Worcester County, MD
 
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of County Commissioners of Worcester County 1-17-1989 as Bill No. 88-20. Amendments noted where applicable.]

§ BR 3-101 General provisions.

(a) 
Short title. This Subtitle shall be known and may be cited as the "Worcester County Rental Housing Code." It is the purpose of this Subtitle to establish minimum housing and maintenance standards for residential rental properties in the unincorporated areas of Worcester County. The standards set forth herein may be referred to as "this code."
(b) 
Purpose. The purpose of this code is intended to provide for public safety, health and welfare in residential rental structures and on residential rental premises as herein provided by:
(1) 
Establishing minimum housing maintenance standards for residential rental structures and premises for basic equipment and facilities used for light, ventilation, heat and sanitation; for safety from fire; for adequate living space; and for safe and sanitary maintenance of structures and premises.
(2) 
Fixing the responsibilities of owners, operators and occupants for these structures.
(c) 
Applicability.
(1) 
The provisions of this code are remedial and shall apply to the alteration, repair, equipment, use and occupancy, structural condition, removal and demolition of every structure intended or used as a rental dwelling unit and to any appurtenances connected or attached to such structures. This code shall apply to such structures and appurtenances irrespective of their date of construction, alteration, repair or installation.
(2) 
The provisions of this code shall be applicable to the unincorporated areas of Worcester County.

§ BR 3-102 Definitions.

For the purpose of this code and unless otherwise expressly stated, the following words, phrases and their derivatives shall have the meanings set forth in this section. Where terms are not defined under the provisions of this code or under the provisions of a building, fire, safety, health, plumbing or electrical code or ordinance enforceable in the State of Maryland, such terms shall have ascribed to them their ordinarily accepted meanings in the context utilized.
ALTERATION
Any change or modification in construction or occupancy.
APPROVED
Accepted by the code official or otherwise approved by an authority designated by law to give approval.
BASEMENT
A portion of a building located partially or wholly underground
BUILDING
Any structure used for support shelter or enclosure of persons living therein. The term "building" shall include any part thereof.
CODE OFFICIAL
The official or department charged with the administration and enforcement of this code by the County Commissioners of Worcester County.
COMMUNITY
Any municipality or county in the State of Maryland.
CONDEMN
To adjudge unfit for residential use or human occupancy.
CONDEMNATION
The notification of the violations which result in the condemnation of the building.
DWELLING
When used in this code without other qualifications, any structure occupied for residential rental purposes.
DWELLING UNIT
Any room or group of rooms forming a single habitable unit with facilities which are used or intended to be used for living, sleeping, eating and cooking.
EGRESS
An exit or a place or a means to leave a dwelling unit by continuous unobstructed travel.
EXTERIOR PROPERTY AREAS
The open space on the premises and on adjoining property under the control of owners or operators of such premises.
EXTERIOR WALL
A wall, bearing or nonbearing, which is used as an enclosing wall for a building.
EXTERMINATION
The control and elimination of insects, rats or other pests by eliminating their harborage place; by removing or making inaccessible materials that may serve as their food; by poison spraying, fumigating or trapping; or by any other locally approved pest elimination methods.
FLOOR AREA
The measurable area included within surrounding walls of a building.
FOUNDATION WALL
A wall below the first floor extending below the adjacent ground level and serving as support for a wall, pier, column or other structural part of a building.
GARBAGE
The waste resulting from the handling, preparation, cooking and consumption of food.
HABITABLE ROOM
A room occupied by one or more persons for living, eating or sleeping purposes. It does not include toilets, laundries, storage areas, closets, corridors or spaces that are not used or of apparent design not to be used frequently or during extended periods.
HOUSING SITE
The lot of land upon which a dwelling or dwelling unit is located.
INFESTATION
The presence, within or contiguous to a structure or premises, of insects, rats, vermin or other pests.
JUNK VEHICLE OR VESSEL
Any vehicle which is without a currently valid license plate or plates or any vessel which is without a valid certificate of number or valid use sticker and is in either a rusted, wrecked, discharged, dismantled, partly dismantled, inoperative or abandoned condition. A "junk vehicle or vessel" shall be classified as to its condition as either a restorable junk vehicle or vessel or a wreck junk vehicle or vessel: a restorable junk vehicle or vessel is one that is in a condition whereby repairs to the same could be made to place it in operating condition without exceeding the estimated value when repaired; a wreck junk vehicle or vessel is one that is in such condition that it is economically unsound to restore the same to operating condition considering the repairs to be made, age of the vehicle or vessel or market value of the vehicle or vessel if it were restored or in such condition that the public officer determines that it warrants such classification.
[Amended 11-17-1998 by Bill No. 98-20]
MULTI-FAMILY
Any dwelling containing two or more dwelling units, including, without limitation, townhouses.
OCCUPANT
Any person living and sleeping in a dwelling unit or having actual possession of said dwelling or rooming unit.
OPENABLE WINDOW AREA
That part of a window or door which is available for unobstructed ventilation and which opens directly to the outdoors.
ORDINARY MINIMUM WINTER CONDITIONS
The temperature at or above the published outdoor design temperature for the locality.
OWNER
Any person, firm, corporation or partnership, including a duly authorized agent or attorney or a purchaser having a legal or fiduciary interest in the property in question.
PERSON
A natural person, his heirs, executors, administrators or assigns and also includes a firm, partnership or corporation, its or their successors or assigns or the agent of any of the aforesaid.
PLUMBING
The practice, materials and fixtures used in the installation, maintenance, extension and alterations of all piping fixtures, appliances and appurtenances.
PLUMBING FIXTURE
A receptacle or device which is either permanently or temporarily connected to the water distribution system of the premises and demands a supply of water therefrom or discharges used water, liquid-borne waste materials or sewage either directly or indirectly to that drainage system of the premises or which requires both a water supply connection and a discharge to the drainage system of the premises.
PREMISES
A lot, plot or parcel of land, including the structures, dwellings and dwelling units thereon.
REMEDIAL
Affording a remedy.
REPAIR
The replacement of existing work for the purpose of its maintenance.
REQUIRED
Mandatory provisions of this code.
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 materials, paper, rags, cartons, boxes, wood, excelsior, rubber, leather, tree branches, yard trimmings, tin cans, metals, mineral matter, glass, crockery and dust and other similar materials.
STRUCTURE
Anything which is built or constructed and which is fastened, anchored or rests upon the ground.
VENTILATION
The supply or removal of air by natural or mechanical means to or from any space.
WORKMANLIKE
Whenever the words "workmanlike state of maintenance and repair" are used in this code, they shall mean that such maintenance and repair shall be made in a reasonable, skillful manner.
YARD
An open unoccupied space on the same lot with a building.

§ BR 3-103 Administrative procedures.

(a) 
Code official.
(1) 
The code official shall enforce the provisions of this code and he or his duly authorized representative may enter any building, structure, dwelling, apartment, apartment house or premises in the county to perform any duty imposed upon him by this code, provided that the code official shall give notice, in writing, to the owner, operator or occupant of the premises of the day of the inspection, which said notice shall be mailed to the last known address of any of the above in sufficient time to be received by said owner, operator or occupant one day in advance of said inspection.
(2) 
If the owner, operator or occupant refuses to allow such inspections, the code official shall, prior to any forcible entry and inspection, obtain a warrant for such inspection. The warrant shall be obtained by written application signed and sworn to by the code official setting forth the purpose of the inspection and the address and location of the premises to be inspected. When, upon such application, it shall appear to any Judge of the Circuit Court of Worcester County or to any Commissioners of the District Court for Worcester that there is probable cause to believe that there is a violation of any provision of this Title, then such Judge or Commissioners of the District Court may forthwith issue a warrant directed to the code official authorizing him to enter and inspect such premises. The warrant shall state that any inspection made thereunder shall be made within thirty days from the date of issuance thereof; and after the expiration of said thirty-day period, said warrant shall be void.
(3) 
Each occupant of a premises shall give the owner thereof or his agent or employee access to any part of such premises at all reasonable times for the purpose of making such repairs or alterations or taking such action as necessary to effect compliance with the provisions of this Title or any lawful order issued pursuant to the provisions of this Title.
(b) 
Unsafe buildings and structures. All dwellings, apartment houses, rooming houses or buildings or structures used as such which are unsafe, unsanitary, unfit for human habitation or not provided with adequate egress or which constitute a fire hazard or are otherwise dangerous to human life or which, in relation to existing use, constitute a hazard to safety or health by reason of inadequate maintenance, dilapidation, obsolescence or abandonment are severally in contemplation of this subsection on unsafe buildings. All such unsafe buildings are hereby declared illegal and shall be abated by repair and rehabilitation or by demolition in accordance with the following procedures.
(1) 
Whenever the code official shall find any building or structure or portion thereof or premises used in connection therewith, to be unsafe, unsanitary or unfit for human habitation or in violation of this code in any respect, he shall give written notice (by registered or certified mail) to the premises and to the address of the owner as shown on the assessment records of Worcester County or by personal service through the Sheriff of Worcester County or by another legally accepted means to the owner, agent or person in control of such building or structure or premises stating the defects thereof. This notice shall require the owner, within sixty days, either to complete specific repairs or improvements or to demolish and remove the building or structure or portion thereof or to comply with the applicable provisions of this code; provided, however, that when such notice relates to the removal of rubbish or garbage pursuant to the requirements of this code, the notice may require the owner to comply within such shorter period of time, but not less then twenty days, as the code official may determine to be reasonable and specify therein. During the period stated in any notice, no further legal action shall be taken under § BR 3-103(d) against the subject of the notice except in cases of emergency constituting an immediate threat to the health and safety of persons or property.
(2) 
Posting.
A. 
The code official shall cause to be posted at each entrance to such building a notice with the following words or words to the following effect: THIS BUILDING IS UNSAFE AND ITS USE OR OCCUPANCY HAS BEEN PROHIBITED BY THE CODE OFFICIAL. THIS ORDER IS SUBJECT TO APPEAL PURSUANT TO THE WORCESTER COUNTY RENTAL HOUSING CODE. Such notices shall remain posted until the required repairs or removal of rubbish or garbage are made or demolition is completed. It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation or their agents or other servants to remove such notice without written permission of the code official or for any person to enter the building if the building itself is subject of the notice, except for the purpose of making the required repairs or improvements or of demolishing the same.
B. 
The code official shall cause to be posted each property where the nature of the violation does not involve the structure of the building with a notice with the following words or words to the following effect: THIS PREMISES IS UNSAFE AND IN VIOLATION OF THE WORCESTER COUNTY RENTAL HOUSING CODE. THIS ORDER IS SUBJECT TO APPEAL PURSUANT TO THE WORCESTER COUNTY RENTAL HOUSING CODE. Such notice shall remain posted until the violation is abated.
(3) 
The owner, agent or person in control shall have the right, except in cases of emergency, to appeal from the decision of the code official, as provided hereinafter, and to appear before the Housing Review Board at a specified time and place to show cause why he should not comply with said notice.
(4) 
In case the owner, agent or person in control cannot be found within the stated time limit or if such owner, agent or person in control shall fail, neglect or refuse to comply with notice to repair, to rehabilitate or to demolish and remove said building or structure or portion thereof or to remove rubbish from the premises or to backfill excavations, the code official shall first ascertain the cost of such demolishing and removal. Notice of said cost shall be mailed to the owner of the premises and lien holders of record, to the duly authorized agents of either and to the County Commissioners of Worcester County, which notice shall provide a sixty-day period in which said premises may be demolished and removed by said owner. If this shall not be effected by the owner during said sixty-day period, the code official shall cause such building or structure or portion thereof to be demolished, secured or required to remain vacant.
(5) 
Costs incurred under Subsection (b)(4) above shall be charges to the property, shall constitute a lien thereon, shall be entered on the tax records kept by the County Commissioners with respect thereto and shall be collectible as are taxes and other items.
(c) 
Reports of code official. The code official shall annually submit a report to the Worcester County Commissioners covering the preceding year. He shall incorporate in said report a summary of the decisions of the Housing Review Board during said year.
(1) 
The code official shall, of his own volition or upon receipt of complaints, cause to be made such inspections as are necessary to determine the fitness of a dwelling unit for human occupancy. He shall make a record of every such inspection and of all violations of this code.
(2) 
The code official may make or cause to be made by his deputy the inspections called for by these requirements.
(3) 
Any officer or employee or member of the Housing Review Board charged with the enforcement of this code, acting for the county in the discharge of his duties, and the County Commissioners of Worcester County or its agents shall not be liable corporately or personally and are hereby relieved from all liability for any damage that may occur to persons or property as a result of any act required or permitted in the discharge of his duties.
(d) 
Violations and penalties.
(1) 
Whenever a violation of this code occurs or is alleged to have occurred, any person may report the same, either verbally or in writing, to the code official. Complaints shall be filed immediately in a permanent file by the code official, who shall then immediately investigate and take action thereon as provided by this code.
(2) 
Violations of the provisions of this code or failure to comply with any of its requirements shall constitute a civil infraction. Each and every day such violation occurs may be considered a separate offense. The owner, occupant or tenant of any building, structure, premises or part thereof and any architect, builder, contractor, agent or other person who commits, participates in, assists in or maintains such violation may each be found guilty of a separate offense and suffer the penalties herein provided.

§ BR 3-104 Housing Review Board.

(a) 
Establishment; membership. There is hereby established in the county a board to be called the "Housing Review Board," which shall consist of seven members. Such Board shall be appointed by the County Commissioners of Worcester County from among the residents of the county who shall reside in the area affected by this code.
[Amended 3-18-2003 by Bill No. 03-4]
(b) 
Terms; vacancies. Of the members first appointed, two shall be appointed for a term of one year, two for a term of two years and three for a term of three years. Subsequent to the initial term, all terms shall be three years. Continued absence of any member from regular meetings of the Board shall, at the discretion of the County Commissioners, render any such member liable to immediate removal from office.
[Amended 3-18-2003 by Bill No. 03-4]
(c) 
Quorum; voting. Four members of the Board shall constitute a quorum. In varying the application of any provisions of this code or in modifying an order of the code official, affirmative votes of the majority present, but not less than four affirmative votes, shall be required.
[Amended 3-18-2003 by Bill No. 03-4]
(d) 
Procedure. The Board shall establish rules and regulations for its own procedure not inconsistent with the provisions of this code. The Board shall meet at regular intervals, to be determined by the Chairman, or in any event the Board shall meet within ten days after notice of appeal has been received.
(e) 
Time limit for appeals.
(1) 
Whenever it is claimed that the true intent and meaning of this code or any of the regulations thereunder have been misconstrued or wrongly interpreted, the owner or his duly authorized agent may appeal from the decision or any order of the code official to the Housing Review Board. Notice of appeal shall be in writing upon forms provided by the code official and upon payment of any fee required by resolution of the County Commissioners and filed within twenty days after the decision is rendered by the code official. All notices and orders of the code official shall contain information indicating that there is a right of appeal from such order of notice in accordance with the provisions of this subsection and if the appeal time is to be limited, shall so notify the subject of the order or notice. Any appeal duly filed shall stay any proceedings against the appealing party by the code official except in such cases where the code official finds that the subject matter of the appeal constitutes an emergency situation constituting an immediate threat to the health and safety of persons or property, in which case there shall be no stay.
(2) 
In case of a building or structure which, in the opinion of the code official, is unsafe or dangerous, the code official may, in his order, limit the time for such appeal to be a shorter period. Appeals hereunder shall be on forms provided by the County Commissioners. Any notice or order of the code official shall not be effective until twenty days after its issuance and then not until a hearing has been heard before the Housing Review Board if so requested by the subject of the order or notice in a timely manner pursuant hereto, except in cases where the code official finds that the subject matter of the appeal constitutes an emergency situation constituting an immediate threat to the health and safety of persons or property, in which case appeal time may either be shortened or order or notice may be effective upon issuance, but it shall nonetheless be subject to appeal thereafter.
(f) 
Variance provisions.
(1) 
The Housing Review Board, when so appealed to and after a hearing, may vary the application of any provisions of this code in any particular case when, in its opinion, the enforcement thereof would create undue hardship and would be contrary to the spirit and purpose of this code or public interest or when, in its opinion, the interpretation of the code official should be modified or reversed.
(2) 
A decision of the Housing Review Board to vary the application of any provision of this code or to modify an order of the code official shall specify in what manner such variation or modification is made, the conditions upon which it is made and the reasons therefor.
(3) 
Any person aggrieved by the decision of the code official or of the Housing Review Board may appeal such order to any court of competent jurisdiction. Such appeal shall not stay execution of any order, unless a stay is granted, after notice and hearing by the court to which such appeal has been made.
(g) 
Decisions.
(1) 
Every decision of the Housing Review Board shall be final, subject, however, to such remedy as any aggrieved party might have at law or in equity. It shall be in writing and shall indicate the vote upon the decision. Every decision shall be open to public inspection; a certified copy shall be sent by mail or otherwise to the appellant, and a copy shall be kept posted in the office of the code official for fifteen days after filing.
(2) 
The Housing Review Board shall in every case reach a decision without unreasonable or unnecessary delay.
(3) 
If a decision of the Housing Review Board reverses or modifies a refusal, order or disallowance of the code official or varies the application of any provision of this code, the code official shall immediately take action in accordance with such decision.

§ BR 3-105 Compliance required.

The owner of the premises shall maintain such structures and premises in compliance with these requirements. A person shall not let to another for occupancy or use premises which do not comply with the following requirements of these regulations.

§ BR 3-106 Environmental requirements.

(a) 
Scope. The provisions of this section shall establish the minimum standards for maintenance of premises and structures.
(b) 
Responsibility of owner. The owner of the premises shall maintain such structures and premises in compliance with these requirements. A person shall not let to another for occupancy or use premises which do not comply with the following requirements of this section.
(c) 
Vacant structures and land. All vacant structures and premises thereof or vacant land shall be maintained in a clean, safe, secure and sanitary condition as provided herein so as not to cause a blighting problem or adversely affect the public health or safety.
(d) 
Premises conditions.
(1) 
Sanitation. The premises shall be maintained in a clean, safe and sanitary condition free from any accumulation of rubbish or garbage.
(2) 
Insect and rodent control. The premises shall be free from infestation of insects, rodents, vermin or other pests.
(3) 
Storage areas. All open storage areas shall be completely obscured from surrounding property by a solid screen not less then six feet in height.
(4) 
Accessory structures. All necessary structures, including detached garages, fences and walls, shall be maintained structurally sound and in compliance with the code.
(5) 
Vehicles and vessels. Vehicles and vessels shall be subject to the following requirements of Subsection (d)(6) below.
[Amended 11-17-1998 by Bill No. 98-20]
(6) 
Residential areas. Except as provided in other regulations, not more than one currently unregistered and/or uninspected motor vehicle or vessel which is without a valid certificate of number or valid use sticker shall be parked or placed on any property in a residential district, and said vehicle or vessel shall not at any time be in a state of major disassembly or disrepair nor shall it be in the process of being stripped or dismantled (unless installed in an acceptable storage area).
(7) 
Nonresidential areas. Except as provided in other regulations and approved by the code official, not more than two currently unregistered and/or uninspected motor vehicles or vessels shall be permitted on any property in a nonresidential district, and any vehicle or vessel shall not at any time be in a state of major disassembly or disrepair nor shall it be in the process of being stripped or dismantled (unless installed in an acceptable storage area).
(e) 
Exterior structure.
(1) 
General provisions. The exterior of a structure shall be maintained in good repair and shall be structurally sound and maintained in a sanitary condition so as not to pose a threat to the health, safety or welfare of the occupants or environment.
(2) 
Structural members. Supporting structural members of a structure shall be kept structurally sound and free of deterioration and maintained capable of safely bearing the dead and live loads imposed upon them.
(3) 
Exterior surfaces. Each foundation, exterior wall, roof and all other exterior surfaces shall be maintained in good repair and shall be kept in such condition as to exclude rodents and other pests.
(4) 
Foundation walls. Foundation walls shall be structurally sound and shall be maintained free from open cracks and breaks.
(5) 
Exterior walls.
A. 
Each exterior wall shall be free of holes, breaks, loose or rotting boards or timbers and any other conditions which might admit rain or dampness to the interior portions of the walls or to the occupied areas of the structure.
B. 
All exterior surface materials, including wood, composition or metal siding, shall be maintained weatherproof and shall be properly surface-coated when required to prevent deterioration.
(6) 
Roofs and drainage. The roof shall be structurally sound and may not have defects which might admit rain. Roof drainage shall be adequate to prevent rainwater from causing dampness or deterioration in the walls or interior portion of the structure.
(7) 
Decorative features. All cornices, entablatures, belt courses, corbels, terra cotta trim, wall facings and similar decorative features shall be maintained in good repair with proper anchorage and in a safe condition.
(8) 
Signs, marquees and awnings. All canopies, marquees, signs, metal awnings, stairways, fire escapes, standpipes, exhaust ducts and similar overhang extensions shall be maintained in good repair, be properly anchored and be kept in a safe and sound condition. They shall be protected from the elements and against decay and rust by the periodic application of a weather-coating material such as paint or other protective treatment.
(9) 
Chimneys.
A. 
All chimneys, cooling towers, smokestacks and similar appurtenances shall be maintained structurally sound, safe and in good repair.
B. 
All exposed surface of metal or wood shall be protected from the elements and against decay or rust by periodic application of weather-coating materials such as paint or similar surface treatment.
(10) 
Stairs, porches and fire escapes. Each exterior stair, porch, fire escape and balcony and all appurtenances attached to them shall be safe to use and capable of supporting the anticipated loads and shall be maintained in a safe and sound condition and good repair. At least one flight of stairs which is more than five risers high shall have a handrail on at least one side of the stair, and every open portion of a stair, fire escape, porch, landing or balcony which is more than forty inches above the grade below shall have guardrails. Handrails shall not be less than thirty inches nor more than thirty-four inches high, measured vertically above the nosing of the treads. Guardrails shall be not less than thirty inches high above the floor of the porch, landing or balcony. Every handrail and guardrail shall be firmly fastened and capable of bearing normally imposed loads and shall be maintained in good condition.
(11) 
Windows, doors and frames. Each window, door and frame shall be maintained so as to exclude rain and rodents as completely as possible and to substantially exclude wind from entering the structure.
(12) 
Weathertightness. Each window and exterior door shall be fitted reasonably in its frame and be weathertight. Each window shall be free of cracks and holes.
(13) 
Openable windows. Each window used for ventilation pursuant to § BR 3-107(c) or emergency escape pursuant to § BR 3-111(c)(6) shall be capable of being easily opened from the inside and shall be held in position by window hardware.
(14) 
Insect screens. During the period from April 1 to December 1, every door and window or other outside opening used for ventilation purposes shall be supplied with tight-fitting insect screens. Upon the prior approval of the code official, screens may not be required for exterior doors or other types of openings which make screening impractical, such as openings equipped with air-conditioning units or openings above the fourth floor. The code official may require alternatives to screens.
(15) 
Door hardware. Each exterior door and its hardware shall be maintained in good condition. Door locks on all interior and exterior doors entering housing units shall be in good repair and capable of tightly securing the door.
(f) 
Interior structure.
(1) 
General provisions. The interior of a structure and its equipment and facilities shall be maintained in good repair, structurally sound and in a sanitary condition so as not to pose a threat to the health, safety or welfare of the occupants.
(2) 
Structural members. The supporting structural members of a structure shall be maintained structurally sound, free of deterioration and capable of safely carrying the imposed loads.
(3) 
Interior surfaces. Floors, walls (including windows and doors), ceilings and other interior surfaces shall be maintained in good repair and in a clean, safe and sanitary condition.
(4) 
Lead-based paint. Lead-based paint with a lead content of more than five-tenths percent shall not be applied to any interior or exterior surface of a dwelling, dwelling unit or child-care facility, including fences and outbuildings at these locations. Existing interior and exterior painted surfaces of dwelling units and child-care facilities that contain an excess of five-tenths percent lead shall be removed or covered with paneling or other suitable covering approved by the code official.
(5) 
Radon and asbestos. Dwellings found to have levels of radon gas and/or asbestos contamination in excess of recommended EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) level shall be abated using EPA-approved methods and contractors.
(6) 
Bathroom and kitchen floors. Each toilet, bathroom and kitchen floor surface shall be maintained so as to be substantially impervious to water to permit the floor to be easily kept in a clean and sanitary condition.
(7) 
Sanitation.
A. 
The interior of a structure shall be maintained in a clean and sanitary condition free from any accumulation or rubbish or garbage.
B. 
Rubbish or garbage shall be properly kept inside temporary storage facilities.
C. 
Garbage or rubbish may not be allowed to accumulate or be stored in public halls or stairways.
(8) 
Insect and rodent harborage.
A. 
A structure shall be kept free from infestation, and where infestation is found, the area shall be promptly exterminated by processes which are not injurious to human health.
B. 
Continuing or repeated incidents of infestation, as determined by the code official, shall require the installation of rodent- and vermin-proof walls. The rodent- and vermin-proof walls shall be installed in accordance with the applicable state and local building code.
(9) 
Exit doors. Each door available as an exit shall be capable of being opened easily from the inside.
(10) 
Exit facilities.
A. 
All interior stairs and railings and other exit facilities of a structure shall be maintained in sound condition and good repair.
B. 
Each interior stair used for exit shall be maintained so as to be safe to use and capable of supporting the anticipated loads. Every flight of stairs more than five risers shall have a handrail at least on one side.

§ BR 3-107 Light and ventilation requirements.

(a) 
General provisions.
(1) 
Scope. The provisions of this section shall govern the minimum standards for basic equipment and facilities used for light and ventilation of a structure.
(2) 
Responsibility. The owner of the structure shall provide and maintain such light and ventilation and space conditions in compliance with these requirements. A person shall not let to another occupancy or use any premises which does not comply with the following requirements of this section.
(3) 
Alternative methods and devices. In place of the means for natural light and ventilation prescribed in this section, alternative arrangement of windows, louvers or other devices or methods that will provide the equivalent minimum performance requirements shall be permitted in order to comply with the applicable state and local building code.
(b) 
Light.
(1) 
General provisions. All areas in a structure shall be provided sufficient light so as not to endanger health and safety. All areas in a structure shall be provided with natural light or equipment to accommodate artificial light of sufficient intensity and distributed so as to permit the maintenance of sanitary conditions and the safe use of the area and the appliances, equipment and fixtures.
(2) 
Habitable spaces. Every habitable space shall have at least one window facing directly to the outdoors or to a court. The minimum total window area, measured between stops, for every habitable space shall be five percent of the floor area of such room, except in kitchens when artificial light may be provided in accordance with the provisions of the local building code.
(3) 
Common halls and stairways. Each common hall and stairway in a structure, other than one- and two-family structures, shall be adequately lighted at all times with an illumination equivalent to the footcandles provided by at least a sixty-watt standard incandescent light-bulb for each two hundred square feet of floor area, provided that the spacing between lights may be greater than thirty feet. Every exterior stairway shall be illuminated.
(c) 
Ventilation.
(1) 
General provisions. All areas in a structure shall be provided sufficient ventilation so as not to endanger health and safety.
(2) 
Habitable spaces. Every habitable space shall have at least one window which can be easily opened or such other device as will adequately ventilate the room.
(3) 
Cooking facilities. Cooking shall not be permitted in any sleeping room or dormitory unit, and a cooking facility or appliance shall not be permitted to be present in a sleeping room or dormitory unit.
(4) 
Mechanical ventilation.
A. 
When mechanical ventilation is provided instead of natural ventilation, the mechanical ventilating system shall be maintained in operation during the occupancy of the structure or portion of it.
B. 
When part of the air provided by a mechanical ventilation system is recirculated, the portion or volume of air recirculated may not be recirculated to a different habitable area.

§ BR 3-108 Space and use requirements.

(a) 
General. The provisions of this section shall govern the minimum space and use requirements. Every dwelling unit and every room occupied for sleeping purposes shall contain at least that amount of habitable floor space as described in this section.
(b) 
Habitable floor space. Every dwelling unit occupied by one occupant shall contain at least one hundred fifty square feet of habitable floor area. Every dwelling unit occupied by more than one occupant shall contain at least one hundred square feet of floor area for each occupant for the next three occupants and at least seventy-five square feet of additional habitable floor area for each additional occupant.
(c) 
Sleeping area. Every room occupied for sleeping purposes by one occupant twelve years of age and above shall contain at least seventy square feet of floor area, and every room occupied for sleeping purposes by more than one ccupant twelve years of age and above shall contain at least fifty square feet of floor area for each additional occupant. Every room occupied for sleeping purposes by one occupant under twelve years of age shall contain at least fifty square feet of floor area and at least thirty-five square feet of floor area for each additional occupant under twelve years of age.
(d) 
Floor area calculation. Floor area shall be calculated on the basis of habitable room area. However, closet area and hall area within the dwelling unit, where provided, may count for not more than ten percent of the required habitable floor area. At least one-half of the floor area of every habitable room shall have a ceiling height of at least seven feet; and the floor area of any part of any room where the ceiling height is less than four and one half feet shall not be considered as part of the floor area in computing the total floor area of the room to determine maximum permissible occupancy.

§ BR 3-109 Plumbing facilities and fixture requirements.

(a) 
Scope. The provisions of this section shall govern the minimum standards for plumbing facilities and fixtures to be provided.
(b) 
Required plumbing facilities. Each housing unit shall include its own plumbing facilities which shall be maintained in proper operating condition, can be used in privacy and are adequate for personal cleanliness and the disposal of human waste. The following minimum plumbing facilities shall be supplied and maintained in a sanitary and safe working condition:
(1) 
Water closet and lavatory.
A. 
Each housing unit shall contain within its walls a room, separate from other habitable areas, which provides a water closet supplied with cold running water and which affords privacy.
B. 
A lavatory shall be placed in the same room as the water closet or located in another room in close proximity to the door leading directly into the room in which the water closet is located.
C. 
The lavatory shall be supplied with hot and cold running water.
(2) 
Bathtub or shower. Each housing unit shall contain a room which is equipped with a bathtub or shower supplied with hot and cold running water and which affords privacy.
(3) 
Kitchen sink. Each housing unit shall contain a kitchen sink apart from the lavatory required under Subsection (b)(1). The sink shall be supplied with hot and cold running water.
(4) 
Rooming houses. At least one water closet, lavatory basin and bathtub or shower properly connected to an approved water and sewer system and in good working condition shall be supplied for each four rooms within a rooming house, wherever said facilities are shared. Every lavatory basin and bathtub or shower shall be supplied with hot and cold water at all times.
(5) 
Hotels. Where private water closets, lavatories and baths are not provided, one water closet, one lavatory and one bathtub accessible from a public hallway shall be provided on each floor. Each lavatory, bathtub or shower shall be supplied with hot and cold water at all times.
(c) 
Alternative plumbing. Alternative plumbing facilities and fixtures for use in housing units may be allowed as approved on a case-by-case basis by the Housing Review Board.
(d) 
Plumbing fixtures.
(1) 
General provisions. All plumbing fixtures shall be maintained in a safe and usable condition. All plumbing fixtures shall be of nonabsorbent materials and shall have received all necessary and legally required approvals.
(2) 
Connections. Water supply lines, plumbing fixtures, vents and drains shall be properly installed, connected and maintained in working order, shall be kept free from obstructions, leaks and defects and shall be capable of performing the function for which they are designed. All repairs and installations shall be made in accordance with the provisions of the applicable local building code or applicable state and local plumbing code.
(e) 
Water system.
(1) 
General provisions. Each sink, lavatory, bathtub or shower, drinking fountain, water closet or other plumbing facility shall be properly connected to either a public water system or to a private water system which has received all necessary and legally required approvals.
(2) 
Contamination. The water supply shall be maintained free from contamination. All water inlets for plumbing fixtures shall be located above the overflow rim of the fixture.
(3) 
Water supply. The water supply system shall be installed and maintained to provide at all times a supply of water to plumbing facilities, fixtures, devices and appurtenances in sufficient volume and at pressures adequate to enable them to function satisfactorily.
(4) 
Water-heating facilities.
A. 
Water-heating facilities shall be installed in a manner which has received all necessary and legally required approvals, properly maintained and properly connected with hot-water lines to the fixtures required to be supplied with the hot water.
B. 
Water-heating facilities shall be capable of heating water to such a temperature so as to permit an adequate amount of water to be drawn at every kitchen sink, lavatory basin, bathtub, shower and laundry facility or other similar facilities at a temperature of not less than one hundred degrees Fahrenheit.
(5) 
Alternative water systems. Alternative water systems may be allowed as approved on a case-by-case basis by the Housing Review Board.
(f) 
Sewage system.
(1) 
General provisions. Each sink, lavatory, bathtub or shower, drinking fountain, water closet or other plumbing facility shall be properly connected to either a public sewer system or private sewage disposal system which has received all necessary and legally required approvals.
(2) 
Maintenance. Each plumbing stack, waste and sewer line shall be installed and maintained so 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 applicable state and local building code or applicable state and local plumbing code.

§ BR 3-110 Mechanical and electrical requirements.

(a) 
General provisions.
(1) 
Scope. The provisions of this section shall govern the minimum standards for mechanical and electrical facilities and equipment.
(2) 
Responsibility of owner. The owner of the structure shall provide and maintain such mechanical and electrical facilities and equipment in compliance with these requirements. A person shall not let to another for occupancy or use any premises which do not comply with the following requirements of this section.
(b) 
Heating facilities.
(1) 
Residential structures.
A. 
Each housing unit shall be supplied with sufficient heat or heating equipment capable of supplying sufficient heat during the period from October 1 to May 15 to maintain a room temperature of not less than sixty-five degrees Fahrenheit in all habitable areas during the hours between 6:30 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. of each day and maintain a temperature of not less than sixty degrees Fahrenheit during other hours.
B. 
The temperature shall be measured at a point of three feet above the floor and three feet from exterior walls.
C. 
Exception. When the exterior temperature falls below zero degrees Fahrenheit and the heating system is operating at its full capacity, a minimum room temperature of sixty degrees Fahrenheit shall be maintained at all times.
(2) 
Cooking and heating equipment.
A. 
All cooking and heating equipment, components and accessories in every heating, cooking and water-heating device shall be maintained free from leaks and water flow obstructions and kept functioning properly so as to be free from fire, health and safety hazards.
B. 
All installations and repairs shall be made in accordance with the provisions of the applicable state and local building code or other applicable laws or ordinances thereto.
C. 
Portable cooking equipment employing flame is prohibited, except for residential-type food trays or salvers which are heated by a candle or alcohol lamp and which have received all necessary and legally required approvals.
(3) 
Installation. All mechanical equipment used for heating and cooking shall be properly installed and safely maintained in good working condition and shall be capable of performing the function for which it was designed and intended.
(4) 
Fuel-burning equipment. All fuel-burning equipment shall be connected to a chimney, flue or vent in accordance with applicable local or state codes or according to manufacturer's instructions in cases where no local or state codes apply.
(5) 
Clearances. All necessary and legally required clearances to combustible materials shall be maintained.
(6) 
Safety control for fuel-burning equipment. All safety controls for fuel-burning equipment shall be maintained in effective operation in accordance with applicable local or state codes or according to manufacturer's instructions in cases where no local or state codes apply.
(7) 
Combustion air for fuel-burning equipment. A supply of air for complete combustion of the fuel and for ventilation of the space shall be provided the fuel-burning equipment.
(8) 
Unauthorized devices. Devices purporting to reduce gas consumption by attachment to a gas appliance, the gas supply line or the vent outlet or vent piping may not be used unless they are labeled for that use and the installation has specifically received all necessary and legally required approvals.
(9) 
Fireplaces. Fireplaces and other construction and devices intended for use similar to a fireplace shall be stable and structurally safe and connected to chimneys which have received all necessary and legally required approvals.
(10) 
Climate control. When facilities for interior climate control (heating, cooling and humidity) are integral functions of housing units, these facilities shall be maintained and operated in accordance with the designed capacity.
(11) 
Use of portable heat-producing appliances. Portable heat-producing appliances may be used if UL approved. Operation must be in accordance with the manufacturer's requirements (a supplemental or temporary source of heat, not a primary source).
(c) 
Electrical facilities.
(1) 
Facilities required. Provided that there is usable electric service available from a power line not more than three hundred feet away, a structure shall be adequately and safely provided with an electrical system in compliance with the requirements of this section.
(2) 
Receptacles. Each habitable area in a housing unit shall contain at least two duplex receptacle outlets, or one receptacle and one operable switched overhead lighting fixture. Each laundry area and bathroom shall contain at least one grounded-type receptacle. Each kitchen shall contain at least three receptacles.
(3) 
Lighting fixtures. Each public hall, interior stairway, water closet compartment, bathroom, laundry room and furnace room shall contain at least one electric lighting fixture.
(4) 
Service standard. When the electrical system requires modification to correct a violation of this section, the service shall be corrected to a minimum of one-hundred-ampere, three-wire service.
(5) 
Installation. All electrical equipment, wiring and appliances shall be installed and maintained in a safe manner in accordance with all applicable laws. All electrical equipment shall be of a type which has received all necessary and legally required approvals.
(6) 
Defective system. Where it is found, in the opinion of the code official, that the electrical system in a structure constitutes a hazard to the occupants or the structure by reason of inadequate service, improper fusing, insufficient outlets, improper wiring or installation, deterioration or damage or for similar reasons, the code official shall require the defects to be corrected to eliminate the hazard.

§ BR 3-111 Fire safety requirements.

(a) 
Scope. The provisions of this section shall govern the minimum standards for fire safety facilities and equipment. All structures shall be constructed and maintained to prevent and avoid fire hazards and in a manner conducive to fire safety.
(b) 
Responsibility of owner. The owner of the structure shall provide and maintain such fire safety facilities and equipment in compliance with these requirements and the fire prevention code. A person shall not let to another for occupancy or use any premises which does not comply with the following requirements of this section.
(c) 
Means of egress.
(1) 
General provisions. A safe, continuous and unobstructed means of egress shall be provided from the interior of a structure to the exterior at a street, yard, court or passageway leading to a public open area at grade.
(2) 
Direct exit. Each housing unit shall have access directly to the outside or to a common area that leads directly to the outside.
(3) 
Doors. All doors in the required means of egress shall be easily opened from the inner side.
(4) 
Fire escapes. All fire escapes shall be maintained in working condition and structurally sound.
(5) 
Exit signs. All exit signs shall be illuminated and visible.
(6) 
Emergency escapes. Each sleeping room shall have at least one openable window or exterior door for emergency egress or rescue which has received all necessary and legally required approvals or shall have access to two separate exits which have received all necessary and legally required approvals.
(d) 
Accumulations and storage.
(1) 
General provisions. Garbage or rubbish may not be allowed to accumulate in stairways, passageways, doors, windows, fire escapes or other means of egress.
(2) 
Flammable or explosive matter. Highly flammable or explosive matter, such as paints, volatile oils and cleaning fluids or combustible rubbish such as wastepaper, boxes and rags, may not be accumulated or stored on premises except in reasonable quantities consistent with normal usage.
(3) 
Residential units. A housing unit may not be located within a structure containing an establishment handling, dispensing or storing flammable liquids with a flash point of one hundred degrees Fahrenheit or lower, except as provided for in the applicable state and local building code.
(e) 
Fire resistance ratings. Floors, walls, ceilings and other elements and components which are required by the applicable fire code to comply with a fire resistance rating shall be maintained so that the respective fire resistance rating of the enclosure, separation or construction is preserved.
(f) 
Fire protection systems.
(1) 
General provisions. All fire protection systems and equipment shall be maintained in proper operating condition at all times.
(2) 
Smoke detectors.
A. 
All housing units shall be provided with a minimum of one single-station smoke detector in the vicinity of each sleeping area.
B. 
The smoke detectors shall be installed and maintained in accordance with the state fire laws, Article 38A, § 12A, of the Annotated Code of Maryland, Smoke detection systems.
C. 
When actuated, the smoke detector shall provide an alarm suitable to warn the occupants within the unit.
(3) 
Fire suppression systems. Fire suppression systems in housing units so equipped shall be maintained in good condition, free from mechanical defect. Sprinkler heads shall be kept clean and free of corrosion and paint and may not be bent or damaged.
(4) 
Fire extinguishers. All portable fire extinguishers in housing units shall be visible and accessible, and maintained in an efficient and safe operating condition.
(g) 
Fire doors.
(1) 
All necessary and legally required fire-resistance-rated doors or smoke barriers shall be maintained in good working order, including all hardware necessary for their proper operation.
(2) 
The use of door stops, wedges and other hold-open devices which have not received all necessary and legal approvals or which have been denied approval is prohibited.

§ BR 3-112 Responsibilities of persons.

(a) 
Scope. The provisions of this section shall govern the responsibilities of persons for the maintenance of structures and the equipment and premises thereof.
(b) 
Limited liability of property owner. A property owner may not be cited for a violation of this code that is caused by the negligent, wrongful or malicious acts or omissions of a tenant, provided that the property owner's acts or omissions have not contributed in any way to cause the violation.
(c) 
Sanitary conditions.
(1) 
Cleanliness.
A. 
The tenant shall be responsible for keeping that part of the structure or premises which the tenant occupies, controls or uses in a clean and sanitary condition.
B. 
Each property owner of a structure containing two or more housing units shall maintain, in a clean and sanitary condition, the common areas of the structure and premises.
(2) 
Disposal and storage of rubbish and garbage. The tenant shall be responsible for the storage and disposal of rubbish and garbage in a clean and sanitary manner as may be required by applicable laws or ordinances.
(3) 
Food preparation. All spaces used or intended to be used for food preparation shall contain suitable space and equipment to store, prepare and serve foods in a sanitary manner. The tenant shall secure adequate facilities and services for the sanitary disposal of food wastes and refuse, including facilities for temporary storage when necessary.
(4) 
Supplied fixtures and equipment.
A. 
The tenant shall be responsible for keeping owner-supplied equipment and fixtures clean and sanitary and for the exercise of reasonable care in their proper use and operation.
B. 
The property owner shall be responsible for maintaining the equipment and fixtures in good and proper operating condition.
(5) 
Equipment and fixtures furnished by tenant. The tenant shall be responsible for the maintenance of equipment and fixtures furnished by the tenant. The equipment and fixtures shall be properly installed and shall be maintained in good working condition, kept clean and sanitary and free of defects, leaks or obstructions.
(d) 
Extermination.
(1) 
All structures. If necessary, the property owner shall be responsible for extermination within the structure and on the premises before renting or leasing the structure.
(2) 
Single-occupancy structures. The tenant of a structure containing a single housing unit shall be responsible for the extermination of any insects, rodents or other pests in the structure or the premises.
(3) 
Multiple-occupancy structures. Each property owner or operator of a structure containing two or more housing units shall be responsible for the extermination of any insects, rodents or other pests in the structure or on the premises, except where infestation within a housing unit is caused by a failure of the tenant to take reasonable action to prevent the infestation within the housing unit.
(e) 
Fire safety. Responsibility for installing and maintaining in good working order any smoke detector installed pursuant to this code shall be in accordance with the State Fire Laws, Article 38A, § 12A, of the Annotated Code of Maryland, Smoke detection systems.

§ BR 3-113 Severability.

The provisions of these regulations are severable. A judgment by any court of competent jurisdiction finding or declaring that any provisions of these applications or the application of any provision to any person or circumstance is valid does not affect the validity of the remaining provisions of the regulations or any other application of these regulations, and the remaining regulations shall have full force and effect as if no judgment has been entered.