Town of Bel Air, MD
Harford County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Town Commissioners of the Town of Bel Air 3-11-1980 by Ord. No. 310 as Ch. 8, Art. 4 of the 1980 Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Building construction — See Ch. 145.
Electrical standards — See Ch. 180.
Fire prevention — See Ch. 204.
Health and sanitation — See Ch. 240.
Minimum Livability Code — See Ch. 301.
Plumbing and gas fitting standards — See Ch. 353.

§ 364-1 Maintenance required; duties of occupants. [1]

Every dwelling and every part thereof shall be kept clean and free from any accumulation of dirt, filth, rubbish, garbage or similar matter and shall be kept free from vermin or rodent infestation. All yards, lawns, lots, or courts shall be similarly kept clean and free from rodent infestation. It shall be the duty of each occupant of a dwelling unit to keep in a clean condition the portion of the property which he occupies or over which he has exclusive control. If an occupant shall fail to keep his portion of the property clean, the Town Building Official may send a written notice to the occupant to abate such nuisance within the time specified in such notice. Failure of an occupant to comply with such notice shall be deemed a municipal infraction and a violation of this chapter. In the event of such failure, an occupant shall be fined as provided in § 364-13 for each day or portion thereof during which the violation continues.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. III).

§ 364-2 Obstruction of sanitary sewer. [1]

It shall be unlawful for any person willfully or maliciously to deposit any material in any toilet, bathtub, sink or other plumbing fixture which may result in the obstruction of any sanitary sewer. Violations of this section shall be a municipal infraction and any violator shall be fined as provided in § 364-13 for each violation. Liability on the part of the occupant shall not relieve the owner of the responsibility of cleaning any resultant chokage.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. III).

§ 364-3 Dwelling to be maintained in good repair.

Every dwelling and every part thereof shall be maintained in good repair by the owner or agent and fit for human habitation. The roof shall be maintained so as not to leak, and all rainwater shall be drained and conveyed therefrom so as not to cause dampness in the walls or ceilings.

§ 364-4 Order to abate dangerous or unhealthy conditions. [1]

A. 
Whenever any dwelling or any building, structure, excavation, business pursuit, matter, condition or thing in or about a dwelling or the lot on which it is situated or the plumbing, sewerage, drainage, light or ventilation thereof is found by the Town Building Official to be dangerous or detrimental to life or health, the Town Building Official may order that the matter, condition or thing be removed, abated, suspended, altered or otherwise improved, as his or her order may specify. If any such order of the Town Building Official issued under the authority of the provisions of this section is not complied with within 10 days after the service thereof, or within such shorter time as he or she may designate as being necessary under the circumstances, then such order may be executed, and the expenses incurred incident to such order shall be paid by the owner of the property and until so paid shall be a lien upon the realty and recoverable as other liens on realty in the Town, or the Town Building Official may order the premises vacated.
B. 
Before proceeding to execute an order under Subsection A, the Town Building Official shall post a notice on the front of the building stating that since such order was not complied with within the time mentioned in such notice, the Town Building Official will proceed to execute the same at the expiration of an additional five days and charge the cost thereof to the owner of the premises. A copy of such notice shall be sent to the owner of the property, or his agent, if names and addresses, on diligent search, can be ascertained, and such notice shall be posted on the premises at least five days before the Town Building Official proceeds to incur expenses, unless the condition is of such a character requiring immediate action, in which case the time of the notice shall be such as, in the judgment of the Town Building Official, is reasonable and proper. The Town Building Official shall deliver a copy of said expense to the Town Director of Finance, who shall record or file the same in a book or file open to public inspection.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. III).

§ 364-5 Order to vacate dwelling. [1]

Whenever it shall be found by the Town Building Official that a dwelling is unfit for human habitation or dangerous to life or health by reason of want of repair, of defects in the drainage, plumbing, lighting, or ventilation or the construction of the same, or by reason of the existence on the premises of any condition likely to cause sickness or injury among the occupants of the dwelling, or for any other cause affecting the public health, the Town Building Official may issue an order requiring such dwelling to be vacated. A copy of such order shall be posted on the front of the dwelling at least 10 days before it shall be effective, unless the situation is of a character requiring immediate action, in which case the effective time of the order shall be such as in the judgment of the Town Building Official is reasonable and proper. A copy of such order shall be sent to the owner of the property, or his agent, if names and addresses, on diligent search, can be ascertained. The dwelling so ordered to be vacated shall not again be occupied until a written statement shall have been secured from the Town Building Official showing that the dwelling or its occupation has been made to comply with this Code or any other existing law. Any violation of said order shall be a municipal infraction and a violator shall be fined as provided in § 364-13 for each day or fraction thereof during which a violation continues.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. III).

§ 364-6 Determination of owner. [1]

Whenever any person shall be in actual possession of or have charge, care, or control of any property within the Town as executor, administrator, trustee, guardian or agent, such person shall be deemed and taken to be the owner of such property within the true intent and meaning of this chapter and shall be bound to comply with the provisions of this chapter to the same extent as the owner, and notice to any such person of any order or decision of the Town Building Official shall be deemed and taken to be a good and sufficient notice as if such person were actually the owner of such property.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. III).

§ 364-7 Additional rules and regulations.

The Commissioners are hereby authorized and empowered to make and adopt such rules and regulations as they may deem proper and necessary for the enforcement of this chapter for the better protection of the health of the Town.

§ 364-8 Minimum Livability Code.

A Minimum Livability Code is established to provide minimum standards for property maintenance for basic equipment and facilities used for light, ventilation, heating and sanitation for rental housing units and premises and for safe and sanitary maintenance of rental housing units and premises. The rules and regulations of the Minimum Livability Code are set forth in Chapter 301 of the Town Code.

§ 364-9 Unlawful conditions.

It shall be unlawful for any person owning, leasing, renting, occupying or having charge or possession of any property in the Town to maintain or to allow to be maintained such property in such manner that any of the following conditions are found to exist thereon, except as may be allowed by any other provision of law:
A. 
The accumulation of dirt, litter, rubbish, garbage or debris on the property which is visible from a public street.
B. 
Clotheslines or clothes hanging in front yards, porches or balconies.
C. 
Trash, garbage or refuse cans, bins, boxes or other such containers stored in front or side yards and visible from a public street except as permitted by Chapter 240, Article III of the Town Code.
D. 
Packing boxes, lumber, trash, salvage materials, or other debris kept on the property and visible from a public street.
E. 
Attractive nuisances dangerous to children, including abandoned, broken or neglected automotive equipment or machinery, visible from a public street, and refrigerators and freezers, hazardous pools, ponds and open excavations in any location.
F. 
Broken or discarded furniture, household equipment and furnishings, or shopping carts stored on the property and visible from a public street.
G. 
Overgrown vegetation likely to harbor rats, vermin and other nuisances dangerous to public health, safety and welfare or obstructing the necessary view of drivers on public streets or private driveways and visible from a public street.
H. 
Dead, decayed, diseased or hazardous trees, weeds or other vegetation constituting unsightly appearance, dangerous to public safety and welfare or visible from a public street.
I. 
Graffiti or other words or letters which remain on the exterior of any building or fence and are visible from a public street.
J. 
Vehicle parts, an accumulation of bicycles or bicycle parts or other articles of personal property which are abandoned or left in a state of partial construction or repair for an unreasonable period of time in front yards, side yards, driveways, sidewalks or walkways and are visible from a public street.
K. 
Mobile homes, recreational vehicles, utility trailers and unmounted camper tops, automobiles, trucks, or other vehicles that are stored in violation of Article 6 or Article 9 of the Town of Bel Air Development Regulations.
L. 
Buildings which are not being maintained in a state of good repair, abandoned, partially destroyed, or left in a state of partial construction and such buildings which are unpainted or where the paint on the building exterior is mostly worn off.
M. 
Vehicles parked on grassed areas which are not part of an established or approved driveway or lane and which are visible from a public street.
N. 
Parking lots which abut commercial properties and which are not being maintained in a state of good repair and present a safety hazard to the general public due to trash, potholes, broken curb, broken wheel stops, or loose gravel or macadam.

§ 364-10 Declaration of public nuisance.

Any property found to be maintained in violation of the foregoing section is hereby declared to be a public nuisance and shall be abated by rehabilitation, removal, demolition, or repair pursuant to the procedures set forth herein. The procedures for abatement set forth herein shall not be exclusive and shall not in any manner limit or restrict the Town from enforcing other Town ordinances or abating public nuisances in any other manner provided by law.

§ 364-11 Notification of nuisance.

Whenever the Town Building Official determines that any property within the Town is being maintained contrary to one or more of the provisions of § 364-9, he shall give written notice ("notice to abate") by certified mail to the owner and/or tenant of said property stating the section(s) being violated. Such notice shall set forth a reasonable time limit as determined by the Building Official in his sole discretion for correcting the violation(s) and may also set forth suggested methods of correcting the same.

§ 364-12 Abatement by Town; recovery of costs.

[Amended 6-18-2007 by Ord. No. 699-07]
A. 
If such nuisance is not abated as ordered within said abatement period, the Town Building Official shall cause the same to be abated by Town employees or private contract. The Town Building Official is expressly authorized to enter upon said property for such purposes. The cost, including incidental expenses, of abating the nuisance shall be billed to the owner and/or occupant and shall become due and payable 30 days from the bill date and will incur interest at the rate of 1 1/2% per month until paid. The term "incidental expenses" shall include, but not be limited to, personnel costs, both direct and indirect, including attorney fees; costs incurred in documenting the nuisances; the actual expenses and costs of the Town in the preparation of notices, specifications and contracts and in inspecting the work; and the costs of printing and mailing required hereunder. A person shall not obstruct, impede, or interfere with the Town Building Official, or his representative, or with any person who owns or holds any interest or estate in any property in the performance of any necessary act, preliminary to or incidental, in carrying out an abatement order issued pursuant to this chapter.
B. 
The nuisance abatement costs to be assessed against each property pursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall be a lien upon such property until paid, to be collected in the same manner as municipal taxes are collected. Liens hereby established shall be subject only to liens for state, county, and municipal real estate taxes.

§ 364-13 Violations and penalties. [1]

For any violation hereunder, the property owner and/or occupant will be guilty of a municipal infraction and a fine may be imposed as provided in Chapter 1, Article II of this Code per violation per day for every day the violation continues.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. III).

§ 364-14 Appeals.

Any person shall have the right to appeal to the Board of Building Appeals, as established pursuant to Town of Bel Air Building Code,[1] a decision of the Town Building Official regarding the provisions of this chapter.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 10, Art. VIII, Board of Building Appeals, and Ch. 145, Building Construction.