Town of West Hartford, CT
Hartford 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
The Director of Health shall be responsible for enforcing the provisions of this chapter and carrying out the intent of this code as specified in § 105-2. Such authority shall include but not be limited to citing violations, determining enforcement actions, granting variances, assessing fines, filing liens, implementing enforced abatement, declaring dwellings as unfit, ordering demolition and initiating legal actions.
The Director of Health is hereby authorized to make, adopt, revise and amend procedural rules and regulations as he or she deems necessary to administer the purposes of this code.
A. 
The Director of Health is authorized and directed to make inspections of all premises located within the Town of West Hartford pursuant to:
(1) 
A systematic plan of inspection;
(2) 
A complaint that an alleged violation of the provisions of this chapter or of applicable rules or regulations pursuant thereto may exist; or
(3) 
When the Director of Health has sufficient reason to believe that a violation of this chapter or any rules or regulations pursuant thereto has been or is being committed.
B. 
The Director of Health shall be required to disclose all records of investigation conducted in accordance with this code with respect to any premises, only as required by the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See C.G.S. § 1-7 et seq.
C. 
If an owner, occupant or other person in charge of a premises fails or refuses to permit free access and entry to the premises under his or her control, or any part thereof, with respect to which an inspection authorized by this code is sought to be made, the Director of Health may petition a court of competent jurisdiction to obtain an inspection warrant.
A. 
Whenever the Director of Health determines that any premises or any part thereof fails to meet the requirements set forth in this code or in applicable rules and regulations issued pursuant thereto, the Director of Health, in accordance with existing federal, state and/or municipal law, shall issue a notice of violation setting forth the alleged failures and advising the owner, occupant, operator or agent that such failures must be corrected. This notice shall:
(1) 
Be in writing.
(2) 
Describe the premises where the violations are alleged to exist or to have been committed.
(3) 
Specify each alleged violation of this code or of applicable rules and regulations issued pursuant thereto.
(4) 
Specify the last day by which such violations shall be corrected.
(5) 
Specify any appeal procedure.
(6) 
Be served upon the owner, occupant, operator or agent of the premises personally or by certified mail, addressed to the owner, occupant, operator or agent. If one or more persons to whom such notice is addressed cannot be found after diligent effort to do so, service may be made upon such persons by posting the notice in or about the premises described in the notice and by causing such notice to be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the Town of West Hartford for a period of five consecutive days.
B. 
At the end of the period of time allowed for the correction of any violation alleged, the Director of Health shall reinspect the premises described in the notice to determine compliance with the notice of violation.
C. 
The Director of Health may hold administrative hearings regarding violations of this code and corrective actions being taken and shall make such procedural rules as necessary to take action to correct alleged violations.
[Amended 6-12-2001]
A. 
Each violation of any provision of this code shall be considered a separate offense hereunder.
B. 
Each day any violation of any provision of this code shall continue shall constitute a separate offense hereunder.
C. 
Each separate offense of this code shall be punishable by a fine of not less than $15 nor more than $60. The Director of Health shall establish by regulation a fine schedule for each standard described in this code. In addition to the fines set forth in this subsection, an additional administrative fee of $2 per $10 of the amount of the fine(s) payable hereunder, or any fraction thereof, shall be payable to the Town of West Hartford by each person to whom a citation is issued.
D. 
The total cumulative fine in any case shall not exceed $600 per day nor shall the total penalty exceed $9,000.
E. 
Any owner, occupant, operator or agent of any premises who has received proper notice of violation of this code and failed to correct such violation by the date specified in such notice shall be punishable by a cumulative fine for each separate offense and shall be liable for payment to the Town of West Hartford within 30 calendar days of the request for payment thereof.
F. 
No fine shall be due while a reconsideration, hearing or appeal is pending in the matter; however, such action shall not prevent further accumulation of the penalty if the order is upheld.
G. 
The imposition of any fine shall not be construed to prevent the enforcement of other laws upon the premises nor to prevent the initiation of other enforcement measures or penalties.
H. 
Failure to pay any fine arising from the enforcement of this code shall constitute a debt in favor of the Town of West Hartford. The Director of Health may bring civil or criminal action against the debtor in court for the payment of such fine.
I. 
Upon failure to correct any violation of this code by the specified date, the Director of Health may, in addition to other penalties and actions, bring civil or legal action against the violator, may institute a civil action for injunctive relief to require abatement, may initiate enforced abatement or demolition procedures or declare the premises as unfit for human habitation.
A. 
Whenever an owner, operator or agent of any premises fails, neglects or refuses to make repairs or other corrective action ordered by the notice of violation issued pursuant to this code, the Director of Health by or through agents, employees, servants and/or contractors may undertake such repairs or action, when in the Director's judgment a failure to make them will endanger the public health, safety or welfare, and the cost of such repairs and action will not exceed 50% of the fair market value of the premises to be repaired.
B. 
Notice of the intention to make such repairs or take other corrective action shall be served upon the owner, operator or agent pursuant to § 105-53A(6) of this code.
C. 
Every owner, operator or agent of a premises who has received notice of the intention of the Director of Health through agents, employees, servants and/or contractors to make repairs or take other corrective action shall give entry and free access to the agent of the Director of Health for the purpose of making such repairs. Any owner, operator or agent of a premises who refuses, impedes, interferes with or hinders or obstructs entry by such agent pursuant to a notice of intention to make repairs or take other corrective action shall be subject to a penalty of not less than $50 for each such failure to comply with this section.
D. 
When repairs are made or other corrective action taken at the direction of the Director of Health, the cost of such repairs and corrective action shall constitute a debt in favor of the Town of West Hartford against the owner of the repaired structure. In the event such owner fails, neglects or refuses to pay the Town of West Hartford the amount of this debt within 10 days of written demand therefor, it shall be recoverable in a civil action against the owner or the owner's successor, brought in a court of competent jurisdiction by the Town of West Hartford which shall possess all rights of a private creditor.
A. 
The Director of Health shall declare any premises unfit for human habitation when any of the following defects or conditions is found and when in the Director's judgment such defect creates a hazard to the health, safety or welfare of the occupants or of the public:
(1) 
Any premises which is damaged, decayed, dilapidated, unsanitary, unsafe and/or vermin-infested and/or contains hazardous levels of lead-based paint or other substance.
(2) 
Any premises which lacks basic illumination, ventilation, plumbing, electrical, heating or required sanitation facilities.
(3) 
The general condition of the premises is unsanitary, unsafe and/or unhealthful.
(4) 
Any premises which is in violation of § 105-19B, 105-30A, 105-31 or 105-41B of this code.
B. 
Whenever any premises has been designated as unfit for human habitation, the Director of Health shall placard the premises indicating that it is unfit for human habitation and, if occupied, shall order such premises vacated within a reasonable time, said time to be not less than 24 hours nor more than 10 days. This section shall not restrict any action of the Director of Health in vacating such premises if acting under § 105-59 of this code.
C. 
Whenever any tenant in any premises is displaced as the result of the enforcement of this code, the owner of such building, dwelling, dwelling unit or structure shall be liable for any payments made by the Town to any displaced tenant pursuant to Chapter 135 of the General Statutes. The Director of Health may place a lien on any real property owned by such owner to secure repayment to the Town of such payments, such lien having the same priority as and shall be filed, enforced and discharged in the same manner as a lien for municipal taxes under Chapter 205 of the Connecticut General Statutes. If any owner fails to reimburse the Town for any payments which the Town has made to any displaced tenant and for which the landlord is liable, the Town may bring civil action against such owner in Superior Court for the recovery of such payments and for the costs of the Town, together with reasonable attorney's fees, in bringing such action.
D. 
Whenever any premises has been placarded and vacated, the Director of Health may order services and utilities to be turned off or disconnected and all utility meters to be removed. All charges for turning on such services and utilities shall be the owner's expense.
E. 
For any premises which has been designated as unfit for human habitation and vacated, it shall be the duty of the owner to close all windows, doors and other openings by suitable means so that unauthorized use or access into the premises is prevented.
F. 
No premises which has been designated as unfit for human habitation, has been placarded as such and vacated shall be used again for human habitation until written approval is secured from the Director of Health and the placard removed by the Director of Health.
G. 
The Director of Health shall rescind the designation as unfit for human habitation and remove the placard when the defect or condition upon which such designation and placarding was based has been removed or eliminated and the premises is deemed by the Director of Health as safe, sanitary and a fit place for human habitation.
H. 
No person shall deface or remove the placard from any premises which has been designated as unfit for human habitation and has been placarded as such, except as provided in Subsection F.
I. 
Whenever any premises has been designated as unfit for human habitation, such order shall be filed with the Town Clerk for inclusion in the land records of the Town.
J. 
Any person affected by any decision of the Director of Health or by any designation or placarding of a premises as unfit for human habitation shall upon request be granted a hearing on the matter before the Housing Code Appeals Board under the procedure set forth in § 105-58 of this code. However, such appeal will not stay the designation or placarding of a premises as unfit for human habitation and the actions required by such order.
A. 
The Director of Health shall order a premises to be demolished if it has been designated as unfit for human habitation, has been placarded as such, has been vacated, has not been put into proper repair so as to rescind the designation as unfit for human habitation and to cause the placard to be removed and is determined by the Director of Health not to warrant repair under § 105-55A.
B. 
The owner of any premises which has been ordered demolished shall be given notice of this order in the manner provided for service of notice in § 105-53 and shall be given a reasonable time, not to exceed 120 days, in which to demolish such structure.
C. 
Any owner aggrieved by the notice to demolish may, within seven days, seek a reconsideration of the matter in the manner hereinafter provided and may seek a hearing in the manner provided in § 105-58.
D. 
When the owner fails, neglects or refuses to demolish an unfit, unsafe or unsanitary premises within the requisite time, the Director of Health may apply to a court of competent jurisdiction for a demolition order. The court may grant such order when no reconsideration or hearing on the matter is pending. The cost of such demolition shall create a debt in favor of the Town of West Hartford against such owner; such costs shall be recoverable in a civil action brought by the Town of West Hartford which shall possess all the rights of a private creditor.
E. 
Whenever a premises is demolished, whether carried out by the owner or by the Director of Health, such demolition shall include the filling in of the excavation on which the demolished structure was located in such manner as to eliminate all potential danger to the public health, safety and welfare arising from such excavation.
F. 
All demolition shall be preceded by an inspection of the premises by the Director of Health to determine whether or not extermination procedures are necessary. If the premises is found to be infested, appropriate rat extermination to prevent the spread of rats to adjoining or other areas shall be instituted before, during and after demolition.
[Amended 6-25-2013]
A. 
The Zoning Board of Appeals for the Town of West Hartford shall also serve as the Housing Code Appeals Board. Any references in this code to the Housing Code Appeals Board shall be construed to refer to the Zoning Board of Appeals.
B. 
Any person aggrieved by a notice or order of the Director of Health issued in connection with any alleged violation of this chapter or of any applicable rule or regulation issued pursuant thereto or by any order requiring repair or demolition may apply to the Zoning Board of Appeals for a reconsideration of such notice or order, provided that such application is made within 14 calendar days after the date of the receipt of the original notice or order.
C. 
The Zoning Board of Appeals shall adopt reasonable rules and regulations for the conduct of its meetings and investigations and shall render all decisions and findings in writing to the applicant and the Director of Health; and all decisions and findings shall be made part of the public record. The applicant shall be notified by certified mail.
D. 
The Zoning Board of Appeals, upon receipt of an appeal, shall set a time and place for a hearing thereon and shall advise the applicant in writing of such time and place at least seven calendar days prior to the date of said hearing.
E. 
At such hearing, the applicant shall be given an opportunity to be heard and to show cause why such notice or order should be modified, extended, withdrawn or a variance granted.
F. 
The Zoning Board of Appeals, by a majority vote of the members present, may sustain, modify or withdraw the notice or order. The Zoning Board of Appeals may grant a variance by a majority vote of the full membership of the Board. The Zoning Board of Appeals may not alter in any manner in the amount of any fine or the imposition of any other enforcement action or penalty for violations, unless such notice or order is withdrawn.
G. 
The Zoning Board of Appeals may grant an extension of the time for compliance with any order or notice for not more than six months subject to conditions it deems appropriate, provided that the Zoning Board of Appeals makes specific findings of fact based on evidence relating to the following:
(1) 
There are practical difficulties or unnecessary hardships in carrying out the strict letter of the notice or order as it applies to the specific case that outweigh the benefits to the occupants and general public.
(2) 
Such an extension is in harmony with the general purpose and intent of this chapter in securing the public health, safety and general welfare.
(3) 
The extension will not serve the purpose of transferring responsibility for compliance to another party by, for example, sale or transfer of ownership.
(4) 
The violations continuing during the period of the extension will not constitute a danger to the health and safety of the occupants or the general public.
H. 
The Zoning Board of Appeals or the Director of Health, as a result of an administrative hearing held pursuant to Subsection C hereof, may grant a variance in a specific case and from a specific provision of this chapter subject to any conditions deemed necessary by the Board or the Director to assure continued conformance to the provisions of this chapter and the protection of the public health. Notwithstanding the above, the Board or the Director may grant the variance only if specific findings of fact are made based on evidence related to the following:
(1) 
There are practical difficulties or unnecessary hardships in carrying out the strict letter of any notice or order as it applies to the specific case that outweigh the benefits to the occupants and general public health.
(2) 
The effect of the variance will not be contrary to the health and safety of the occupants of the premises or the general public.
(3) 
An extension would not constitute an appropriate remedy under the circumstances of the particular case.
(4) 
Such variance is in harmony with the general purpose and intent of this chapter in securing the public health, safety and general welfare.
I. 
No variance shall be construed as having general application to the enforcement of the specific part of this code from which the variance is granted.
A. 
Whenever, in the judgment of the Director of Health, an emergency exists which requires immediate action to protect the public health, safety or welfare, an order may be issued, without a hearing or appeal, directing the owner, occupant, operator or agent to take such action as is appropriate to correct or abate the emergency. If circumstances warrant, the Director of Health may immediately act to correct or abate the emergency.
B. 
The owner, occupant, operator or agent shall be granted a hearing before the Housing Code Appeals Board on the matter upon his or her request, as soon as practicable, but such appeal shall in no case stay the abatement or correction of such emergency.
C. 
Whenever a violation of § 105-19, 105-20, 105-29A or 105-40B is noticed, the Director of Health may proceed under the authority granted by this section of the code, when in the Director's judgment the protection of the public health, safety and welfare requires that it take immediate action.
No rule, regulation or schedule of fines made or set by the Director of Health or the Housing Code Appeals Board pursuant to this Housing and Property Maintenance Code shall be effective except as provided in Chapter 34 of the Code of the Town of West Hartford.