Town of Elsmere, DE
New Castle County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Town of Elsmere 12-9-1993 by Ord. No. 302; amended in its entirety 10-10-2013 by Ord. No. 571. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
For the purposes of this chapter, and not for the purpose of altering or amending any provisions in the Residential Landlord-Tenant Code in Chapters 51, 53, 55, 57, and 59 of Title 25 of the Delaware Code, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
APARTMENT HOUSES
All structures that include more than two dwelling units (as described herein).
COMMERCIAL RENTAL UNIT
Any building, store, storefront, garage, warehouse or other structure that is owned by someone other than the person(s) who occupy or are using the building or which is assessed as a commercial property for the purpose of tax collection by the Town of Elsmere and is occupied or operated by someone other than the owner.
A. 
A family dwelling unit intended for living purposes, providing private entrance and independent permanent facilities for sleeping, eating, cooking and sanitation. Dwelling units may share common heat, ventilation and air-conditioning units, as provided, or may be individually equipped.
B. 
In the case of structures where rooms are rented on a daily, weekly or other basis, primarily for housing individuals and without private entrances to the structure or the independent permanent facilities described in Subsection A of this definition not shared with other inhabitants of the structure, each such room rented shall be considered a separate dwelling unit.
EXTERMINATION
The inspection of the rental unit by a pest control company licensed in the State of Delaware and the Town of Elsmere for the purpose of identifying the presence of bed bugs, roaches, ants, other insects and rodents and a certification by that company that these insects, bugs or rodents are not present in the unit or that the unit has been properly treated to exterminate the presence of any of these insects, bugs or rodents.
FAMILY
An individual, or two or more persons related by blood, marriage or law. Nothing herein shall interfere with federal, state, HUD, and fair housing provisions prohibiting discrimination in housing on prohibited bases.
[Amended 3-12-2020 by Ord. No. 648]
IMMEDIATE FAMILY
For the purpose of this chapter, spouse, mother, father, guardian, child, sister, brother, grandparent, grandchild, plus the various combinations of half, step, in-law and adopted relationships that can be derived from those named.
OCCUPANCY
The maximum number of occupants that may reside in a dwelling unit shall be as specified in the most current edition of the ICC International Property Maintenance Code, which has been adopted by the Town of Elsmere and includes any amendments made to that code by the Town.
RENTAL UNIT
Any dwelling unit which is rented, leased, let or hired or is intended, advertised or designed to be rented, leased, let or hired which is not occupied by the legal property owner or a member of the property owner's immediate family or which is occupied by anyone other than the legal property owner or a member of his or her immediate family.
Every owner (or an authorized agent) of a rental unit or a structure which is defined as a "commercial rental unit" by this chapter is required to make application for and receive an annual license for each and every rental unit or unit which is defined as a "commercial rental unit" by this chapter. The Town Manager shall develop an application for rental licenses which shall require any information which he feels is appropriate or required to enforce the provisions of this chapter as well as any other code or regulation. At a minimum, the application shall require the owner to supply the following information:
A. 
At the time of application for a rental license intended for a residential rental unit, written documentation must be supplied by the applicant for each tenant of the property denoting the following information:
(1) 
A copy of the lease or agreement between the tenant and the owner of the property or a statement that the rental unit is currently vacant.
(2) 
The number of bedrooms in the dwelling unit.
(3) 
The area (in square feet) of each dwelling unit.
(4) 
The name of any and all tenants intending or approved to occupy the unit, or a statement that the unit is vacant.
(5) 
Number of tenants per unit.
B. 
At the time of application for a rental license intended for a commercial rental unit, written documentation must be supplied by the applicant for each tenant of the property denoting the following information:
(1) 
A copy of the lease or agreement between the tenant and the owner of the property, which clearly notes the expiration of and renewal options of the lease.
(2) 
The area in square feet of the entire structure.
(3) 
The area in square feet of the space occupied by the particular tenant.
(4) 
The name of the business or person who currently occupies the structure or a statement that the structure is currently vacant.
(5) 
The type of business that is being performed on the premises.
(6) 
The State of Delaware and Town of Elsmere business license for the business or person occupying the structure.
(7) 
The total number of tenants occupying the structure.
A. 
Prior to the occupancy of a rental unit by a tenant and prior to any change in the occupancy of a rental unit by a new tenant of the rental unit who is not an immediate family member of the legal owner, a certificate of occupancy shall be required to be issued by the Code Enforcement Department.
B. 
A certificate of occupancy shall only be issued after:
(1) 
On-site inspections have been made by the Code Enforcement Officer, or authorized deputy of the Code Enforcement Officer, to ensure that said unit is in compliance with the provisions of this chapter; and
(2) 
The Code Enforcement Officer has concluded that the rental unit is in compliance with the most current edition of the ICC International Property Maintenance Code which has been adopted by the Town of Elsmere and includes any amendments made to that Code by the Town; and
(3) 
The owner has provided the Code Enforcement Officer with the following:
(a) 
Written proof that the property to be occupied has been exterminated in accordance with this chapter within a period of time not to exceed 15 days prior to the occupancy of the rental unit by its occupants. Extermination in accordance with this chapter shall be required within a period of time not to exceed 15 days prior to every change in occupancy of the rental unit; and
(b) 
A copy of the signed lease agreement; and
(c) 
A copy of a signed document stating that the owner has provided the renter with a summary document of the Delaware Landlord-Tenant Code; and
(d) 
A copy of the official vehicle registration card issued by the agency having the legal authority to issue such cards for the state in which the vehicle is registered, for each and every vehicle which is owned, leased, operated by or in the possession of the tenant and/or any other person(s) occupying the rental unit. Written on the copy of each registration card required by this section shall be the color of the vehicle.
(e) 
Persons seeking a commercial rental permit shall only be required to supply a copy of the signed lease agreement.
C. 
The cost for this inspection will be included in the rental licensee fee. Additional inspections to ensure compliance will be made at additional cost to the owner.
D. 
A record of each inspection will be kept on file at the Town Hall.
E. 
Nothing in this chapter shall preclude that other inspections may be made by the Code Official in the regular performance of his or her duties.
Annually and within 90 days after the issuance of a rental license for a unit which is vacant at the time of the issuance of the license, the owner shall schedule an inspection of the vacant unit with the Code Enforcement Officer. The purpose of the inspection shall be for the same purpose and conducted in the same manner as the inspection required by § 182-3 of this chapter.
Any inspection conducted in accordance with this chapter shall include an inspection of the following to ensure compliance with the most current edition of the ICC International Property Maintenance Code which has been adopted by the Town of Elsmere and includes any amendments made to that code by the Town:
A. 
Basements.
B. 
Common areas, such as hallways.
C. 
Individual or common equipment, such as but not limited to:
(1) 
Heating, ventilation and air-conditioning units.
(2) 
Exterior grounds.
(3) 
Exterior structures.
A. 
It shall be the responsibility of the property owner to notify the Code Enforcement Department within 72 hours when the person reported as occupying any rental unit no longer occupies the property.
B. 
Whenever a previously occupied rental unit is vacated and intended to be reoccupied by someone other than the previous tenant, it shall be the responsibility of the property owner to notify the Code Enforcement Office within 72 hours of the vacancy and provide the information required by § 182-2A(1), (4) and (5) and, in the case of a commercial rental unit, the information required by § 182-2B.
A. 
The cost of a rental license shall be as follows:
(1) 
For residential units containing two or fewer units within a structure: a fee of $200 per unit.
(2) 
For residential units with more than two units within one structure: a fee of $150 per unit.
(3) 
For commercial rental units that contain two units or fewer within one structure: a fee of $350 per unit.
(4) 
For commercial rental units that contain more than two units within one structure: a fee of $250 per unit.
B. 
These fees are also subject to the following:
(1) 
Each license is valid for one year. No fees will be prorated. Annual renewal forms will be mailed by the Town.
(2) 
License fees are payable upon receipt and are due no later than October 31.
(3) 
A charge of $50 will be assessed for compliance inspections, if required, beyond the initial inspection mandated and included in the license fee. This fee shall not be assessed if the additional inspection is required due to a change in the occupants and no additional inspections are required.
(4) 
It shall be the sole responsibility of the owner(s) to provide shelter and pay expenses of relocation for persons required to vacate the owner's rental property as a result of an order condemning a building or structure deemed unfit for human habitation.
(5) 
The owner(s) who fails to provide the shelter and relocation required by Subsection B(4) shall also reimburse the Town of Elsmere for any expenses that it incurs in connection with obtaining shelter and relocation services for persons required to vacate the owner’s property. However, nothing in this section of the Code shall require the Town of Elsmere to undertake such expenses.
[Added 4-14-2016 by Ord. No. 613]
No property required by this chapter to obtain a rental license shall be rented, leased or otherwise occupied or used by anyone other than the owner of said property if the initial length of the lease or agreement or the length of any renewal options is for a period of time which is less than 28 consecutive days.
A. 
Any person or persons who shall violate the provisions of this chapter or who shall fail to comply with a notice or order issued by the Code Official pursuant to this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be subject to a fine of not less than $300 nor more than $500 or imprisonment of not more than 30 days, or both.
B. 
Each day that each violation continues shall be deemed a further offense punishable by a further sum of $50 per day, per violation. The imposition of a penalty for any violation of this chapter shall not excuse the violation or permit it to continue.
C. 
The owner of any rental property who shall fail to register or to pay to the Town the appropriate fee(s) as determined by this chapter or fails to comply with § 182-7B of this chapter shall pay a late fee of $100 for each and every rental unit which he or she failed to register or to pay to the Town the appropriate fee(s).