.
[Amended 1-6-1992 by Ord. No. 171-92]
Except as may otherwise be provided by statute or local law or ordinance, no officer, agent or employee of the municipality charged with the enforcement of this chapter shall render himself personally liable for any damage that may accrue to persons or property as a result of any act required or permitted in the discharge of his duties under this chapter, but shall be defended by legal representative of the municipality until the final determination of the proceedings.
[Amended 1-6-1992 by Ord. No. 171-92]
Inspection of the premises and the issuing of orders in connection therewith under the provision of this chapter shall be the exclusive responsibility of the Division of Building Inspection of the municipality. Wherever, in the opinion of the Building Official, it is necessary or desirable to have inspections of any condition by any other department, he shall arrange for this to be done in such a manner that the owners or occupants of buildings shall not be subjected to visits by numerous inspectors nor to multiple or conflicting orders. No order for correction of any violation under this chapter shall be issued without the approval of the Building Official, and it shall be the responsibility of that official before issuing any such order, to determine that it has the concurrence of any other department or official of the government concerned with any matter involved in the case in question.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- As applied to material, device or method of construction, shall mean approved by the Building Official or his designee under the provisions of this chapter.
- A portion of the building partly underground, but having less than half of its clear height below the average grade plan adjoining the building.
- BUILDING CODE
- The State of Connecticut Basic Building Code and other reference codes applicable thereto, latest edition, and any amendments thereto.
- BUILDING INSPECTOR
- The officer appointed by the Town Manager pursuant to Connecticut
General Statutes, § 29-260(a), and the Rocky Hill Town Charter,
also known as the "Building Official."[Added 1-6-1992 by Ord. No. 171-92]
- The portion of the building partly underground having half or more than half of its clear height below the grade plan adjoining the building.
- COMMON HALLWAY OR CORRIDOR
- A common corridor or space separately enclosed which provides common access to a required exitway or exitway discharge for more than one tenant.
- DWELLING UNIT
- One or more rooms arranged for the use of one or more individuals living together as a single housekeeping unit with cooking, living, sanitary and sleeping facilities.
- ENFORCEMENT OFFICER
- The Building Inspector of the Town of Rocky Hill or his authorized representative or his designee herein or otherwise charged with the responsibilities of administering this chapter.
- In existence before the time that this chapter becomes effective.
- That portion of a means of egress which is separated from all other parts of the building by construction which affords a protected way of travel to the exitway discharge.
- EXITWAY DISCHARGE
- That portion of a means of egress between the termination of an exitway and a public space.
- EXTERIOR DOOR
- A door opening directly to the exterior, to a horizontal exit, to an exit stairway or to a similar place of safety.
- MULTIPLE DWELLING UNIT
- Any dwelling containing three or more dwelling units.
- Any person, including the owner or operator, living and sleeping in a dwelling unit.
- Any person who is in charge, care or has control of a multifamily dwelling in which dwelling or rooming units are let or offered for occupancy.
- Any person who, alone or jointly or severally with others:
- A. Shall have legal title to any dwelling, premises or dwelling unit, with or without accompanying actual possession thereof, or
- B. Shall have charge, care or control of any 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.
- Bathtubs, shower baths, lavatories, water heating facilities, water pipes, gas pipes, garbage disposal units, installed clothes-washing machines or similar equipment, catch basins, drains, vents or other supplied fixtures with all connections to water, gas, sewer or vent lines.
- A lot, plot or parcel of land, including all buildings and structures thereon.
- The replacement of existing work with equivalent materials for the purpose of its maintenance, but not including any addition, change or modification in construction, exit facilities or permanent fixtures or equipment.
- Required by some provision of this chapter.
- SPRINKLER SYSTEM
- Equipped with an approved automatic sprinkler system which has been approved by the Fire Marshal of the municipality.
- One or more flights of stairs and the necessary landings and platforms connecting them to form a continuous and uninterrupted passage from one floor to another. A flight of stairs for the purpose of this chapter must have at least two risers.
The enforcement officer is hereby authorized to make inspections, by and with authorization of the owner, occupant or person in charge, to determine the condition of multiple dwelling units within this Town of Rocky Hill for the purpose of determining compliance with the provisions of this chapter. For the purpose of making such inspections, the enforcement officer, with authorization of the owner, occupant or person in charge, is hereby empowered to enter, examine and survey all multiple dwelling units 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 enforcement officer and the owner, the occupant or the person in charge of any multiple dwelling unit. Such inspection, examination or survey shall not have for its purpose the harassment of such owner or occupant. Such inspection, examination and 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 enforcement 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 practical, the enforcement 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 multiple dwelling unit, or the person in charge thereof, upon presentation by the enforcement officer of proper identification and authorization, shall give the enforcement officer entry to the dwelling or dwelling unit and free access to every part thereof, provided that no inspection shall be conducted except during the hours designated above. The enforcement officer shall be properly authorized for entry into any multiple dwelling unit when:
In his judgment, an emergency tending to create an imminent danger to the public health, welfare or safety exists; or
Such entry by the enforcement officer is requested or agreed to by the owner, occupant or person in charge of the dwelling, dwelling unit, rooming unit or premises; or
The enforcement officer presents a duly granted authorization issued by a court of competent jurisdiction 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 multiple dwelling unit refusing to permit or impeding entry of and free access to any part of any dwelling or dwelling unit for the purpose of inspection, examination or survey under the provisions of this subsection shall be subject to the penalties in accordance with § 176-19 herein.
Evidence which may be discovered or obtained in the course of an inspection made pursuant to this section shall not be disclosed except as may be necessary by law or advisable in the judgment of the enforcement officer for the proper and effective administration and enforcement of the provisions of this chapter and rules and regulations issued pursuant thereto and any prosecution of violators of this chapter.
Every owner or operator of a rooming house or a building containing three or more rental dwelling units 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 enforcement officer 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 adopted pursuant thereto.
No owner or operator shall let to another person any dwelling unit located within a building containing three or more rental units until the dwelling unit to be let has been inspected and/or approved by the enforcement officer and a new certificate of compliance has been issued by him, provided that this section shall not apply to hotels and motels. If inspection and/or approval is not made and/or granted within five working days of notification by the owner thereof that a unit is to be relet, the approval of the enforcement officer shall be deemed to have been given.
It shall be the duty of an owner of a building containing three or more rental units to post in a conspicuous place within the common area of such building a notice of the existence of this chapter and including such other information about the chapter which the enforcement officer may determine to be appropriate. Such notices shall be provided by the enforcement officer upon request.
It shall also be the duty of an owner of a building containing three or more rental units to notify the enforcement officer when any apartment unit is vacant or becoming vacant so that an inspection can be made by the enforcement officer prior to occupancy of a rental unit to ensure that said living unit is in compliance with this chapter.
No person shall occupy as owner-occupant or let to another for occupancy any multiple dwelling unit or portion thereof for the purpose of living therein which does not comply with the following:
Every exterior wall shall be free of holes, breaks, loose or rotting boards, timbers or loose brick or masonry and any other conditions which might admit rain or dampness to the interior portions of the occupied spaces of the building.
Stairs, porches, balconies and railings. Stairs and other exit facilities shall be adequate for safety as provided in Article 8 of the Basic Building Code and Fire Safety Code. Every outside stair, every porch and every appurtenance attached thereto shall be so constructed as to be safe to use and capable of supporting the loads to which it is subject, as required by the Building Code, and shall be kept in sound condition and good repair.
[Amended 1-6-1992 by Ord. No. 171-92]
Handrails. Where the Building Official deems it necessary for safety, every flight of stairs which is more than two risers high shall have handrails which shall be located as required by the Building Code, and every porch which is more than two risers high shall have guardrails so located and of such design as required by the Building Code. Every guardrail and balustrade shall be firmly fastened and shall be maintained in good condition.
Exterior doors. Every exterior door, when closed, shall fit reasonably well within its frame. Every exterior door, door hinge and door latch shall be maintained in good condition. Every door available as an exit shall be capable of being opened from the inside, easily and without the use of a key.
No person shall occupy as owner-occupant or let to another for occupancy any multiple dwelling unit or portion thereof for the purpose of living therein which does not comply with the following: Every multiple dwelling unit, rooming unit, cellar, basement and crawl space shall be maintained reasonably free from dampness to prevent conditions conducive to decay or deterioration of the structure as required by the Building Code.
Interior stairs and railings. Stairs shall be provided in every multiple dwelling unit and rooming unit as required by the Building Code. All interior stairs of multiple dwelling units used for human habitation shall be maintained in sound condition and good repair by replacing treads and risers that evidence excessive wear or are broken, warped or loose. Every inside stair shall be so constructed and maintained as to be safe to use and capable of supporting a load, as required by the provisions of the Building Code. Every interior stairway shall be properly lighted to assure safety upon ascending or descending. Emergency lighting shall be installed to assure safe passage when the electrical power fails.
Handrails. Every stairwell and every flight of stairs which is two risers high shall have handrails or railings located in accordance with the provisions of the Building Code. Every handrail shall be firmly fastened and must be maintained in good condition. Properly balustrated railings capable of bearing normally imposed loads as required by the Building Code shall be placed on the open portions of stairs, balconies, landings and stairwells.
Every multiple dwelling unit shall contain within its walls a room or rooms separate from the habitable rooms which affords privacy and which is equipped with a water closet, properly vented in accordance with the National Plumbing Code.
Every multiple dwelling unit shall contain a lavatory or lavatories which, when a closet is required, shall be in the same room with said water closet and properly vented in accordance with the National Plumbing Code.
Every multiple dwelling unit shall contain a room which affords privacy to a person in said room and which is equipped with a bathtub or shower properly vented in accordance with the National Plumbing Code.
Every multiple dwelling unit shall contain a kitchen sink apart from the lavatory, properly vented in accordance with the National Plumbing Code. Every kitchen in which there is a dishwasher installed must be properly air-gapped in accordance with the National Plumbing Code. All garbage disposals must be wired in accordance with the National Electrical Code. All plumbing fixtures must be properly connected to either a public water and sewer system or to an approved private water and sewer system. All sinks, lavatories, bathtubs and showers shall be supplied with hot and cold running water.
Every multiple dwelling unit shall be supplied with water heating facilities which are installed in an approved manner, properly maintained and properly connected with hot-water lines to fixtures required to be supplied with hot water. Water heating facilities shall be capable of heating water to be drawn at every required kitchen sink, lavatory, basin, bathtub, shower and laundry facility or other similar units at a temperature of not less than 130º F. at any time needed. All water heating facilities shall be equipped with relief valves with the proper rating to prevent heater explosion.
All plumbing systems used for human habitation, every plumbing stack, waste and sewer line shall be so installed and maintained as to function properly and shall be kept free from obstructions, leaks and defects to prevent structural deterioration or health hazards. All repairs and installations shall be made in accordance with the provisions of the Building Code.
Every multiple dwelling unit shall have heating facilities and the owner of the heating facilities shall be required to see that they are properly installed, safely maintained and in good working condition and that they are capable of safely and adequately heating all habitable rooms, bathrooms and toilet rooms located therein to a temperature of at least an average of 68º F. with an outside temperature of -10º F.
All required equipment and all building space and parts in every multiple dwelling unit shall be constructed and maintained so as to properly and safely perform their intended function in accordance with the provisions of the Building Code.
Every space-heating, cooking and water-heating device located in a multiple dwelling unit shall be properly installed, connected and maintained and shall be capable of performing the function for which it was designed and shall have relief valves to relieve the pressure temperature to prevent an explosion.
Every laundry, furnace room and all similar nonhabitable work spaces and storage spaces in every multiple dwelling unit shall have at least one supplied electric light fixture available at all times.
Every public hall or corridor and every stairway in every multiple dwelling unit shall be adequately lighted at all times with an illumination of at least five lumens per square foot in the darkest portion of the normally traveled stairs and passageways. All required means of egress shall be indicated with approved signs reading EXIT in plainly legible letters at least six inches high on an approved contrasting distinguishable background; illuminated by a reliable light source giving a value of not less than five footcandles on the illuminated surface; visible from the exitway access; and, when necessary, supplemented by directional signs in the access corridors and hallways indicating the direction and way of egress.
All exit signs shall be generally located at exitway doors or exitway access areas so as to be readily visible and not subject to obliteration by smoke. They shall be illuminated at all times when the building is occupied from an independently controlled electric circuit or other source of power.
Every habitable room of a multiple dwelling unit shall contain at least two separate and remote outlets. In kitchens, three separate and remote wall-type electric convenience outlets shall be provided and one ceiling or wall-type electric light fixture shall be provided. In addition to the electric light fixture in every bathroom and laundry room, there shall be provided at least one electric outlet.
All fire-fighting and fire-extinguishing service equipment and appliances, including valves, hose, tools and accessories, shall be maintained readily available and in good working order at all times for immediate use of the occupants of the building and the Division of Building and Division of Fire.
[Amended 1-6-1992 by Ord. No. 171-92]
The owner of every building and structure shall be responsible for the care and maintenance of all fire-extinguishing equipment and devices to ensure the safety and welfare of the occupants. When any required automatic extinguishing equipment or fire alarm system becomes inoperative, the owner or his designated representative in charge shall immediately advise the Fire Chief or Fire Marshal and shall diligently prosecute the restoration of protection, completing repairs within 24 hours unless extended, in writing, by the Building Official and/or Fire Marshal or their designee. In the case of an intentional interruption for repairs or other necessary reasons, the owner or his designated representative in charge shall notify the Building Official, Fire Marshal and Fire Chief, in advance of the interruption, stating the reasons therefor.
When the fire alarm system becomes inoperative and immediate restoration is not possible, the owner or his designated representative in charge shall notify all occupants and shall take immediate steps, as noted above, to restore proper working conditions, completing repairs within 24 hours unless extended, in writing, by the Building Official and/or Fire Marshal or their designee. While out of order, all fire alarm stations shall be clearly tagged to indicate the system is not working.
Inspections and field tests of fire-extinguishing equipment shall be made by the owner or his authorized representative or insurance organization, and a record shall be kept of all inspections and tests made by them. Such records shall be made available by the owner or operator to the enforcement officer for inspection.
A sprinkler wrench and not fewer than six spare sprinkler heads shall be available on the premises in a readily accessible and plainly identified place to replace fused or damaged equipment.
All hand-operated auxiliary fire-extinguishing equipment shall be of an approved type suitable to the use of the building and shall be installed in corridors or other locations, visible and readily accessible to the occupants of the building. All such extinguishing equipment must be inspected at least once a year and tagged, bearing the date of inspection.
Every owner of any multiple dwelling unit shall be required to install smoke detectors upon the renewal of a lease to a new tenant; such detectors shall be approved by the Fire Marshal as to the number, type and location.
Every multiple dwelling unit shall be supplied with approved containers and covers for the storage of rubbish, and the owner, operator or agent in control of such multiple dwelling unit shall be responsible for the removal of such rubbish. Every multiple-dwelling unit shall be supplied with an approved garbage disposal facility to be accessible to the occupants of the dwelling.
Whenever the Building Official determines that there has been or is a violation or that there are reasons to believe that there has been or that there is a violation of any provision of this chapter, he shall give notice of such violation or alleged violation to the person or persons responsible thereto. Such notice shall:
[Amended 1-6-1992 by Ord. No. 171-92]
Any person, firm, corporation, association or partnership who shall violate any provision of this chapter or who shall willfully refuse or fail to obey an order of the enforcement officer or comply with this chapter shall, upon conviction, be punished as provided in § 29-394 of the Connecticut General Statutes.
Any person aggrieved by a notice of violation addressed to such person by the enforcement 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 Building Board of Appeals, provided that such person shall file in the office of the Building 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 enforcement officer was given to such person. Within 10 days of the receipt of such petition, the Building 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 reasonable time after the receipt of the petition by the Building Board of Appeals.
After the conclusion of the hearing, a majority of the Building 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 Building Board of Appeals, no harm to the public health, welfare and safety will result from such variance.
The Building 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 Town Clerk.
Any person aggrieved by the final decision of the Building Board of Appeals may appeal to any court of competent jurisdiction, as provided by the laws of this state.