Village of Suffern, NY
Rockland County
By using eCode360 you agree to be legally bound by the Terms of Use. If you do not agree to the Terms of Use, please do not use eCode360.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Suffern 11-14-1977 by L.L. No. 14-1977. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Landlord-Tenant Review Board — See Ch. 28.
Building construction and fire prevention — See Ch. 96.
Dangerous buildings — See Ch. 100.
Electrical standards — See Ch. 127.
Garbage, rubbish and refuse — See Ch. 150.
Littering — See Ch. 168.

§ 162-1 Title.

This chapter shall be known and may be cited and referred to as the "Village of Suffern Housing Local Law."

§ 162-2 Definitions and word usage.

A. 
Word usage. Words used in the present tense include the future; words used in the masculine gender include the feminine and neuter; the singular number includes the plural; and the plural number the singular. The words "dwelling," "dwelling unit" or "premises" include the words "or any part thereof."
B. 
Terms defined. Certain words or terms in this chapter are defined for the purposes hereof as follows:
APPROVED
Approved by the Housing Inspector appointed by the Mayor with the approval of the Board of Trustees to enforce the provisions of this chapter.
BASEMENT
A portion of a building located partly underground but having less than 1/2 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 but having less than 1/2 or more of its clear floor-to-ceiling height below the average grade of the adjoining ground.
DWELLING
Any building or structure or part thereof which is used or intended to be used for living or sleeping.
DWELLING UNIT
A 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 and cooking.
EXTERMINATION
The control or elimination of insects, rodents or other pests by eliminating their harborage places, by removing or making inaccessible materials that may serve to harbor pests, by blocking their access to a dwelling or by any other recognized and legal pest-elimination methods approved by a health officer of the Village of Suffern pursuant to appropriate local laws.
FIRST STORY
That story of a dwelling at or next above the average grade of the adjoining ground.
GARBAGE
The animal and/or 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.
HOUSING INSPECTOR
The Housing Inspector of the Village of Suffern appointed pursuant to this chapter.
INFESTATION
The presence within or around a dwelling or in or near waste disposal containers of any insects, rodents or other pests.
LIGHT HOUSEKEEPING
The use of a room or rooms for combined living, sleeping and dining purposes by individuals or groups of persons having part of a dwelling, such as stairs or halls, in common but living independently of each other and doing their cooking upon the premises, whether in the same or in other units, as distinguished from a dwelling unit or apartment having normal kitchen and toilet facilities.
LIGHT HOUSEKEEPING UNIT
The room or rooms occupied for light housekeeping purposes by one individual or group of persons living independently of other such individuals or groups.
OCCUPANT
Any legally responsible person who has charge, care or control of a building or part thereof in which dwelling units are leased or let.
OWNER
Any legally responsible person who, alone or jointly or severally with others:
(1) 
Has legal title to any dwelling, with or without actual possession thereof; or
(2) 
Has charge, care or control of any dwelling as owner or agent of the owner or as executor, executrix, administrator, administratrix, trustee or guardian of the owner. Any such person thus representing the owner shall be bound to comply with the provisions of this chapter to the same extent as if he were the owner.
PERSON
Includes any individual, firm, corporation, association or partnership.
PLUMBING
Water pipes, mechanical garbage-disposal units, waste pipes, water closets, sinks, installed dishwashers and clothes-washing machines, lavatories, bathtubs, shower baths, catch basins, drains, vents and other similar supplied fixtures, including all connections to water- or sewer lines.
RUBBISH, BURNABLE
Combustible waste material, except garbage, but including paper, rags, cartons and boxes, wood, excelsior, rubber, leather, tree branches and yard trimmings.
SUPPLIED
Paid for, arranged, furnished or provided by or under control of the owner or operator.

§ 162-3 Compliance required.

No person shall occupy or let to another for occupancy any dwelling for the purpose of living, sleeping, cooking or eating therein which does not comply with the requirements of this chapter.

§ 162-4 Sanitation.

A. 
Sink, flush water closet, lavatory basin and bathtub or shower in dwellings.
(1) 
Every dwelling unit shall contain:
(a) 
A kitchen sink in good working condition, properly connected to an approved water and sewer system.
(b) 
A room or rooms affording privacy and equipped with a flush water closet, lavatory basin and bathtub or shower in good working condition, properly connected to an approved water and sewer system.
(2) 
No such sanitary facilities shall be located in a basement or cellar, except by written approval of the Housing Inspector.
(3) 
No water closet shall be of the flush-hopper, frostproof-hopper, privy or similar type.
B. 
Access to bathrooms and water closets. Access to each bathroom or water-closet compartment shall be provided without requiring passage through a sleeping room, bathroom or water-closet compartment of another dwelling.
C. 
Floors and ventilation of bathrooms and water closets.
(1) 
Every water-closet compartment and bathroom shall be floored with a surface which is impervious to water and which can be easily kept in a clean and sanitary condition.
(2) 
Every bathroom and water-closet compartment shall be provided with windows meeting the requirements for light and ventilation of habitable rooms prescribed in § 162-5 or with an approved mechanical or gravity ventilation system affording adequate ventilation and maintained in good working condition at all times.
D. 
Piped hot and cold running water.
(1) 
Every kitchen sink, lavatory basin and bathtub or shower required under this chapter shall be connected to and supplied with hot and cold running water.
(2) 
Within one year after the effective date of this chapter, every dwelling shall have supplied water-heating facilities which are properly installed and connected to waterlines maintained in safe and good working condition and of sufficient capacity to supply an adequate amount of water at every required kitchen sink, lavatory basin, bathtub or shower at a temperature of not less than 120° F.

§ 162-5 Light, ventilation and heating.

A. 
Window area and ventilation.
(1) 
Every habitable room shall have at least one window which can be easily opened facing directly to outdoor open space. The minimum total window area, measured between stops, for every habitable room shall be 10% of the floor area of such room unobstructed by any portion of structure or wall less than five feet from the outside of such window.
(2) 
The total openable window area for each habitable room shall be equal to at least 45% of the required window area.
B. 
Screening.
(1) 
Every outer door, openable window or other outside opening of a dwelling shall be supplied with screen doors with self-closing devices or with screens for protection against flies, mosquitoes or other insects when required by the Housing Inspector.
(2) 
Every basement or cellar window used for ventilation and every other opening to a basement or cellar which might afford an entry for rodents shall be barred with strong screen of at least one-fourth-inch mesh or such other device as will prevent such entry, when required by the Housing Inspector.
C. 
Electrical outlets. Every habitable room shall contain at least one floor- or wall-type electric convenience outlet and one ceiling electric lighting fixture or two electric convenience outlets, and every water-closet compartment, bathroom or hall, furnace room or laundry room shall contain at least one wall- or ceiling-type electric light fixture. Every electrical outlet and fixture shall be properly installed and maintained in good and safe working condition and connected to an approved source of electric power in a safe and approved manner.
D. 
Public hall lighting. Every public hall and stairway in every multiple dwelling shall be lighted to at least one footcandle on the floor and stairs at all times.
E. 
Heating facilities. Every dwelling shall have heating facilities which are properly installed and vented and maintained in safe operating condition, and all habitable rooms, bathrooms and water-closet compartments in each dwelling unit therein shall be heated to a temperature of at least 68° F. (36° C.) at a distance of 18 inches above floor level and three feet from an outside wall.
[Amended 1-23-1978 by L.L. No. 2-1978]

§ 162-6 Floor space and cellar occupancy.

A. 
Floor space.
(1) 
Every dwelling unit shall contain at least 100 square feet of floor space for the first occupant thereof and at least 75 additional square feet of floor space for every additional occupant, in addition to the floor area included in water-closet compartments, bathrooms, halls and passageways.
(2) 
Every room occupied by one person for sleeping purposes shall contain at least 70 square feet of floor area, and every room occupied by more than one person for sleeping purposes shall contain at least 50 square feet of floor area for each person occupying said room.
[Amended 11-3-2008 by L.L. No. 17-2008; 7-11-2011 by L.L. No. 8-2011]
(3) 
Dwelling units shall not be occupied by more occupants than permitted by the following minimum area requirements:
[Added 8-24-2015 by L.L. No. 7-2015]
Space
1 to 2 Occupants
3 to 5 Occupants
(square feet)
6 or More Occupants
(square feet)
Living room
None
120
150
Dining room
None
80
100
Kitchen
50 square feet
50
60
(a) 
The minimum occupancy area required herein shall not be included as a sleeping area in determining the minimum occupancy area for sleeping purposes. All sleeping areas shall comply with Subsection A(2) above.
B. 
Access to sleeping rooms. No dwelling unit shall be so located or arranged that access thereto requires passage through a habitable room or another dwelling unit.
C. 
Ceiling height of habitable rooms. At least 1/2 of the floor area of every habitable room shall have a ceiling height of not less than 7 1/2 feet. The floor area of any part of a room where the ceiling height is less than five feet shall not be considered as part of the required floor area.
D. 
Basement or cellar occupancy. No basement space shall be used as a habitable room or dwelling unit unless:
(1) 
The floor and walls are impervious to leakage of underground and surface runoff water and are well drained and protected against dampness.
(2) 
The total window area in each room is not less than 15% of the floor area of the room as measured between stops and is entirely above the grade of the ground adjoining each window area.
(3) 
The total openable window area of each habitable room is 45% of the required window area.
(4) 
All heating equipment or other equally hazardous equipment is separated from the dwelling unit by a standard partition.
(5) 
Access can be gained to the unit without passage through a furnace room. No cellar space shall be used as a habitable room of a dwelling unit.

§ 162-7 Structural and plumbing soundness; egress.

A. 
Structural soundness.
(1) 
Members. Every foundation, door, outer wall, ceiling and roof shall be weathertight, watertight and rodentproof, shall be capable of affording privacy and shall be kept in good repair.
(2) 
Openings. Every window, exterior door and basement hatchway or stairway shall be weathertight, watertight and rodentproof and shall be kept in good working condition and repair.
(3) 
Stairs and porches. Every inside and outside stair and handrail and every porch and porch rail shall be so constructed as to safely support the maximum load that normal use may require and shall be kept in safe condition and good repair at all times. The Housing Inspector may require a handrail for each stair if deemed necessary.
B. 
Mechanical soundness of plumbing. All plumbing shall be properly installed and maintained in sanitary condition, free from defects, leaks and obstructions.
C. 
Safe egress for dwellings. Every dwelling unit shall have at least one unobstructed means of ingress and egress leading to safe open space at ground level and to a public street or alley. Where there is more than one dwelling unit on a second story or where there are more than two stories, a minimum of two approved exitways shall be provided for every occupied story above or below the first story; except, however, that a second story may be served by a single stairway if such stairway is enclosed by one-hour fire-resistant materials where such second story does not exceed 2,400 square feet in floor area and the distance from the dwelling units to the stairway is less than 50 feet.

§ 162-8 Responsibilities of owners and occupants for general cleanliness and trash disposal.

A. 
Owner and owner-occupant responsibility. Every owner or owner-occupant shall be responsible for the cleanliness of all parts of a dwelling and premises shared in common by more than one family and for provision of the following utilities and services, except where such responsibility is assumed by an operator or an occupant by agreement:
(1) 
Provision of garbage and trash disposal facilities or containers where the dwelling exceeds two units.
(2) 
Extermination of insects, rodents or other pests, except that where only one dwelling unit is infested, the occupant of such infested unit shall be responsible for its extermination unless the dwelling is not maintained in a reasonably ratproof or insectproof condition.
(3) 
Provision of all other facilities, utilities, service of conditions required by this chapter.
B. 
Occupant responsibility. Every occupant of a dwelling unit shall be responsible for keeping the occupied area and premises and all plumbing equipment and facilities in a clean, safe and sanitary condition at all times. Rubbish and garbage shall be disposed of or stored in proper containers in a neat and sanitary manner unless disposed of or stored by the owner or owner-occupant as provided in Subsection A of this section.

§ 162-9 Discontinuance of services or utilities.

Upon the discontinuance of gas or electric service for cause by a public utility company or upon discontinuance of any municipal or other service for cause, the Housing Inspector shall be notified and shall thereupon take immediate steps to have the responsible person correct conditions leading to such discontinuance of services, if possible. Because such utilities and services are essential for the health, safety and welfare of the occupants of any dwelling, no dwelling may continue to be occupied after removal or discontinuance of any service, facility, equipment or utility, except for temporary interruptions during actual repair work or during temporary emergencies when discontinuance of service is approved by the Housing Inspector. This section shall not be construed to prevent the cessation or discontinuance of any such service upon order of the Housing Inspector or any other authorized official.

§ 162-10 Dangerous dwellings.

A. 
All dwellings or parts thereof which have any of the following defects shall be deemed "dangerous dwellings" and shall be condemned as unfit for human habitation:
(1) 
Those whose interior or exterior bearing walls or other vertical structural members list, lean or buckle to such an extent as to weaken the structural support they provide.
(2) 
Those which, excluding the foundation, show 33% or more of damage or deterioration of the supporting member or members or 50% or more of damage or deterioration of the nonsupporting enclosing or outside walls or covering.
(3) 
Those which have improperly distributed loads upon the floors or roofs or in which the same are overloaded or which have insufficient strength to be reasonably safe for the purpose used.
(4) 
Those which have been damaged by fire, wind or other causes so as no longer to provide shelter from the elements and which have become dangerous to the life, safety, morals or general health and welfare of the occupants or the people of the Village.
(5) 
Those which have become or are so dilapidated, decayed, unsafe, unsanitary, vermin-infested or obsolete that they are likely to cause sickness or disease or injury to the health, morals, safety or general welfare of those living therein or of the people at large.
(6) 
Those which lack light, air and sanitation facilities as required by this chapter to protect the health, morals, safety or general welfare of persons living therein.
(7) 
Those which lack the facilities required by this chapter for egress in case of fire or panic or those which have insufficient stairways, elevators, fire escapes or other means of communication required herein.
(8) 
Those having parts thereof which are so attached that they may fall and injure occupants, the public or other property.
B. 
Declaration of nuisance and orders.
(1) 
All dangerous dwellings or parts thereof, within the terms of this chapter, are hereby declared to be public nuisances and shall be vacated and repaired or demolished.
(2) 
In any case where a dangerous dwelling is 50% or more damaged or decayed or deteriorated from its original structure or where it cannot be repaired so as to comply with the terms of this chapter, it shall be ordered vacated and demolished. Dwellings ordered vacated shall be vacated in accordance with the provisions of § 162-12.

§ 162-11 Entry or inspection of dwellings.

A. 
The Housing Inspector is hereby authorized and directed to make inspections to determine the condition of dwellings, dwelling units and premises located within the Village of Suffern in order to safeguard the health and safety of the occupants of such dwellings and of the general public. For this purpose and upon showing proper identification, the Housing Inspector is authorized to enter, examine and survey at any reasonable hour all dwellings, dwelling units and premises, and the owner, occupant or the person in charge thereof shall give the Housing Inspector free access thereto for the purpose of such inspection.
B. 
Every occupant of a dwelling shall give the owner thereof or his agent or employee access to any part of such dwelling or its premises at any reasonable hour for the purpose of making any repairs or alterations which are necessary to effect compliance with the provisions of this chapter or any lawful order issued pursuant thereto.
C. 
No officer, agent or employee of the Village of Suffern shall be 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.

§ 162-12 Notice of violations; hearings; emergencies; vacation or demolition.

A. 
Notices of violation.
(1) 
Form and service of notice.
(a) 
Whenever the Housing Inspector determines that there has been a violation of any provision of this chapter, he shall give notice of such violation to the person or persons responsible therefor and order compliance with this chapter as hereinafter provided. Such notice and order shall be in writing on an appropriate form and shall include:
[1] 
A list of the violations, with reference to the section of the chapter violated, and an order as to the remedial action required to effect compliance with this chapter.
[2] 
Specification of a reasonable time for performance.
[3] 
Advice concerning the procedure for appeal.
(b) 
Such notice and order shall be served upon the owner, occupant or agent in person; provided, however, that the notice and order shall be deemed to be properly served if such owner, occupant or agent is sent a copy thereof by registered mail to his last known address and a copy is posted in a conspicuous place in or on the dwelling affected.
(2) 
Whenever the Housing Inspector determines that a dwelling is a dangerous dwelling, as defined in § 162-10, he shall:
(a) 
Affix upon the door or entrance to such dwelling a printed placard declaring that such dwelling is unfit for human habitation and is ordered vacated. No person shall deface or remove such placard from any dwelling which has been condemned as unfit for human habitation and placarded as such. The Housing Inspector shall remove the placard whenever the defect or defects upon which the condemnation and placarding were based have been eliminated.
(b) 
Serve notice, as provided herein, to the owner and occupant or lessee of any building found by him to be a dangerous dwelling within the standards set forth in § 162-10 that:
[1] 
The owner must vacate and repair or demolish said building in accordance with the terms of the notice and this chapter.
[2] 
The occupant or lessee must vacate said building or, with the consent of the owner, may order it vacated in accordance with the notice and order and remain in possession.
B. 
Hearings.
(1) 
Any person affected by a notice and order issued in connection with the enforcement of this chapter may request and shall be granted a hearing on the matter before the Housing Board of Review, provided that such person shall file in the office of the Housing Inspector a written petition requesting the hearing and setting forth his name, address, telephone number and a brief statement of the grounds for the hearing of for the mitigation of the order. Such petition shall be filed within 10 days after the date the notice and order are served. Upon receipt of the petition, the Housing Inspector shall set a time and place for a hearing before the Housing Board of Review and shall give the petitioner written notice thereof. Said hearing shall be held within a reasonable time after a petition has been filed, and the petitioner shall be given an opportunity to be heard and to show cause why the notice and order should be modified or withdrawn. The failure of the petitioner or his representative to appear and to state his case at such hearing shall have the same effect as if no petition were filed.
(2) 
After the hearing, the Housing Board of Review, by a majority vote, shall sustain, modify or withdraw the notice, depending on its findings as to whether the provisions of this chapter have been complied with, and the petitioner and the Housing Inspector shall be notified, in writing, of such findings.
(3) 
The proceedings of the hearing, including the findings and decision of the Housing Board of Review and the reasons thereof, shall be summarized in writing and entered as a matter of public record in the office of the Village Clerk. Such record shall also include a copy of every notice and order issued in connection with the case.
C. 
Orders to vacate.
(1) 
Where a notice of violation and order to comply have been served pursuant to this chapter and upon reinspection at the end of the time specified in compliance and if no petition for a hearing has been filed, if it is found that the violation or violations have not been remedied, the Housing Inspector may order the dwelling or parts thereof affected by the continued violations vacated in accordance with the following procedure:
(a) 
Dwellings shall be vacated within a reasonable time, not to exceed 60 days.
(b) 
Vacated dwellings shall have all outer doors firmly locked and basement, cellar and first-story windows barred or boarded to prevent entry.
(c) 
Vacated dwellings shall not again be used for human habitation until written approval is secured from the Housing Inspector.
(2) 
If a dwelling or part thereof is not vacated within the time specified in the order of vacation, the Housing Inspector shall seek a court order in a court of competent jurisdiction for the vacation of such dwelling or part thereof.
D. 
Emergency order. Whenever the Housing Inspector finds that an emergency exists which requires immediate action to protect the health and safety of the residents or of the public, he may issue an order so stating, and, notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, such order shall take effect and shall be complied with immediately. Upon petition to the Housing Board of Review, the petitioner shall be afforded a hearing pursuant to Subsection B of this section.
E. 
Vacation and demolition.
(1) 
If the owner, occupant or lessee fails to comply with the order of the Housing Inspector or the action of the Housing Board of Review after hearing, the Housing Inspector shall cause such dwelling or part thereof to be vacated and repaired or demolished as the facts may warrant and shall, with the assistance of the Village Attorney, cause the costs of such repair or demolition to be charged against the land on which the building existed as a lien on the property, said charge to be included on the real property tax or to be recovered in a suit of law against the owners.
(2) 
In cases where it reasonably appears that there is immediate danger to the life or safety of any person unless a dangerous dwelling, as defined herein, is immediately vacated and repaired or demolished, the Housing Inspector shall cause its immediate vacation and repair or demolition. The costs of such emergency repair or demolition shall be collected in the same manner as provided in Subsection E(1) of this section.

§ 162-13 Housing Board of Review.

A. 
A Housing Board of Review is hereby created to conduct the hearings authorized by this chapter. Such Housing Board shall consist of five members to be appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the Board of Trustees for overlapping terms of three years each, except that the members of the first Board shall be appointed two for one year, two for two years and one for three years, respectively. Each member of the Board shall serve until a successor is appointed. All members of the Board shall be citizens of the United States and residents of the Village of Suffern.
B. 
The Housing Board of Review shall:
(1) 
Adopt rules of procedure not inconsistent with this chapter, elect its own officers and keep a record of all proceedings, including the vote of each member on each case heard. No member of the Board shall take part in any hearing or determination in which he has, directly or indirectly, any personal or financial interest. Three members of the Board in attendance at any meeting shall constitute a quorum.
(2) 
Interpret the intent of this chapter in specific cases where, upon appeal, it clearly appears that, by reason of special conditions, undue hardship would result from the literal application of any section of this chapter. Where such undue hardship is clearly demonstrated, the Board may permit a variance from the applicable section, provided that the dwelling will vary only a reasonable minimum from the literal provision of this chapter and will comply generally with the spirit and intent of the regulations as to sanitation, safety and rehabilitation. Any such variance shall be permitted only by the concurring vote of at least three members of the Board.

§ 162-14 Identification and notification of owners of rental units.

[Added 11-13-1978 by L.L. No. 10-1978; amended 9-21-1992 by L.L. No. 7-1992]
A. 
Identification of owners of rental units. The owner of any dwelling which contains three or more rental dwelling units shall file with the Village Clerk before January 1 of each year a statement identifying the owner and superintendent or agent, if any, of each dwelling, the address and telephone number of each and whether the owner resides on the premises on a permanent basis. This information shall be conspicuously posted in the lobby or entrance area of each such dwelling. In addition, the owner must furnish to the Village Clerk before January 1 of each year a telephone number at which the owner or an agent may be reached 24 hours per day.
B. 
Notification to owner. Whenever the Police Department, Fire Department, ambulance service or other emergency service is required to respond to property described in § 162-14A of this chapter, the Police Department shall notify the owner by telephone of such incidents as soon as is practicable, at the telephone number provided by the owner pursuant to § 162-14A of this chapter. The Police Department shall subsequently provide written notification to the owner of the incident at the address specified pursuant to § 162-14A of this chapter. The provisions of this subsection are not intended to create a duty on the part of the Village to any property owner, tenant or resident.

§ 162-15 Interpretation.

The provision of this chapter shall be held to be the minimum requirements to protect the health, safety, morals and welfare of the people of the Village, and where this chapter imposes greater requirements than imposed by other provisions of law or ordinance, the provisions of this chapter shall control.

§ 162-16 Penalties for offenses.

[Amended 3-12-1990 by L.L. No. 3-1990; 1-8-2007 by L.L. No. 1-2007]
A. 
Any person failing to comply with a lawful order pursuant to this chapter or committing an offense against any provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of a violation punishable by a fine not exceeding $5,000, or by community service in an amount deemed appropriate by the court, or by imprisonment for a term not exceeding 15 days, or by any combination of the same.
B. 
The continuation of an offense against the provisions of this chapter shall constitute, for each week the offense is continued, a separate and distinct offense hereunder.