City of Mount Vernon, NY
Westchester County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the City of Mount Vernon 5-13-1959 as Ch. 51 of the General Ordinances, approved 5-15-1959. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Fire prevention — See Ch. 131.
Housing standards — See Ch. 149.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ADULT
A person nine years of age or older, or two children under the age of nine years.
BASEMENT
That portion of a building the floor of which is not less than two feet below and the ceiling is not less than four feet six inches above grade.
BATHROOM
An enclosed space containing one or more bathtubs or showers, or both, and a washbasin, with each providing hot and cold running water, and also including one or more toilets.
CELLAR
That portion of a building the ceiling of which is entirely below or less than four feet six inches above grade.
CENTRALLY SUPPLIED HEAT
Heat which:
A. 
Is sufficient to maintain the minimum temperature required by the provisions of Section 3 of Article VIII of the Sanitary Code of the City; and
B. 
Is furnished from a central source of supply which is approved by the Commissioner of Buildings and Fire Commissioner as consistent with the requirements of safety and health, and which may be located within or without the building or dwelling required to be heated.
CENTRALLY SUPPLIED HOT WATER
Water from a central source of supply and heated to a temperature of 120° F. at the tap.
CLUB
An organization of persons incorporated pursuant to the provisions of the Membership Corporations Law or the Benevolent Orders Law, or an incorporated association, which is the owner, lessee or occupant of a building or portion thereof used exclusively for club purposes, and which is operated solely for a recreational, social, patriotic, political, benevolent, religious or athletic purpose and not for pecuniary gain.
COMMISSIONER
The Commissioner of Buildings.
OCCUPIED or USED
Shall be construed as if followed by the words "arranged, designed or intended to be occupied or used."
OWNER
An owner or owners of the freehold of the premises or lesser estate therein, mortgagee or vendee in possession, assignee of rents, receiver, executor, trustee, lessee, tenant, agent or any other person, firm or corporation directly or indirectly in control of a dwelling.
ROOMING HOUSE
Any lodging house, rooming house, furnished rooming house, tourist home and any other similarly occupied building, structure or portion thereof having more than three sleeping rooms which are directly or indirectly let, sublet, used or occupied for single-room occupancy; also any multiple dwelling which has been converted or altered or is used for single-room occupancy.
SINGLE-ROOM OCCUPANCY
An occupancy for hire by one or more persons living independently of those occupying other rooms in any apartment or suite or portion of a building or structure.
It shall be unlawful for any person to conduct, keep, manage or operate, or cause to be conducted, kept, managed or operated, a rooming house without a license therefor. No license shall be issued except to a person of good moral character, nor to a partnership, joint venture or corporation if any partner, member, officer, director or stockholder thereof has been convicted of a felony or of any crime involving moral turpitude.
A. 
Any person desiring to procure such rooming house license shall file with the Commissioner a written application on blank forms furnished by the Commissioner, subscribed and verified by the applicant.
B. 
The Commissioner shall submit every such application to the Police Department, the Fire Department and the Department of Health for their respective written approvals or rejections.
C. 
No application shall be approved unless the applicant complies with and the premises conform to all provisions of law enforced by such Departments and by the Commissioner and unless there has been a physical inspection by the Commissioner or his duly authorized representative.
D. 
Every applicant for a rooming-house license shall file, together with the application, fingerprints of both hands. The fingerprints shall be placed upon cards provided by the Commissioner of Public Safety and shall be taken, under the Commissioner's supervision, by a senior police officer and at such place that the Commissioner shall designate. The Commissioner of Public Safety shall have the authority to submit the fingerprints of the applicant, together with the required fees, to the Division of Criminal Justice Services or other appropriate agency for processing and investigation. No application for a rooming-house license shall be approved nor any license issued under the provisions of this chapter until after investigation and examination of the fingerprints of the applicant. No license will be granted to any applicant who has been convicted of any felony or of any misdemeanor involving violence, dishonesty or deceit.
[Added 3-14-1990, approved 3-15-1990]
Every application shall contain the following:
A. 
A description of the premises by street number or otherwise.
B. 
The name, residence and business address of each owner; if the owner is a corporation, the name and address of such corporation and the names, residences and business addresses of every officer thereof. If the applicant is a lessee or sublessee, a confirmed copy of the lease is to be attached and, if oral, the material terms of such lease shall be set forth.
C. 
If the applicant is a corporation or a partnership or other business entity, or if the applicant is a nonresident, such applicant shall designate the name and address of an individual residing within the City upon whom any notice or order of the Commissioner may be served and such individual's written consent thereto. The designation of such person shall not relieve any such owner or lessee of any responsibility or obligation to comply with the provisions of this chapter.
D. 
A diagram showing all rooms to be used for single-room occupancy, designated by letters for identification, and each bathroom facility, together with the dimensions and aggregate floor area of each room.
E. 
The maximum number of occupants to be permitted to occupy each room and the maximum number of occupants to be permitted to occupy the entire rooming house.
F. 
The zoning district in which the premises sought to be licensed are located.
A. 
The fee for filing an application for a license pursuant to this chapter shall be $10. If disapproved, the filing fee shall not be refunded.
B. 
The license fee, upon approval of the application, shall be $20 for a rooming house containing less than 10 rooms to be occupied for single-room occupancy and $40 where 10 or more rooms are to be occupied for single-room occupancy.
C. 
All fees are to be paid to the Commissioner, who shall issue appropriate receipts showing payment thereof.
D. 
All licenses shall be renewed annually.
E. 
Every licensee desiring a renewal of a license shall file an application for same within 30 days prior to the expiration of such license. If there have been any changes in the nature of the occupancy of the licensed premises since the filing of the previous application, such changes shall be fully set forth in the renewal application.
F. 
The fees for the application and renewal of such license shall be the same as for an original application and license.
In the event that the licensee desires to make any change or alteration in a licensed rooming house which will result in a change of the maximum lawful occupancy or creation of additional rooms for single occupancy as set forth in the application and license, such licensee shall file an amended application with the Commissioner, for which no fee shall be charged, and shall obtain written approval for such change or changes prior to the altering of such licensed premises or change in the maximum lawful occupancy thereof. The written approval of the Fire and Health Departments shall be obtained before the Commissioner shall authorize such changes.
All licenses issued pursuant to this chapter shall be in such form as established by the Commissioner and shall be signed by the Commissioner and countersigned by the Mayor.
An index of all licensed rooming houses shall be compiled and maintained by the Commissioner. Such index shall be available to the public and to the Mayor, City Councilmen or to any person duly authorized by them. Copies of such index shall be filed with the Health Commissioner, the Fire Commissioner, the Police Commissioner and the Commissioner of Assessment and Taxation.
The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to dormitories operated by colleges or schools nor to clubs as hereinbefore defined.
The Commissioner may promulgate such rules and regulations as he may deem necessary for the proper regulation of rooming houses, and he shall file copies thereof with the City Clerk and the City Council.
A. 
The Commissioner, at any time after having given to any licensee or his designee five days' written notice of hearing and an opportunity to be heard, may revoke or suspend the license of such licensee for any violation of any provision of law. The licensee shall be entitled to be represented by counsel.
B. 
Whenever any license shall be revoked, at least six months from the date of such revocation shall elapse before another license may be issued to conduct a rooming house in the same premises and at least one year from the date of such revocation shall elapse before the licensee shall be eligible for another license.
A. 
No license shall be issued unless the application establishes that the rooming house complies with the following minimum standards, and it shall be a violation of this chapter for any licensee not to comply with each of the following:
(1) 
Every room occupied or used for sleeping purposes shall contain a minimum gross floor area of 90 square feet for each adult occupant, as hereinbefore defined, and when occupied or used by more than one adult occupant, it shall contain an additional minimum gross floor area of 70 square feet for each additional adult occupant thereof.
(2) 
Every occupied room shall have a minimum ceiling height of seven feet six inches over 90% of the floor area and only over 50% where located in an attic.
(3) 
No space in any cellar shall be used or occupied for sleeping or living purposes.
(4) 
Every room shall have at least one window or skylight facing directly to the outdoors. The minimum aggregate area available for unobstructed light shall be not less than 10% of the floor area of such rooms.
(5) 
Every room shall be ventilated either by openable areas equal to 45% of the required window area or by equivalent mechanical ventilation.
(6) 
Every bathroom shall be adequately ventilated either by openable areas the total of which shall not be less than 1 1/2 square feet facing open space or by equivalent mechanical ventilation.
(7) 
Every licensee shall be responsible for maintaining in a clean and sanitary condition the shared or public areas of the licensed premises.
(8) 
There shall be provided for each six adult persons who are lawful occupants of licensed premises at least one bathroom and one additional bathroom for any remainder of less than six adults. Every bathroom shall be maintained in a sanitary condition and the facilities therein in a state of good repair.
(9) 
Each such required bathroom shall be so arranged and located that each occupant for whom same is required shall have ready access thereto without passing through any portion of any room or rooms rented to or exclusively occupied by any other occupant or roomer.
(10) 
No room shall be occupied unless such room shall have free and unobstructed access to each required means of egress from the premises without passing through any other sleeping room or bathroom.
(11) 
All doors opening from any room to any hall or passage shall be self-closing, and all transoms shall be permanently sealed with fire-retardant material of at least one hour's rating.
(12) 
Every hall or passage shall be unobstructed and well lighted at all times.
(13) 
Any room rented for single occupancy and all furniture and bedding therein shall be thoroughly cleansed before occupancy and every sleeping room at least once a week thereafter. When bed linens are provided, they shall be changed at least once every week. When the rent includes the use of towels, at least one bath towel and two hand towels shall be provided every week for each occupant. Such cleaning and services shall be the exclusive obligations of the licensee.
(14) 
There shall be a central heating system adequate to heat every sleeping room in conformity with the requirements of the Sanitary Code.
(15) 
There shall be centrally supplied hot water as hereinbefore defined in § 211-1.
(16) 
The walls and ceiling of every entrance hall, stair hall or other public hall, every hall or passage not within a room or rooms used for single occupancy, and every dumbwaiter, elevator and every other shaft, including stairs, connecting more than two successive stories, shall be sealed off from every other portion of the premises with fire-retarded materials, or, in lieu thereof, except in the case of elevator shafts, shall be equipped with an automatic sprinkler system. A fire-detecting system shall not be acceptable for any of the requirements of this section.
(17) 
Electric wiring and equipment shall be designed and installed so as not to be a potential source of ignition of combustible material or a potential source of an electrical hazard.
(a) 
All electrical installations and repairs shall be made by an electrician duly licensed by the City, who, upon completion, shall file with the Commissioner a certificate of the New York Board of Fire Underwriters.
(b) 
All branch circuits shall have a minimum capacity of 15 amperes, with wiring no smaller than No. 14 wire as defined by the National Electrical Code.
(c) 
The rating of the overcurrent protective devices shall not exceed the current-carrying capacity of the branch circuits' conductors as defined by the National Electrical Code.
(d) 
Every branch circuit may supply lighting outlets, receptacle outlets or permanently connected appliances or any combination of such loads, but shall not be used to supply any appliance rated at more than 1,200 voltamperes, and not more than 10 outlets shall be supplied through any 15-ampere branch circuit.
(e) 
Every fixed electrical appliance shall be provided with a separate branch circuit of sufficient capacity to carry the nameplate ampere rating of the device.
(f) 
Each room shall contain a minimum of two receptacle outlets.
(g) 
The conductors and equipment for delivering electrical energy from the main or feeder to the wiring systems of the premises shall be adequate for the proper and safe use of the electrical equipment, fixtures and appurtenances therein.
B. 
The licensee, unless otherwise expressly provided for in this chapter, shall not be relieved of any of the duties and obligations to provide the services and facilities required by the Sanitary Code.
A. 
The licensee shall cause the license to be suitably framed or mounted and placed and maintained in the main entrance or vestibule of the premises in such manner and position as to be easily visible.
B. 
The exterior area immediately in front of the main entrance shall be illuminated by electric light at all times after sunset.
The licensee shall at all times maintain a current register setting forth the name of every occupant, adult or child, and the room or rooms occupied, and such room or rooms shall be identified by such designations as conform to the diagram as provided for in § 211-4D of this chapter. The register shall also contain the license registration of any motor vehicle owned by any occupant.
The Commissioner may require a licensee to post a sign in each occupied room stating the maximum lawful number of occupants permitted in such room.
No license issued hereunder shall be transferable or assignable. There shall be no prorating of the fees paid hereunder, and every applicant for a license for premises for which a license has previously been issued to another licensee shall be required to comply with all the provisions of this chapter applicable to an original applicant. Every licensee who has transferred, sold, assigned or otherwise disposed of his interest in the licensed premises to another shall serve notice of same in writing upon the Commissioner either by personal service or by registered or certified mail within 10 days from the occurrence thereof.
A. 
The operation of any premises as a rooming house without complying with this chapter is hereby declared to constitute a nuisance.
B. 
Whenever the Commissioner finds or has reason to believe that any premises is being operated as a rooming house without a license, he may, without prior notice or hearing, order the premises or any part thereof to be vacated, as constituting a nuisance. A copy of such notice to vacate shall be served personally upon the owner, lessee, agent or any other person, firm or corporation directly or indirectly in control of the premises and upon each tenant or occupant. In the event that personal service upon any of the foregoing cannot be made after diligent effort, then such notice may be served by posting a copy thereof in a conspicuous place upon the premises and by sending a copy thereof by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, addressed to such person at his last known address or place of residence.
C. 
The Commissioner may, in his discretion, post suitable placards on the premises ordering the vacating of the building and may institute such further appropriate legal action as he deems necessary to compel the vacating of the premises.
Any person violating any of the provisions of this chapter or of the regulations of the Commissioner or any other City agency affecting the conduct of the business licensed hereunder shall be subject, in addition to the imposition of any applicable fines or penalties as provided in Article II of Chapter 1, General Provisions, to the suspension or revocation of the said license.
This chapter shall become effective on October 1, 1959. All licenses issued pursuant to this chapter shall expire on the 30th day of September of each succeeding year.