Chapter 141, LIVABILITY STANDARDS

[Adopted 09/29/88 by Ord. No. 70. Amendments noted where applicable.]

ARTICLE I, General Provisions   141-33. Dwelling units prohibited in buildings with flammable liquids.
141-1. Title.   141-34. Fire-resistance ratings.
141-2. Scope.   141-35. Fire protection systems.
141-3. Intent.   ARTICLE X, Inspections
141-4. Applicability; exceptions.   141-36. Scope.
141-5. Tenant protection against retaliatory evictions.   141-37. Right of entry.
141-6. Compliance with Building Code.   141-38. Coordination of inspection.
ARTICLE II, Definitions and Word Usage   141-39. Reinspections.
141-7. Rules of interpretation.   ARTICLE XI, Alterations and Repairs
141-8. Definitions.   141-40. Authority to require repairs.
ARTICLE III, Responsibilities of Owners and Tenants   141-41. Alternatives.
141-9. General provisions.   ARTICLE XII, Condemnation
141-10. Responsibilities of property owner.   141-42. Authority.
141-11. Responsibilities of tenant.   141-43. Time for tenant to vacate.
ARTICLE IV, Environmental Requirements   141-44. Removal of placard.
141-12. General condition of premises.   141-45. Time limitation for closed buildings; demolition.
141-13. Exterior of building.   ARTICLE XIII, Demolition
141-14. Interior of building.   141-46. Ordering of demolition.
ARTICLE V, Light, Ventilation, and Utility Requirements   ARTICLE XIV, Housing Board of Review
141-15. Lighting requirements.   141-47. Establishment.
141-16. Ventilation.   141-48. (Reserved)
141-17. Required plumbing facilities.   141-49. Procedure.
141-18. Plumbing fixtures and connections.   141-50. Appeals; notice of appeal.
141-19. Water system.   141-51. Forms.
141-20. Sewage system.   ARTICLE XV, Enforcement
ARTICLE VII, Heating and Cooking Facilities   141-52. Authority of Code Official.
141-21. General provisions.   141-53. Notices and orders.
141-22. Water heating facilities.   141-54. Types of notices and orders.
141-23. Heating facilities.   141-55. Service of notices and orders.
141-24. Fuel-burning equipment.   141-56. Remedies for failure to comply.
141-25. Unauthorized devices.   141-57. Emergency action.
ARTICLE VIII, Electrical Facilities   141-58. Displacement.
141-26. Required service.   141-59. Waiver.
141-27. Receptacles.   141-60. Conflicting orders.
141-28. Defective system.   141-61. Transfer of ownership.
141-29. Installation.   ARTICLE XVI, Penalties
ARTICLE IX, Fire Safety Facilities   141-62. Criminal penalty.
141-30. Intent.   141-63. Enforcement.
141-31. Means of egress.   ARTICLE XVII, Conflicting Ordinances
141-32. Accumulations and storage.   141-64. Best conditions to prevail.
 

ARTICLE I, General Provisions

141-1. Title.

[Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

This chapter shall be known as the "Carroll County Minimum Livability Code." The short title shall be the "Livability Code."

141-2. Scope.

[Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

The Livability Code is created to protect the public health, safety, and welfare on all premises by:

 A. Establishing minimum requirements for basic equipment and facilities used for light, ventilation, heating and sanitation for the premises and for the safe and sanitary maintenance of those premises and the equipment thereon. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

 B. Establishing minimum requirements for providing means of egress, fire protection systems and other equipment and devices necessary for safety in the event of fire on the premises.

 C. Fixing the responsibilities of property owners and tenants.

 D. Providing for administration, inspection, enforcement and penalties.

141-3. Intent.

 [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

The Livability Code shall be construed to protect the public health, safety and welfare insofar as they are affected by the continued use, occupancy and maintenance of premises and the equipment thereon.

141-4. Applicability; exceptions.

The Livability Code shall apply to all premises, and the equipment thereon, which are located in Carroll County, other than those as listed below:

 A. Owner-occupied dwelling units.

 B. Premises and the equipment thereon, located within any municipality located in Carroll County that has adopted a local housing code containing provisions that substantially conform to the provisions of this chapter. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

 C. Any premises exempted by the Code Official or Housing Board of Review pursuant to this chapter. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

 D. Nothing in this chapter shall be interpreted to apply to nonhabitable buildings or structures which do not pose a hazard to health or constitute a nuisance in the judgment of the Health Officer or do not pose a hazard to the safety and welfare of any member of the public, including the property owner, occupant or tenant, in the judgment of the Code Official. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

141-5. Tenant protection against retaliatory evictions.

[Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

Any tenant who files a complaint under this chapter shall be entitled to the protection against retaliatory evictions contained in 8-208.1 or 8-208.2 (lead paint retaliatory evictions) of the Real Property Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

141-6. Compliance with Building Code.

[Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

All repairs, maintenance, alterations, installations or changes of use to any premises or the equipment thereon, which may be caused directly or indirectly by the enforcement of the Livability Code, shall be done in accordance with the Building Code.

ARTICLE II, Definitions and Word Usage

141-7. Rules of interpretation.

 A. Scope.  Unless otherwise expressly stated, the terms defined in 141-8 shall have the meanings indicated for purposes of this chapter. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

 B. Interchangeability.  Words used in the present tense include the future; words in the masculine gender include the feminine and neuter; the singular number includes the plural and the plural the singular; "shall" is always mandatory; "may" is optional.

 C. Terms not defined.  Where terms are not defined, through the methods authorized by this section, they shall have their ordinarily accepted meanings as the context shall imply.

141-8. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:

ACT -- Section 6-103 of Article 83B of the Annotated Code of Maryland. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

APPROVED or the phrase "WHICH HAVE RECEIVED ALL NECESSARY AND LEGALLY REQUIRED APPROVALS" -- When used with "building", "facility" or "equipment", any building, facility or equipment required by this chapter that was constructed or installed in accordance with the standards that applied at the time of construction or installation. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

BASEMENT -- That portion of a dwelling which is partly or completely below grade and having at least 50% of its floor to ceiling height below finished grade.

BUILDING -- That which is built or constructed, including without limitation because of enumeration, buildings or portions thereof, or any use, or occupancy whatsoever, and any structure thereon.

CENTRAL HEATING -- The heating system permanently installed and adjusted so as to provide the distribution of heat to all habitable areas. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

CODE OFFICIAL -- The Chief of the Bureau of Permits and Inspections or a duly authorized representative.

COMMON AREA -- Any area which the property owner controls, maintains, uses or has charge of, and is used by a combination of tenants or the property owner in combination with the tenant, including common egress areas such as, but not limited to, stairways, hallways, fire escapes and similar areas.

CONDEMN -- To declare a premises, or equipment thereon, unsafe or unfit for human use or occupancy.

CONTAMINATION -- The introduction into water of any substance, which may transfer infectious agents or other foreign substances (organic, inorganic, radiological or biological), in concentrations which may constitute a health hazard or impair the usefulness of the water.

DETERIORATION -- A decline in the condition of the premises, building thereon or equipment thereon such that the condition falls below the standards established by this chapter or any other applicable statutes, codes and ordinances. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

DWELLING -- A building containing one or more dwelling units, and shall include but not be limited to a single-family, two-family, multifamily dwelling and rooming house.

DWELLING UNIT -- A single housekeeping unit used, intended to be used, rented, leased, let or hired out to be occupied for human use and occupancy and providing or intended to provide complete facilities for living, sleeping, cooking or eating purposes for one or more occupants.

EXTERMINATION -- The control and elimination of insects, rodents or other pests by eliminating their harborage places; by removing or making inaccessible materials that may serve as their food; by poison spraying, fumigating, trapping, or by any other pest elimination methods which have received all necessary and legally required approvals.

GARBAGE -- All animal and vegetable waste including that resulting from the handling, preparation, cooking and consumption of food.

HABITABLE AREA -- The space in a building used for living, sleeping, eating, cooking, including bathrooms and toilet compartments. Closets, halls, storage or utility space and similar areas are not habitable areas. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

HOUSING BOARD OF REVIEW -- A Board appointed by the Commissioners of Carroll County pursuant to Article XIV of this chapter.

INFESTATION -- The presence of insects, rodents, vermin or other pests within or contiguous to a premises.

LEAD-BASED PAINT -- Shall have the same meaning prescribed in 6-801 of the Environment Article and COMAR 26.16.02.02. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

LEAD-BASED PAINT VIOLATION -- Enforcement of this provision shall be by applicable State agencies. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

MAINTENANCE -- The repair and other acts intended to prevent deterioration of premises, building or the equipment thereon.

MECHANICAL VENTILATION -- Ventilation by power-driven devices.

NATURAL VENTILATION -- Ventilation by opening to outer air; air through windows, skylights, doors, louvers, or stacks without power-driven devices.

OCCUPANT -- Any person occupying a premises owned by another.

OWNER-OCCUPIED -- A dwelling unit, occupied by the owner of the property in fee.

PERSON -- Any individual, agent, partnership, limited partnership, trust, estate, association, corporation, or employee thereof.

PLUMBING -- The materials, facilities, and fixtures used in the installation, maintenance, extension, or alteration of all piping, fixtures, appliances, and appurtenances within the scope of the Building Code. In appropriate context, this term may mean the work involved in installing, maintaining, extending or altering plumbing. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

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 the drainage system of the premises; or which requires both a water supply connection and a discharge system.

PREMISES -- A lot or parcel of land, including the buildings thereon.

PROPERTY OWNER -- Any person having legal title in the premises as recorded among the Land Records of Carroll County including the guardian of the estate of any such person or the executor or administrator of the estate of such person if ordered to take possession of the premises by a court, but shall not include a mortgagee or the trustees of a deed of trust if the same is used to secure a loan.

ROOMING HOUSE -- A building containing one or more rooming units which is used or designed to be used, for compensation, as an abiding place for individuals who are not related to the owner or lessee of the same.

ROOMING UNIT -- A single unit within a dwelling and for which the property owner or another receives compensation, which is intended to be used for living and sleeping, but not for cooking and eating. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

RUBBISH -- Refuse composed of paper, rags, cartons or boxes, wood, excelsior, rubber, leather, tree branches, yard trimmings, tin cans, metals, mineral matter, glass, crockery, dust and/or other similar materials, as well as the residue from the burning of wood, coal, coke, and other combustible materials. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

STAGNANT WATER -- Any accumulation of water that has not dispersed within seven days of the last recorded local rainfall.

STRUCTURALLY SOUND -- Free of deterioration and maintained capable of safely bearing the dead and live loads imposed upon them in accordance with the Building Code.

STRUCTURE -- Fences, signs, billboards, fire escapes, chute escapes, railings, water tanks, towers, open grade steps, sidewalks or stairways, tents or anything erected and framed of component parts which is fastened, anchored or rests on permanent foundation or on the ground.

TENANT -- Any person who has use of a dwelling unit or rooming unit, except a property owner.

UNFIT PREMISES -- A lot or parcel of land or part thereof, which is unfit for human use or occupancy, whenever the Code Official finds that a hazard or other condition exists that is a threat to public life, health, property or the safety and welfare of the occupants of the premises. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

UNFIT BUILDING -- A building or part thereof which is unfit for human use or occupancy, whenever the Code Official finds that a hazard or other condition exists that is a threat to public life, health, property or the safety and welfare of the occupants of the premises. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

UNSAFE EQUIPMENT -- Any boiler, heating equipment, cooking equipment, elevator, moving stairway, electrical wiring or device, flammable liquid containers or other equipment on the premises which is in such disrepair or condition that it is found by the Code Official to be a hazard to public life, health, property, the safety and welfare of the occupant of the premises. Unsafe equipment may contribute to the finding that the building is unsafe or unfit for human use or occupancy.

UNSAFE BUILDING -- A building or part thereof found by the Code Official to be a hazard to public life, health, property, or the safety of the occupant of the premises because it does not provide minimum protection from fire or because it is so damaged, decayed, dilapidated, structurally unsound, or of such faulty construction or unstable foundation that it is likely to partially or completely collapse.

USE -- In addition to its ordinary meaning, includes the right to use whether actually used or not.

VENTILATION -- The process of supplying and removing air by natural or mechanical means to or from any space.

WEATHER-TIGHT -- Free of holes, breaks, decayed or loose boards and any other conditions which might admit precipitation or other water seepage to the interior portions.

ARTICLE III, Responsibilities of Owners and Tenants

141-9. General provisions.

 A. Scope.  The provisions of this article shall govern the responsibilities of the property owner and tenant for the use and maintenance of premises and equipment thereon.

 B. Intent.  A property owner shall not rent or lease for use and occupancy any premises unless the premises and equipment thereon comply with the provisions of this chapter. A tenant may not sublease for use and occupancy any premises unless the premises and equipment thereon comply with the provisions of this chapter. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

 C. Application.  The property owner and tenant shall be responsible for compliance with the provisions of this chapter and may be cited for violations thereof. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

 D. Discontinuance of service or utility.  No property owner or tenant shall cause any service, facility, equipment or utility which is required to be supplied under this chapter to be removed from or shut off from or discontinued for any occupied dwelling let by the property owner, except for such temporary interruption as may be necessary while actual repair or alterations are in process, or during temporary emergencies when discontinuance is approved by the Code Official. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

141-10. Responsibilities of property owner.

 A. Hazardous conditions.  The property owner shall provide and maintain the premises free from substances or conditions determined by the Code Official to be a hazard to the occupants of said premises. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

 B. Sanitary conditions.  The property owner shall be responsible for keeping the common areas of a premises maintained in a clean, safe and sanitary condition.

 C. Disposal and storage of rubbish and garbage.  The property owner shall prevent the accumulation of and be responsible for the storage and disposal of rubbish and garbage from the common areas of the premises in a clean, safe and sanitary manner. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

 D. Refuse containers.  The property owner of a single premises having dwelling units and the property owner of a rooming house shall furnish and maintain refuse containers for the storage of rubbish and garbage and shall provide for the disposal of rubbish and garbage. All refuse containers shall be in a location accessible to the dwelling units and rooming units. [Amended 11/21/002 by Ord. No. 02-19]

 E. Supplied fixtures and equipment.  The property owner shall be responsible for maintaining equipment and fixtures which are supplied by the property owner to dwelling units or rooming units, in good and proper operating condition. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

 F. Extermination.

(1) Before occupancy.  If necessary, (due to infestation) the property owner shall be responsible for the prompt extermination of any insects, rodents or other pests on the premises prior to renting or leasing a dwelling unit or rooming unit. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

(2) When necessary.  The property owner of a premises shall be responsible for the extermination of any insects, rodents or other pests for that part of the premises which the property owner controls or uses except where the infestation is caused by the failure of a tenant to take responsible action to prevent such infestation of the premises. 

 G. Drainage.  The property owner of a premises shall be responsible for the grading and drainage of the premises as set forth in 141-12E.

 H. Weather-tight.  The property owner shall be responsible for providing and maintaining the dwelling weather-tight.

 I.  Fire safety.  The property owner shall be responsible for installing and maintaining in good working order any smoke detector installed pursuant to this chapter which shall be in accordance with the state fire laws, Article 38A, 12A, of the Annotated Code of Maryland, Smoke Detection Systems. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

 J.  Light and ventilation.  The property owner shall provide and maintain light and ventilation as required by this chapter. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

 K. Mechanical and electrical facilities.  The property owner shall provide and maintain mechanical and electrical facilities and equipment as required by this chapter. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

 L. Space requirements.  The property owner shall provide space for habitation as required by this chapter. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

 M. Tenant acting as property owner.  For purposes of this section, a tenant who leases a dwelling to another shall be considered a property owner and required to act as required by this chapter. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

141-11. Responsibilities of tenant.

 A. Hazardous conditions.  The tenant shall maintain the premises free from hazards due to the presence of substances or conditions determined by the Code Official to be a hazard to the occupants of said premises.

 B. Sanitary conditions.  The tenant shall be responsible for keeping that part of the premises which the tenant occupies, controls, or uses, including common areas, maintained in a clean, safe and sanitary condition.

 C. Disposal and storage of rubbish and garbage.  The tenant shall prevent the accumulation of rubbish and garbage, and shall be responsible for the storage and disposal of rubbish and garbage, in a clean, safe and sanitary manner for that part of the premises which is occupied, controlled, or used by the tenant.

 D. Refuse containers.  The tenant of a dwelling unit shall furnish and maintain refuse containers for the storage of, and provide for the disposal of rubbish and garbage that result from the occupancy of the dwelling unit.

 E. Supplied fixtures and equipment.  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.

 F. Furnished by tenant.  The tenant shall be responsible for the maintenance of equipment and fixtures furnished by the tenant. Such equipment and fixtures shall be properly installed and shall be maintained in good working condition, kept clean and sanitary, and free of defect, leaks or obstructions.

 G. Extermination.  The tenant shall be responsible for the extermination of any insects, rodents or other pests for that part of the premises where said infestation is caused by the failure of the tenant to take reasonable action to prevent infestation of the premises. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

 H. Access by property owner.  At reasonable times and upon reasonable notice, a tenant shall give the property owner, his/her agent or employee access to the dwelling unit or rooming unit for the purpose of inspections, maintenance, repairs, or alterations as are necessary to comply with the provisions of this chapter. In the event of an emergency, the owner has the right of immediate entry. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

 I.  Required heat.  Where the heating facilities of any dwelling are under the control of the tenant thereof, it shall be the responsibility of the tenant to operate the heating facilities in order to maintain above-freezing temperatures at all times in all portions of the dwelling so as to prevent injury, or damage to water pipes and plumbing. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

ARTICLE IV, Environmental Requirements

141-12. General condition of premises.

 A. Sanitation.  All premises shall be maintained in a clean, safe and sanitary condition and free from any accumulation of rubbish or garbage.

 B. Refuse containers.  All refuse containers shall be rodent-proof, insect-proof, weather-tight and kept structurally sound as to withstand handling stress, and shall be equipped with tight-fitting covers or similar closures.

 C. Insect and rodent control.  All premises shall be free from infestation of insects, rodents, vermin or other pests.

 D. Repeated incidents.  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 International Building Code, Appendix F. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

 E. Grading and drainage.  All premises shall be graded and maintained to provide for the safe and efficient drainage of roofs (except where design standards require) and paved areas, yards and courts, and other open areas on the premises and prevent the accumulation of stagnant water. All water shall be drained so as not to cause dampness in the walls, or to allow water seepage into the interior of a building. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

 F. Structural members.  All supporting structural members of a building shall be structurally sound.

 G. Lead-based paint.  All premises shall be maintained in compliance with the Environment Article, Subtitle 8, and COMAR (Reduction of Lead Risk in Housing). Enforcement of this provision shall be by applicable state agencies. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

141-13. Exterior of building.

 A. Exterior surfaces.  Every foundation, exterior wall, roof, and all other exterior surfaces shall be kept in good repair and in a condition to exclude rodents and other pests. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

 B. Foundation walls.  All foundation walls shall be structurally sound.

 C. Exterior walls.  Every exterior wall shall be weather-tight. All exterior surface materials, including wood, composition or metal siding, shall be properly surface-coated to prevent structural deterioration.

 D. Roofs and roof drainage.  The roof shall be structurally sound and weather-tight. Roof drainage shall be adequate to prevent precipitation from causing dampness, collapse or structural deterioration in the walls or interior portion of the building.

 E. Decorative features.  All cornices, entablatures, belt courses, corbels, terra-cotta trim, wall facings and similar decorative features shall be kept in good repair, structurally sound and properly anchored, or removed.

 F. Overhang extensions.  All canopies, marquees, signs, metal awnings, stairways, fire escapes, standpipes, exhaust ducts and similar overhang extensions shall be maintained in good repair, be structurally sound and properly anchored. All exposed surfaces of metal or wood shall be protected from the elements and against structural deterioration by the periodic application of weather-coating material such as paint or other protective treatment. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

 G. Chimneys and towers.  All chimneys, cooling towers, smoke stacks, and similar appurtenances shall be kept in good repair, structurally sound and properly flashed and caulked. All exposed surfaces of metal or wood shall be protected from the elements and against structural deterioration by the periodic application of weather-coating materials such as paint or other protective treatment.

 H. Stairs and porches.  Every exterior stair, porch, fire escape, balcony, and all appurtenances attached thereto shall be kept in good repair, be structurally sound and maintained in a clean, safe and sanitary condition.

 I.  Handrails and guardrails.  Handrails and guardrails shall be kept in good repair in accordance with the accepted engineering practices at the time the building was constructed. New or replaced handrails and guardrails shall be constructed and maintained in accordance with the Building Code. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

 J. Windows, doors and frames.  [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

(1) General.  

(a) Every window, door and frame shall be maintained so as to exclude precipitation and rodents.

(b) Every window and exterior door shall be fitted reasonably in its frame and be weather-tight.

(2) Operable windows.  Every window, other than a fixed window, shall be easily opened from the inside and shall be capable of being held in position.

(3) Window locks.  All operable windows shall be provided with a locking device capable of preventing entry into the window from the exterior of the building when in the locked position.

(4) 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.

(a) Alternatives.  The Code Official may approve alternatives to screens for exterior doors or other types of openings which make screening impractical. 

(5) Door hardware.  Every exterior door and its hardware shall be maintained in good condition. Door locks on all interior and exterior doors entering dwelling units shall be in good repair and capable of tightly securing the door.

141-14. Interior of building.

 A. Interior surfaces.  Floors, walls, windows, doors, ceilings, and other interior surfaces shall be maintained in good repair and in a clean, safe and sanitary condition.

 B. Bathroom and kitchen floors.  Every toilet, bathroom and kitchen floor surface shall be substantially impervious to water and capable of being maintained in a clean, safe and sanitary condition.

 C. Exit doors.  Every door available as an exit shall be maintained capable of being opened easily from the inside and providing unimpeded egress. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

 D. Exit facilities.  All stairs, railings and other exit facilities of a building shall be structurally sound, kept in good repair and capable of being used in a safe manner.

 E. Space Requirements.

(1) Bedroom.  Every room occupied for sleeping purposes by one occupant shall contain at least 70 square feet of floor area, and every room occupied for sleeping purposes by more than one person shall contain at least 50 square feet of floor area for each occupant thereof.

(2) Kitchen.  Every kitchen shall contain at least 50 square feet of floor area.

(3) Living room.  Every dwelling unit having 3 or more occupants shall provide a living room containing at least 120 square feet of floor area.

(4) Dining room.  Every dwelling unit having 3 or more occupants shall provide a dining room containing at least 80 square feet of floor area.

(5) Combined spaces.  Combined living room, dining room and bedroom spaces shall comply with the requirements of subsection E(1), (3) and (4) if the total area is equal to that required for separate rooms and if the space is so located that it functions as a combination living/dining/bedroom. 

 F. Prohibited uses.  Kitchens, bathrooms and combined nonhabitable, public and common areas shall not be used for sleeping purposes.

ARTICLE V, Light, Ventilation, and Utility Requirements

141-15. Lighting requirements.

 A. General.  All spaces shall be provided with natural or artificial light as to permit the maintenance of sanitary conditions, and the safe use of the space, appliances, equipment and fixtures.

 B. Common halls and stairways.  Every common hall and stairway, including exterior stairways, of a premises shall be provided with natural or artificial light with an average illumination equivalent to not less than three foot candles over the area at a height of 30 inches above the floor level and one foot candle at landings and treads.

 C. Habitable areas.  All habitable areas in a building shall be provided with natural or artificial light with an average illumination equivalent to not less than 6 foot candles over the area of the room at a height of 30 inches above the floor level.

 D. Nonhabitable areas.  Every hall, laundry room, furnace room, interior stairwell in a building, except as set forth in subsection B, shall be provided with natural or artificial light with an average illumination equivalent to not less than 3 foot candles over the area at a height of 30 inches above the floor level.

141-16. Ventilation.

 A. General.  All areas in a building and equipment thereon required by the Building Code to be ventilated shall be provided sufficient natural or mechanical ventilation as set forth in the Building Code.

 B. Mechanical ventilation.  Where mechanical ventilation is provided in lieu of natural ventilation, such mechanical ventilation system shall be maintained and kept in an operable condition during the occupancy of any portion of the building. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

141-17. Required plumbing facilities.

 A. General.  Every dwelling unit and rooming house shall be provided with plumbing facilities which can be used in privacy, and which are adequate for personal cleanliness and the disposal of human waste.

 B. Dwelling unit.

(1) Water closet.  Every dwelling unit shall contain a room separate from other habitable areas which provides a water closet supplied with cold running water and which affords privacy.

(2) Lavatory.  A lavatory shall be placed in the same room as the water closet or in an adjacent room in close proximity which contains a door leading directly into the room in which the water closet is located. The lavatory shall be supplied with hot and cold running water.

(3) Bathtub or shower.  Every dwelling unit shall contain a room which is equipped with a bathtub or shower supplied with hot and cold running water and which affords privacy.

(4) Kitchen sink.  Every dwelling unit shall contain a kitchen sink apart from the lavatory required under subsection B(2), and the kitchen sink shall be supplied with hot and cold running water. 

 C. Rooming house.  Every rooming house shall provide at least one water closet lavatory basin and bathtub or shower as required in subsection B(1), (2) and (3) for each 4 rooming units.

141-18. Plumbing fixtures and connections.

 A. General.

(1) All plumbing fixtures and connections thereto shall be maintained in a clean, safe and sanitary operating condition so as not to allow the breeding of insects and rodents, or allow production of dangerous or offensive gases or odors.

(2) All plumbing fixtures shall be of nonabsorbent material.

 B. Connections.  Water supply lines, plumbing fixtures, vents and drains shall be properly installed, connected and maintained in working order and shall be kept free from obstructions, leaks and defects and shall be capable of performing the function for which they are designed.

 C. Access for cleaning.  Plumbing fixtures shall be installed to permit easy access for cleaning both the fixture and the area around it.

141-19. Water system.

 A. General.  Every sink, lavatory, bathtub or shower, drinking fountain, water closet or other plumbing facility shall be properly connected to either a public water system or an approved private water system. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

 B. Water supply.  At all times the water supply system shall be installed and maintained to provide a supply of water to plumbing facilities, fixtures, devices and appurtenances in sufficient volume and at pressures adequate to enable them to function properly. The installation and maintenance of the water supply system shall be in accordance with the Building Code.

 C. Contamination.  The water supply shall be maintained free from contamination.

141-20. Sewage system.

 A. General.  Every sink, lavatory, bathtub or shower, drinking fountain, water closet or other plumbing facility shall be properly connected to either a public sewer system or an approved private sewage disposal system.

 B. Sewage disposal.  Every plumbing stack, waste and sewer line shall be installed and maintained so as to function properly and shall be kept free from obstruction, leaks and defects so as to prevent health hazards or deterioration of the premises.

ARTICLE VII, Heating and Cooking Facilities

141-21. General provisions.

 A. Installation.  All mechanical equipment used for heating and cooking shall be in accordance with the Building Code and as limited by this chapter. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

 B. Maintenance.  All mechanical equipment used for cooking and heating equipment shall be maintained in good working condition, and shall be capable of performing the function for which it was designed and intended.

141-22. Water heating facilities.

 A. Water heating facilities shall be installed in an approved manner and be equipped with emergency relief valves in accordance with the Building Code.

 B. Water heating facilities shall be properly connected with hot water lines to the fixtures required to be supplied with hot water and shall be capable of heating water to a temperature 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 no more than 110 F. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

141-23. Heating facilities.

 A. Requirements.

(1) Every dwelling unit and rooming 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 68 F. in all habitable areas during the hours between 6:30 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. and maintain a temperature of not less than 60 F. during other hours. The temperature shall be measured at a point 3 feet above the floor and 3 feet from exterior walls.

(2) Exception.  When the exterior temperature falls below 0 F. or the wind chill factor falls below 0 F. and the heating system is operating at its full capacity, the system must be capable of achieving a minimum room temperature of 60 F. at all times.

 B. Climate control.  When facilities for interior climate control (heating, cooling and humidity) are integrated, such facilities shall be maintained and operated in accordance with the designed capacity. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

141-24. Fuel-burning equipment.

 A. General.  All fuel-burning equipment shall be connected to a chimney, flu or vent in accordance with the Building Code and manufacturers' specifications. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

 B. Fireplaces.  Fireplaces, and other construction and devices intended for use similar to a fireplace, shall be structurally sound and connected to chimneys which have received all necessary and legally required approvals.

 C. Clearances.  All necessary and legally required clearances to combustible materials shall be maintained in accordance with the Building Code.

 D. Safety controls.  All safety controls for fuel-burning equipment shall be maintained in effective operation in accordance with the Building Code.

 E. Combustion air.  A supply of air for complete combustion of the fuel and for ventilation of the space shall be provided to the fuel-burning equipment.

141-25. Unauthorized devices.

 A. General.  Devices purporting to reduce gas consumption by attachment to an appliance, the gas suppy line or the vent outlet or vent piping shall not be used unless labeled for such use, and the installation has specifically received all necessary and legally required approvals.

 B. Prohibited use. 

(1) Portable cooking equipment employing flame is prohibited within a dwelling unit or rooming house except for approved residential-type food trays or salvers which are heated by a candle or alcohol lamp. Approved portable cooking equipment employing a flame may not be used unless a permanent cooking appliance is available in the dwelling unit. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

(2) Cooking is prohibited in any bedroom. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

 C. Space heaters.  A property owner or tenant shall not install, operate, or use in unvented (if required to be vented) or unsafe self-contained heating appliance of either the circulating or radiant type.

ARTICLE VIII, Electrical Facilities

141-26. Required service.

Every dwelling unit, rooming unit and all public and common areas shall be supplied with adequate electric service and outlets which shall be connected to a source of electric power in accordance with the Building Code.

141-27. Receptacles.

 A. Required number.  Every habitable area shall contain at least 2 separate receptacle outlets installed in accordance with the Building Code.

 B. Exception.  Every bathroom shall contain at least one receptacle outlet and be a ground-fault circuit-interrupter type.

 C. Ground-fault circuit-interrupters.  All existing 125 volt receptacles within 6 feet of the kitchen sink above counter top surfaces shall have ground-fault circuit-interrupter protection.

141-28. Defective system.

Where it is found that the electrical system in a building is unsafe and constitutes a hazard to the occupants, the Code Official shall require the service be corrected or upgraded, in accordance with the Building Code to the minimum amperage required to carry the load.

141-29. Installation.

 A. Compliance with Building Code.  All electrical equipment, wiring and appliances shall be installed and maintained in accordance with the Building Code.

 B. Required approvals.  All electrical equipment shall be of a type which has received all necessary and legally required approvals.

ARTICLE IX, Fire Safety Facilities

141-30. Intent.

All buildings shall be constructed and maintained to prevent and avoid fire hazards and be conducive to fire safety.

141-31. Means of egress.

 A. General.  A safe, continuous and unobstructed means of egress shall be provided from the interior of a building to the exterior at a street, yard, court, or passageway leading to a public open area at grade.

 B. Direct exit.  Every dwelling unit and rooming unit shall have access directly to the outside or to a common area that leads directly to the outside.

 C. Fire escapes.  All fire escapes shall be in good working condition and be structurally sound.

 D. Emergency escape.  Every sleeping room shall have emergency egress in accordance with the Building Code.

 E. Exit doors.  All doors in the means of egress required by subsection A shall be easily opened from the interior side.

 F. Exit signs,  If exit signs are required, they shall be illuminated and visible in accordance with the Building Code.

141-32. Accumulations and storage.

 A. General.  Garbage or rubbish shall not be allowed to accumulate or be stored overnight in stairways, passageways, doors, windows, fire escapes, or other means of egress.

 B. Flammable matter.  Highly flammable or explosive matter, such as paints, volatile oils and cleaning fluids or combustible rubbish such as waste paper, boxes and rags, shall not be allowed to accumulate or be stored on the premises except in reasonable quantities consistent with normal residential usage.

141-33. Dwelling units prohibited in buildings with flammable liquids.

A dwelling unit or rooming unit shall not be located within a building containing an establishment handling, dispensing or storing flammable liquids with a flash point of 100 F. or lower, except as allowed in the Building Code.

141-34. Fire-resistance ratings.

 A. General.  Floors, walls, ceilings, and other elements and components which are required by the Building 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.

 B. Fire doors.  All necessary and legally required fire-resistance rated doors or smoke barriers shall be in good working order, including all hardware necessary for the proper operation thereof. Unless approved by the Code Official, door stops, wedges, and other devices used to hold fire doors open shall be prohibited.[Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

141-35. Fire protection systems.

 A. General.  All fire protection systems and equipment shall be in proper operating condition at all times.

 B. Smoke detectors.  All dwelling units and rooming houses shall be provided with a minimum of one single station smoke detector in the vicinity of each sleeping area. The smoke detectors shall be installed in accordance with the Building Code. When activated, the smoke detector shall provide an alarm suitable to warn the occupants within the unit. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

 C. Fire suppression systems.  Fire suppression systems in buildings shall be in good condition and free from mechanical defect. Sprinkler heads shall be kept clean and free of corrosion and paint, and shall not be bent or damaged. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

 D. Fire extinguishers.  All portable fire extinguishers in buildings shall be visibly accessible and maintained in an efficient and good working condition and shall be capable of performing the function for which designed and intended. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

ARTICLE X, Inspections

141-36. Scope.

 [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

Upon complaint or whenever the Code Official has reasonable grounds to believe that a violation has occurred, the Code Official shall cause the premises and equipment thereon to be inspected.

141-37. Right of entry.

  [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

A. General.  The Code Official is authorized to enter any premises at a reasonable time for the purpose of making inspections and performing duties as authorized under this chapter.

 B. Obstruction.  If any person refuses, impedes, inhibits, interferes with, restricts, or obstructs the Code Official's entry and free access to any part of the premises when making inspections and performing duties as authorized under this chapter, the Code Official may seek, in a court of competent jurisdiction, an order that the person cease and desist interference. 

 C. Credentials.  The Code Official shall present credentials, upon request, when making inspections and performing duties as authorized under this chapter.

141-38. Coordination of inspection.

Whenever, in the opinion of the Code Official it is deemed necessary or desirable to have inspections by any other governmental official or agency, the Code Official shall arrange for the coordination of such inspections so as to minimize the number of visits by inspectors, and they shall be authorized to enter the premises on the same basis as the Code Official.

141-39. Reinspections.

[Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

In the event no appeal is taken to the Housing Board of Review pursuant to 141-50, the Code Official shall reinspect the premises or equipment thereon, to determine if the violation has been corrected. If upon reinspection the violation is determined by the Code Official not to have been corrected, the Code Official may take action to correct said violation, pursuant to 141-56.

ARTICLE XI, Alterations and Repairs

141-40. Authority to require repairs.

[Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

The Code Official has the authority to require any alterations or repairs necessary to bring a premises or equipment thereon into compliance with this chapter. The Code Official's determination of what may be necessary to bring such premises or equipment thereof into compliance shall take into consideration the use of alternatives as provided for in 141-41.

141-41. Alternatives.

[Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

The Code Official shall have the authority to approve alternatives to any alterations or repairs when conditions are encountered which make the originally approved work impractical, provided that such alternatives can be readily determined to be in compliance with this chapter, and are requested in writing by the property owner or tenant prior to such changes. The party requesting the alternative shall specifically describe the alternative and the reasons and justification for the change.

ARTICLE XII, Condemnation

141-42. Authority.

When a premises or equipment thereon is found by the Code Official to be unsafe or unfit, the Code Official shall condemn and placard such premises or equipment thereon. The Code Official may order the premises or building thereon closed and vacated or order the equipment not to be used. The premises or building thereon shall not be reoccupied or equipment thereon used without prior approval of the Code Official.

141-43. Time for tenant to vacate.

Any person ordered to vacate a premises or building pursuant to 141-42 shall do so within the time given in accordance with applicable laws. Alternative housing shall be provided that person pursuant to 141-58B.

141-44. Removal of placard.

No person shall deface or remove a condemnation placard without prior approval of the Code Official.

141-45. Time limitation for closed buildings; demolition.

[Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

No building ordered vacated shall remain closed for a period longer than 90 days unless approved by the Code Official. If not repaired so the building is fit for human use and occupancy, the property owner shall cause the building to be demolished.

ARTICLE XIII, Demolition

141-46. Ordering of demolition.

The Code Official may order the property owner of a premises upon which is located any condemned building or not repaired pursuant to 141-45, to have the building demolished.

ARTICLE XIV, Housing Board of Review

141-47. Establishment.

[Amended 10/16/03 by Ord. No. 03-20]

A Housing Board of Review shall be created to hear and decide appeals of orders, decisions or determinations made by the Code Official relative to the application and interpretation of this chapter. The Housing Board of Review shall be the County Commissioners of Carroll County or not less than 3 persons whom the County Commissioners may designate.

141-48. (Reserved)

[Deleted 10/16/03 by Ord. No. 03-20]

141-49. Procedure.

[Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

The Board shall establish rules and regulations for its own procedure not inconsistent with the provisions of this chapter.

141-50. Appeals; notice of appeal.

[Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

Whenever it is claimed that the true intent and meaning of this chapter or any of the regulations thereunder have been misconstrued or wrongly interpreted, the property owner or other person affected by the decision may appeal the decision of the Code Official to the Board. Notice of appeal shall be in writing and filed with the Code Official within 30 days.

141-51. Forms.

Appeals hereunder shall be on forms provided by the Code Official.

ARTICLE XV, Enforcement

141-52. Authority of Code Official.

[Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

The Code Official shall have the authority to enforce the provisions of this chapter by issuing all notices and orders necessary to ensure compliance with this chapter, make the needed repairs to premises and equipment thereon, close and vacate any premises, or demolish any building thereon, and provide for alternate housing to a displaced person.

141-53. Notices and orders.

 A. General.  The Code Official may issue a notice or order to the property owner, tenant, or upon the holder of any encumbrance of record upon a determination that:

(1) There has been a violation of this chapter. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

(2) The Code Official has reasonable grounds to believe that a violation has occurred.

(3) The Code Official has deemed it necessary to make needed repairs to correct a violation. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

(4) The Code Official has made a determination to condemn a premises or equipment thereon. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

(5) The Code Official has made a determination to close and vacate any premises. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

(6) The Code Official has deemed it necessary to demolish any building. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19] 

 B. Application.  The Code Official shall issue a notice or order pursuant to 141-55, except as provided for in 141-57.

 C. Date to comply.  All notices and orders shall specify a date in which the property owner or tenant shall comply therewith.

141-54. Types of notices and orders.

 A. Notice of violation and corrective action.  Whenever the Code Official determines that there has been a violation of this chapter, the Code Official shall issue a notice of violation and corrective action notice to the property owner, tenant or upon the holder of any encumbrance of record. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

 B. Notice of intent to make repairs.  Before the Code Official makes any repairs to correct a violation, pursuant to 141-56, the Code Official shall issue a notice of intent to make repairs to the property owner, tenant, or upon the holder of any encumbrance of record.

 C. Condemnation order.  If the Code Official deems a premises or equipment thereon to be unsafe or unfit, the Code Official shall issue a condemnation order to the property owner, tenant, or upon the holder of any encumbrance of record.

 D. Order to close and vacate.  Upon the Code Official condemning a premises or equipment thereon, the Code Official may issue an order to close and vacate to the property owner, tenant, or upon the holder of any encumbrance of record. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

 E. Demolition order.  If the Code Official deems it necessary to order a condemned building demolished, the Code Official shall issue a demolition order to the property owner, or upon the holder of any encumbrance of record.

141-55. Service of notices and orders.

 A. A notice or order shall be deemed to be properly served by one of the following methods:

(1) By delivering to the person to be served a copy of the notice or order.

(2) By mailing to the person to be served, at his/her last known address, by certified or registered mail with return receipt requested, a copy of the notice or order.

 B. If the notice or order required by subsection A(2) is returned with receipt showing that it is unable to be delivered, service can be accomplished by posting a copy of the notice or order in a conspicuous place in or about the premises affected by the notice.

141-56. Remedies for failure to comply.

[Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

In the event a property owner or tenant fails to perform an act required by this chapter or by the Code Official, after notice is served, the County may cause the act to be performed by its own labor or by contract, and the violating party shall be responsible for the costs thereof. The County Attorney may institute any appropriate action or proceedings to recover these costs from the violating party.

141-57. Emergency action.

[Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

Whenever, in the opinion of the Code Official, a hazard exists which requires immediate action to protect the public health, safety or welfare, the Code Official may, without notice, take action to correct the hazard, and the person responsible for causing the action to be performed shall be responsible for the costs thereof. The County Attorney may institute any appropriate action or proceeding to recover these costs.

141-58. Displacement.

 A. General.  No person may be displaced unless the Code Official determines that continued habitation will constitute a substantial risk to the person's health, safety or welfare. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

 B. Relocation.  The property owner shall provide any person, displaced by enforcement of this chapter, with housing of comparable affordability within a reasonable distance of the vacated premises. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

 C. Exception.  If displacement is a direct result of action taken by the Code Official against the tenant or a result from an act of God, the property owner is not responsible for relocation of the tenant.

 D. Failure to comply.  If a property owner fails or refuses to relocate a displaced person, the Code Official shall provide alternate housing until such time as the Code Official authorizes reoccupation of the condemned premises or until the property owner provides alternative housing. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

 E. Liability of costs.  The property owner shall be responsible for all necessary and reasonable costs of displacement or relocation pursuant to subsection D above. In addition, the displaced person shall continue to be responsible for the payment of rent in the same amount as paid to the property owner immediately prior to the displacement to be paid to the County. The property owner shall be responsible for the difference between the rent as paid prior to displacement and the rent required for the alternative housing. The County Attorney may institute appropriate action or proceeding to recover these costs from the property owner.

141-59. Waiver.

 A. General.  The Code Official may waive applicability of this chapter, in whole or part, on application of the property owner if: [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

(1) Adequate notice in a form and manner specified by the Code Official is afforded any tenant of the unit.

(2) The tenant affected is afforded an opportunity to comment on the application either in writing or in person.

(3) The waiver would not threaten the public health, safety or welfare of any occupant of the premises. 

 B. Exception.  The Code Official may waive applicability of this chapter if the waiver is required by the religious practices of the tenant of the dwelling unit and the waiver would not constitute a safety hazard. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

 C. Applicability.  Any waiver granted pursuant to this chapter shall continue in full force and effect, unless otherwise stated, beyond the term of the lease of the current tenant. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

141-60. Conflicting orders.

The Code Official shall confer with the other governmental official or agency for the purpose of eliminating conflicting orders before any are issued. The Code Official shall not, however, cause the delay of the issuance of any orders by any governmental official or agency which the governmental official or agency determines must be issued.

141-61. Transfer of ownership.

[Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

A property owner who has received any notice of violation or order shall not sell, transfer, mortgage, lease or otherwise dispose of the premises until he/she has complied with the notice or order or until the property owner shall first furnish the grantee, transferee, mortgagee or lessee a true copy of the notice or order issued by the Code Official and shall furnish to the Code Official a signed and notarized statement from the grantee, transferee, mortgagee or lessee, in which he/she acknowledges the receipt of the notice or order and state that he/she fully accepts and assumes the responsibility, without condition, for compliance with such notice or order.

ARTICLE XVI, Penalties

141-62. Criminal penalty.

[Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

Any person who fails to perform any act required by any provision of this chapter, or any person who violates any provision of this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be subject to a fine of up to $500.00, imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding 3 months, or both. Each day the violation continues shall be deemed a separate offense.

141-63. Enforcement.

 A. General.  Any penalty ordered under this chapter is in addition to and is not a substitute for any other penalty authorized under a federal, state, or local law. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

 B. Other actions.  In addition to any other remedy or penalty provided herein, the County Attorney is authorized to institute all appropriate actions or proceedings to prevent or abate a violation of this chapter or to enforce a requirement of this chapter. [Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19] 

ARTICLE XVII, Conflicting Ordinances

141-64. Best conditions to prevail.

[Amended 11/21/02 by Ord. No. 02-19]

If this chapter conflicts with any other law or ordinance for the construction, repair, alteration or use of buildings, equipment or facilities, the one which requires that properties be kept in the best possible condition shall prevail.