The Mayor and City Council of Havre de Grace will hold a public hearing Monday night to discuss Ordinance 934, which concerns the rental property code. The Public Hearing will be held at 7:00 p.m. in City Hall located at 711 Pennington Ave. Havre de Grace, MD 21078.
The proposed ordinance recommends changes to the cit’s Rental Propery Code, which are listed below:
Section 205-11 Residential Rental Property
A. The requirements of this section shall apply to real property located within the City of Havre de Grace which contain one or more residential units which are rented or leased to a tenant.
B. The requirements of this section shall be enforced by the City Planning Department, or any other person directed by the Mayor.
C. The legal owner of record of a real property used for residential rental purposes shall obtain an annual rental housing license from the City of Havre de Grace to operate a building or dwelling unit as a residential rental. The license applies per rental unit within a building or dwelling unit.
D. The legal owner of record shall complete one application per building or dwelling, listing all rental units and/or dwelling units therein. The application for a rental housing license shall contain the name, mailing address and telephone number of the property owner and emergency contact information for the owner or property manager or agent authorized to act for the owner on all matters relating to the rental housing. The rental housing license shall also specify the exact location of every rental unit within a building and if applicable the total number of rental units within such building. Corporations, limited liability companies, or other legal entities, must provide proof that they are in good standing and if a foreign corporation qualified to do business in the State of Maryland, and the name of their resident agent. All owners or property managers who are authorized to act for the owner shall provide the City with emergency contact information and shall keep such information current.
E. If a licensee changes address, changes emergency contact information, changes the resident agent or transfers ownership, the licensee shall notify the City in writing within ten (10) calendar days of any such change and provide the new information. The City may reprimand, fine, suspend or revoke any license for failure to notify the City in accordance herewith.
F. A rental housing license may not be issued or renewed by the City unless the owner of the building or dwelling unit has applied to the City on the application form provided and has paid the applicable license fee as adopted by the Mayor and City Council by resolution or ordinance.
G. As part of the rental housing license application, and as a precondition to the City’s acceptance of the application, the owner shall:
1. Consent to inspections by the City or other authorities having jurisdiction to determine if the building or dwelling unit is in compliance with all applicable building, maintenance and life safety codes or requirements.
2. The owner shall certify that to its knowledge there are no known violations of the applicable building, maintenance and life safety codes or requirements within the building or dwelling unit. Inspections of buildings or dwelling units prior to the issuance of a license are not required.
3. The owner shall comply, operate and maintain the building or dwelling unit in accordance with the provisions of this ordinance and the applicable building, maintenance and life safety codes within the City.
H. A rental housing license shall be issued for a period of one (1) year from the date of issuance, unless sooner revoked.
I. A rental housing license may not be renewed unless an application for renewal has been made before the expiration of the current license. A penalty fee in an amount established by resolution or ordinance of the Mayor and City Council shall accompany any renewal application filed after expiration of the existing license. All fees and penalties must be paid in full prior to the issuance of the license or renewal.
J. Any person who fails to obtain a rental housing license as required herein, and continues to rent, lease or let any building or dwelling unit, after first having been given thirty (30) calendar days written notice or hand delivery and posting of the property of that person’s failure to obtain the required license, and who has actual notice of the requirement, shall be guilty of a municipal infraction and is subject to a fine in an amount established by resolution of the Mayor and City Council. Each day that a building or dwelling unit continues to be let or rented without having the required license shall be a separate offense.
K. If the City receives a complaint or has reasonable cause to believe that the building or dwelling unit does not comply with all applicable laws and requirements, including the requirements of this ordinance, the City is authorized to inspect the building or dwelling unit.
1. If, upon inspection the City determines that a violation(s) poses a serious and immediate threat to the life, safety, property or health of the occupants of the building or dwelling unit, the rental housing license may be suspended immediately. Notice of such immediate suspension due to violation(s) involving imminent danger shall be made by certified mail to the owner or agent listed on the application and/or by any means calculated to provide immediate actual notice.
2. If, upon inspection the Department of Planning determines that a violation(s) exists, but there is no serious and immediate threat to the life, safety, property or health of the residents/tenants of the dwelling, dwelling unit or rooming unit, and for which the license was not immediately suspended, written notice shall be sent by certified mail to the owner or agent, as listed on the license application, directing that the violation(s) be corrected within a set period of time as determined by the Director of Planning from the date of the notice. If such violation(s) is/are not corrected to the satisfaction of the Director, the City may reprimand, fine, suspend or revoke the rental housing license for such building or dwelling unit.
L. If during the one-year license period, law enforcement agencies respond three (3) or more times for a bonefide complaint to a specific building dwelling unit, or rental unit the City shall provide written notice by certified mail to the owner or agent, as listed on the license application, that if a law enforcement agency is required to respond to any further bonefide complaints to the same building dwelling unit, or rental unit within the one-year license period, the City may issue a reprimand, fine, suspend or revoke the rental housing license for such building dwelling unit, or rental unit.
M. If a rental housing license is denied, revoked or suspended, the City shall require the owner or agent of the property to give any tenant occupying the affected building or dwelling unit notice to vacate. A copy of such notice given by the owner or agent of the property shall also be delivered to the City.
N. No building or dwelling unit shall be created or occupied unless it conforms with these provisions of the City of Havre de Grace Zoning Ordinance. No new rental units shall be established or added, nor shall the occupancy limit of any rental unit be increased except in conformity with these provisions of the City of Havre de Grace Zoning Ordinance.
O. Any owner aggrieved by the action of City in taking action against or fining or suspending or revoking any license may, within thirty (30) days of such action, appeal such action to the City of Havre de Grace Board of Appeals. The Board of Appeals shall conduct a hearing, at which the owner or agent aggrieved shall have the opportunity to be heard along with all necessary witnesses. The Board of Appeals shall either reverse, modify or affirm the action or decision appealed. The decision of the Board of Appeals shall be in writing. Any person aggrieved by the decision of the Board of Appeals may, within thirty (30) days from the date of such written decision, file an appeal to the Circuit Court for Harford County. The procedures for any appeal shall be governed by Title 7, Chapter 200 (Judicial Review of Administrative Agency Decisions) of the Maryland Rules, as amended.
P. The following uses shall be exempt from the requirements of this ordinance: government buildings and uses; hospitals, nursing homes, hospices and other health care facilities and residences; churches, day cares; hotels, motels, and bed and breakfast facilities, schools and dormitories.