Skip to page body Home About Community Living Doing Business Browse by Topic I Want to... Your Government
Code Enforcement Banner

Code Enforcement | 201 NW 2nd Street, #150 | Grand Prairie, TX 75050
Phone 972-237-8049 or 237-8296  | 
Fax 972-237-8187 | E-Mail

ARTICLE II. HOUSING STANDARDS
Sec. 29-4. Definitions.

For the purpose of this article, certain abbreviations, terms, phrases, words, and their derivatives shall be construed as specified in this section. Terms, words, and phrases, and their derivatives used but not specifically defined in this article, shall have the meaning ascribed in the Uniform Building Code.

Apartment: A dwelling unit as defined in this article.

Apartment house: Any building, or portion thereof, which is designed, built, rented, leased, let, or hired out to be occupied, or which is occupied, as the home or residence of five (5) or more families living independently of each other in dwelling units as defined in this article.

Approved: As to materials and types of construction, refers to approval by the code compliance manager or his authorized representative as the result of investigation and tests conducted by the code compliance manager, or his authorized representative, or by reason of accepted principles or tests by national authorities, technical or scientific organizations.

Basement: That portion of a building between floor and ceiling, which is partly below and partly above grade (as defined in this article), but so located that the vertical distance from grade to the floor is less than the vertical distance from grade to ceiling. (See definition of "story".)

Boarding house: A lodging house in which meals are provided.

Building: Any building or structure, or portion thereof, which is used, or designed or intended to be used, for human habitation, for living, sleeping, cooking or eating purposes or any combination thereof.

Building, existing: A building erected or one for which a legal building permit has been issued prior to the adoption of this article originally.

Ceiling height: The clear vertical distance from the finished floor to the finished ceiling.

Cellar: That portion of a building between floor and ceiling which is wholly or partly below grade (as defined in this article) and so located that the vertical distance from grade to the floor below is equal to or greater than the vertical distance from grade to ceiling. (See definition of "story".)

Court: An open, unoccupied space, bounded on two (2) or more sides by the walls of the building. An inner court is a court entirely within the exterior walls of a building. All other courts are outer courts.

Dormitory: A room occupied by more than two (2) guests.

Dwelling: Any building or any portion thereof, which is not an apartment house, a lodging house or a hotel, as defined in this article, which contains one (1) or two (2) dwelling units or guest rooms, used, intended or designed to be built, used, rented, leased, let or hired out to be occupied, or which are occupied for living purposes.

Dwelling unit: A suite of two (2) or more habitable rooms which are occupied or which are intended or designed to be occupied by one (1) family with facilities for living, sleeping, cooking and eating.

Exit: A continuous and unobstructed means of egress to a public way, and shall include intervening doorways, corridors, ramps, stairways, smokeproof enclosures, horizontal exits, exterior courts, and yards.

Family: An individual or two (2) or more persons related by blood or marriage, or a group of not more than five (5) persons (excluding servants), who need not be related by blood or marriage, living together in a dwelling unit.

Grade (ground level): The average of the finished ground level at the center of all walls of a building. In case walls are parallel to and within five (5) feet of a sidewalk, the above ground level shall be measured from the sidewalk.

Guest: Any person hiring or occupying a room for living or sleeping purposes.

Guest room: Any room or rooms used or intended to be used by a guest for sleeping purposes. Every one hundred (100) square feet of superficial floor area in a dormitory is a guest room.

Habitable room: Any room meeting the requirements of this article for sleeping, living, cooking or eating purposes excluding such enclosed places as closets, painters, bath or toilet rooms, service rooms, connecting corridors, laundries, unfinished attics, foyers, storage spaces, cellars, utility rooms, and similar spaces.

Hotel or motel: Any building containing six (6) or more guest rooms intended or designed to be used, or which are used, rented or hired out to be occupied, or which are occupied for sleeping purposes by guests, whether rent is paid in money, goods, labor, or otherwise. It does not include hospitals, asylums, sanitariums, nursing homes, orphanages, or institutions in which human beings are housed and detained under legal restraint, such as jails, prisons, or detention homes. For purposes of this article, "hotel" and "motel" are treated as the same thing.

Interior lot: A lot other than a corner lot.

Kitchen: A room used or designed to be used for the preparation of food.

Lodging house: Any building or portion thereof containing not more than five (5) guest rooms which are used by not more than five (5) guests where rent is paid in money, goods, labor or otherwise. A lodging house shall comply with all of the requirements of this article for dwellings.

Mobile home: Any currently licensed vehicle or structure designed and capable of travel on the highways of the state.

Nuisance shall be defined as follows:

(1) Any public nuisance known at common law or equity.

(2) Any attractive nuisance which may prove detrimental to children whether in a building, on the premises of a building, or upon an unoccupied lot. This includes any abandoned wells, shafts, basements, septic tanks, or excavations; abandoned refrigerators or motor vehicles; or any structurally unsound fences or structures; or any lumber, trash, fences, debris, or vegetation which may prove a hazard for inquisitive minors.

(3) Whatever is dangerous to human life or is detrimental to health, safety and welfare.

(4) Overcrowding a room with occupants.

(5) Insufficient ventilation or illumination.

(6) Inadequate or unsanitary sewerage or plumbing facilities.

(7) Uncleanliness.

(8) Whatever renders air, food or drink unwholesome or detrimental to the health, safety and welfare of human beings.

(9) An abandoned structure, basin chamber, pool or tank located indoors or outdoors containing an artificial body of water intended to be used for swimming, diving or recreational bathing, including spas or hot tubs, which becomes unfit to be used for the purpose intended.

Occupied space: The total area of all buildings or structures on any lot or parcel of ground projected on a horizontal plane excluding permitted projections as allowed by this article.

Rooming house: See "lodging house".

Story: That portion of a building included between the upper surface of any floor and the upper surface of the floor next above, except that the topmost story shall be that portion of a building included between the upper surface of the topmost floor and the ceiling of roof above. If the finished floor level directly above a basement or cellar is more than six (6) feet above grade, such basement or cellar shall be considered a story.

Structure (accessory)/service room: Any room used for storage, bath or utility purposes, and not included in the definition of habitable room.

Substandard building: See section 29-9 and following.

Superficial floor area: That net floor area within the enclosing walls of the room in which the ceiling height is not less than five (5) feet, excluding built-in equipment such as wardrobes, cabinets, kitchen units or fixtures.

Uniform Building Code: The Uniform Building Code, latest revision and amendments adopted by the city, as adopted by the International Congress of Building Officials.

Used: Used or designed or intended to be used. Vent shaft: A court used only to ventilate or light a water closet, bath, toilet or utility room or other service.

Window: Glazed opening, including glazed doors, which open upon a yard, court or recess from a court, or a vent shaft open and unobstructed to the sky.

Yard: An open, unoccupied [area] other than a court, unobstructed from the ground to the sky, except where specifically provided by this article, on the lot on which a building is situated.

(Ord. No. 5059, § 1, 12-15-92; Ord. No. 5619, § 1, 7-2-96)

Sec. 29-5. Purpose.

The purpose of this article is to provide minimum requirements for the protection of life, limb, health, property, safety and welfare of the general public and the owners and occupants of residential buildings.

(Ord. No. 5059, § 1, 12-15-92)

Sec. 29-6. Applicability of article.
(a) General. The provisions of this article shall apply to all buildings or portions thereof, used, or designed or intended to be used for human habitation. Such occupancies in existing buildings may be continued as provided in the Uniform Building Code, except such structures as are found to be substandard, as defined in this article. Where any building or portion thereof is used or intended to be used as a combination dwelling unit, apartment house or hotel, the provisions of this article shall apply to the separate portions as if they were separate buildings.

(b) Alteration. Existing buildings which are altered or enlarged shall be made to conform to this article insofar as the new work is concerned.

(c) Relocation. Existing buildings which are moved or relocated shall be considered as new buildings and shall comply with all the requirements of this article and the ordinances of the city.

(Ord. No. 5059, § 1, 12-15-92)

Sec. 29-7. Article cumulative.

In any case when a provision of this article is found to be in conflict with any other section of this Code of Ordinances or any regulation adopted pursuant thereto, or any other ordinance or regulation of the city, the provision which established the higher standard for the promotion of the health, safety and general welfare of the people shall govern.

(Ord. No. 5059, § 1, 12-15-92)

Sec. 29-8. Enforcement.

(a) Official designated. The code compliance manager or his authorized designee is hereby authorized and directed to administer and enforce all of the provisions of this article.

(b) Right of entry. Upon presentation of proper credentials, the code compliance manager or his authorized representatives may enter any building, structure or premises in the city to perform any duty imposed upon such officers by this article.

(Ord. No. 5059, § 1, 12-15-92)

Sec. 29-9. Interpretation by building advisory and appeals board.

The building advisory and appeals board shall hear and investigate all appeals in accordance with the Uniform Building Code, and Uniform Housing Code render its decisions and findings as provided in the Uniform Building Code or as otherwise provided in this Code of Ordinances.

(Ord. No. 5059, § 1, 12-15-92)

Sec. 29-10. Substandard buildings declared nuisances.

All buildings or portions thereof which are determined to be substandard as defined in this article are hereby declared to be public nuisances and shall be abated by repair, rehabilitation, demolition, or removal in accordance with the procedure specified in the Uniform Building Code.

(Ord. No. 5059, § 1, 12-15-92)

Sec. 29-11. Penalty.

The Uniform Housing Code is amended to read as follows: "Any person who shall violate a provision of this article, or fail to comply therewith, or with any of the requirements thereof, or who shall erect, construct, alter, demolish or move any structure, or has erected, constructed, altered, repaired, moved or demolished a building or structure in violation of a detailed statement or drawing submitted and approved thereunder, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. Each such person shall be deemed guilty of a separate offense for each day or portion thereof during which any violation of any of the provisions of this article is committed, continued or permitted, and upon conviction of any such violation, such person shall be punished by a fine as provided in section 1-8 of the Code of Ordinances."

(Ord. No. 5059, § 1, 12-15-92)

Sec. 29-12. Uniform Housing Code and Dangerous Structure appendix adopted by reference.

The 1997 edition of the Uniform Housing Code of the International Conference of Building Officials and the Dangerous Structure Appendix is from the effective date hereof, hereby adopted as the Housing Code of the City of Grand Prairie. One (1) copy of such Uniform Housing Code is incorporated herein by reference and shall have been filed for permanent record and inspection in the office of the city secretary. (Ord. No. 5059, § 1, 12-15-92; Ord. No. 5603, § 1, 6-18-96; Ord. No. 6624, § 5, 5-21-02) State law references: Authority to adopt technical codes adopted by reference, V.T.C.A., Local Government Code § 53.001 et seq.

Sec. 29-13. Space and occupancy standards.

(a) Access to public property. All buildings shall be located with respect to property lines and to other buildings in the same property as required by the building and zoning regulations of the city. Each dwelling unit and each guest room in a dwelling or a lodging house shall have access to a public street by means of a passageway not less than five (5) feet in width.

(b) Occupied space. Any lot occupied by dwellings, dwelling units, buildings or structures within the scope of this article shall have no more of the lot in occupied space than allowed by the provisions of the Unified Development Code of the city and all amendments thereof.

(c) Lighting and window space.

(1) Habitable rooms. Every habitable room, other than kitchens, shall have an aggregate window area of not less than one-tenth ( 1/10) of the floor area, or ten (10) square feet, whichever is greater.

(2) Accessory structure/service room. Accessory structures/service rooms shall not be required to have windows providing artificial light, but must contain a minimum of artificial lighting as required under subsection (h).

(3) Porches. Required windows shall open [upon] a street, yard or court either directly or through a porch having a minimum clear height of not less than seven (7) feet. Such porch shall be at least fifty (50) per cent open on at least one (1) side or on both ends.

(4) Vent shaft. A required window in a service room may be open into a vent shaft which is open and unobstructed to the sky and not less than four (4) feet at least dimension. No vent shaft shall extend through more than two (2) stories.

(5) Openable window area. One-half ( 1/2) of the required window area in all rooms shall be openable and have screens sufficient to prevent the admittance of flies and other vermin.

(6) Hallways. All public corridors, aisles, stairs, and other exitways shall be adequately lighted at all times in accordance with the Uniform Building Code and the Uniform Housing Code.

(7) Mechanical ventilation. An approved system of mechanical ventilation or air conditioning may be used in lieu of openable windows. Such system shall provide not less than the amount of air changes called for the Uniform Building Code. Toilet compartments, bathrooms and kitchens ventilated in accordance with this subsection may be provided with artificial light.

(d) Sanitary facilities.

(1) Dwelling units. Every dwelling unit shall be provided with a kitchen sink, a water closet, a lavatory, and a bathtub or shower.

(2) Hotels. Where private water closets, lavatories, and baths are not provided, there shall be provided on each floor for each sex, at least one (1) water closet and lavatory and one (1) bath accessible from a public hallway. Additional water closets, lavatories, and baths shall be provided on each floor for each sex at the rate of one (1) for every additional ten (10) guests, or fractional number thereof in excess of ten (10). Such facilities shall be clearly marked for "Men" or "Women".

(3) Kitchen. Every dwelling unit shall be provided with a kitchen. Every kitchen shall be provided with a kitchen sink. No wooden sink or sink of similarly absorbent material shall be permitted.

(4) Fixtures. All plumbing fixtures shall be connected to a sanitary sewer or to an approved private sewage disposal system. All plumbing fixtures shall be connected to an approved system of water supply and provided with hot and cold running water only. All plumbing fixtures shall be of an approved glazed earthenware type or of a similarly nonabsorbent material.

(5) Water closet compartments. Walls and floors of water closet compartments, except in dwellings and those within one (1) foot of urinal lip and four (4) feet above the floor, and at least one (1) foot to each side of the urinal shall be lined with nonabsorbent material. Each water closet compartment shall be not less than thirty (30) inches in width. Water closet compartments in dwellings shall be furnished with approved nonabsorbent materials.

(6) Room separations. No room used for the preparation or consumption of food shall be used for sleeping purposes, and no room housing a water closet shall open directly into any room for the preparation or consumption of food.

(7) Installation and maintenance. All sanitary facilities shall be installed and maintained in safe and sanitary condition and in accordance with the Uniform Plumbing Code.

(Ord. No. 5059, § 1, 12-15-92)

Sec. 29-14. Structural requirements.

(a) General. Buildings or structures may be of any type of construction permitted by the Uniform Building Code. Roofs, floors, walls, foundations, and all other structural components of buildings shall be capable of resisting any and all forces and loads to which they may be subjected. All structural elements shall be proportioned and joined in accordance with the stress limitations and design criteria as specified in the appropriate sections of the Uniform Building Code. Buildings of every permitted type of construction shall comply with the applicable requirements of the Uniform Building Code.

(b) Shelter. Every building shall be weather protected so as to provide shelter for the occupants against the elements and to exclude dampness.

(c) Protection of materials. All wood shall be protected against termite damage and decay as provided in the Uniform Building Code.

(Ord. No. 5059, § 1, 12-15-92)

Sec. 29-15. Mechanical requirements.

(a) Heating. Every dwelling unit and guest room shall be provided with heating facilities capable of maintaining room temperature of seventy (70) degrees Fahrenheit at a point three (3) feet above the floor in all habitable rooms. Such facilities shall be installed and maintained in a safe condition and in accordance with this chapter. All heating devices or appliances shall be of an approved type.

(b) Electrical equipment. All equipment, wiring, and appliances shall be installed and maintained in a safe manner in accordance with this chapter. All electrical equipment shall be Underwriter Laboratories (UL) approved type. Where there is electrical power available within three hundred (300) feet of the premises of any building, such building shall be connected to such electrical power. The rooms in every dwelling, dwelling unit, building or structure within the scope of this article shall contain the number of receptacle outlets required under this chapter. In each room used as a living room or parlor, at least one (1) such receptacle shall be controlled by a wall switch or one (1) ceiling-type electric light fixture shall be furnished. In all other rooms, including water closet compartments, bathroom, bedroom, laundry room, kitchen, furnace room, accessory structure/ service room, hallways, and attached garage, at least one (1) ceiling-type electric light fixture shall be furnished. All such fixtures shall be of a type and design capable of furnishing a minimum of one (1) watt of illumination per square foot of floor area in the room in which it is installed and be controlled by a wall switch.

(c) Ventilation. Ventilation for rooms and areas and for fuel-burning appliances shall be provided as required in the Uniform Building Code, Uniform Plumbing Code, Uniform Mechanical Code, and this chapter. Ventilating equipment shall be of approved types, installed and maintained in a safe manner and in accordance with the above-mentioned codes and all other applicable laws and sections of this Code. Where mechanical ventilation is provided in lieu of the natural ventilation required by this chapter, such mechanical ventilating system shall be maintained in operation during the occupancy of any building or portion thereof.

(d) Air conditioning equipment. Where air conditioning is furnished to the occupant of a rental unit, the system must be designed to provide a twenty (20) degree difference between inside and outside temperatures and must function to at least a fifteen (15) degree difference.

(e) Furnished appliances. Where owner of the apartment furnishes appliances, all appliances must be in operable condition.

(Ord. No. 5059, § 1, 12-15-92)

Sec. 29-16. Exits.

Every dwelling unit or guest room shall have access directly to the outside or to a public corridor. All buildings or portions thereof shall be provided with exits, exitways, and appurtenances as required by this Code.

(Ord. No. 5059, § 1, 12-15-92)


Sec. 29-17. Fire protection.

All buildings or portions thereof shall be provided with the degree of fire-resistive construction as required by this article for the appropriate occupancy, type of construction, and location on property or in fire zone, and shall be provided with the appropriate fire extinguishing systems or equipment required by this Code.

(Ord. No. 5059, § 1, 12-15-92)

Sec. 29-18. Substandard buildings.

Any building or portion thereof, including any dwelling unit, guest room or suites of rooms, or the premises on which the same is located, in which there exists any of the following listed conditions to an extent that endangers the life, limb, health, property, safety, or welfare of the public or the occupant thereof shall be deemed and hereby is declared to be a substandard building.

(1) Inadequate sanitation, which shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

a. Lack of or improper water closets, lavatory, bathtub or shower in a dwelling unit.

b. Lack of or improper water closets, lavatories, and bathtubs or showers per number of guests in a hotel.

c. Lack of or improper kitchen sink.

d. Lack of hot and cold running water to plumbing fixtures in a hotel.

e. Lack of hot and cold running water to plumbing fixtures in a dwelling unit.

f. Lack of adequate heating facilities.

g. Lack of or improper operation of required ventilating equipment.

h. Lack of minimum amounts of natural light and ventilation required by this article.

i. Room and space dimensions less than required by article.

j. Lack of required electrical lighting.

k. Infestation of insects, vermin or rodents.

l. General dilapidation or improper maintenance.

m. Lack of connection to required sewage disposal system.

n. Lack of adequate garbage and rubbish storage and removal facilities.

(2) Structural hazards, which shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

a. Deteriorated or inadequate foundations.

b. Defective or deteriorated flooring or floor supports.

c. Flooring or floor supports of insufficient size to carry imposed loads with safety.

d. Members of walls, partitions, or other vertical supports that split, lean, list, or buckle due to defective material or deterioration.

e. Members of walls, partitions, or other vertical supports that are of insufficient size to carry imposed loads with safety.

f. Members of ceilings, roofs, ceiling and roof supports or other horizontal members which sag, split, or buckle due to defective material or deterioration.

g. Members of ceilings, roofs, ceiling and roof supports, or other horizontal members that are of insufficient size to carry imposed loads with safety.

h. Fireplaces or chimneys which list, bulge, or settle due to defective material or deterioration.

i. Fireplaces or chimneys which are of insufficient size or strength to carry imposed loads with safety.

(3) Nuisance, which shall include, but not be limited to, any nuisance as defined in this article or in this Code.

(4) Hazardous wiring, which shall include all wiring except that which conformed with all applicable laws in effect at the time of installation and which has been maintained in good condition and is being used in a safe manner.

(5) Hazardous plumbing, which shall include all plumbing except that which conformed with all applicable laws in effect at the time of installation and which has been maintained in good condition and which is free of cross connections and siphonage between fixtures.

(6) Hazardous mechanical equipment, which shall include all mechanical equipment, including vents, except that which conformed with all applicable laws in effect at the time of installation and which has been maintained in good and safe condition.

(7) Faulty weather protection, which shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

a. Deteriorated, crumbling, or loose plaster.

b. Deteriorated or ineffective waterproofing of exterior walls, roofs, foundations, or floors, including broken windows or doors.

c. Defective or lack of weather protection for exterior wall coverings, including lack of paint, or weathering due to lack of paint or other approved protective covering.

d. Broken, rotted, split or buckled exterior wall coverings or roof covering.

(8) Fire hazard, which shall include, but not be limited to, any building [or] portion thereof, device, apparatus, equipment, combustible waste, or vegetation which, in the opinion of the chief of the fire department or the chief's deputy, is in such a condition as to cause a fire or explosion arising from any cause.

(9) Faulty materials of construction, which shall include all materials of construction except those which are specifically allowed or approved by this chapter and which have been adequately maintained in good and safe condition.

(10) Hazardous or unsanitary premises, which shall include, but not be limited to, those premises on which an accumulation of weeds, vegetation, junk, dead organic matter, debris, garbage, offal, rat harborages, stagnant water, combustible materials, and similar materials or conditions constitute fire, health or safety hazards.

(11) Inadequate maintenance, which shall include, but not be limited to, any building or portion thereof which is determined to be an unsafe building in accordance with Section 203 of the Uniform Building Code or article VI of this chapter.

(12) Inadequate exits, which shall include, but not be limited to, all buildings or portions thereof not provided with adequate exit facilities as required by this Code, except those buildings or portions thereof whose exit facilities conformed with all applicable laws at the time of their construction and which have been adequately maintained and increased in relation to any increase in occupant load, alteration or addition, or any change in occupancy. When an unsafe condition exists through lack of or improper location of exits, additional exits may be required to be installed.

(13) Inadequate fire protection or firefighting equipment, which shall include, but not be limited to, all buildings or portions thereof which are not provided with the fire-resistive construction or fire extinguishing systems or equipment required by this Code, except those buildings or portions thereof which conformed with all applicable laws at the time of their construction and whose fire-resistive integrity and fire extinguishing systems or equipment have been adequately maintained and improved in relation to any increase in occupant load, alteration or addition or any change in occupancy.

(14) Improper occupancy, which shall include all buildings or portions thereof occupied for living, sleeping, cooking or eating purposes which were not designed or intended to be used for such occupancies.

(15) Lack of storage space, which shall include all buildings or portions thereof not provided with the storage and storage space required by this article or which do not have the porch roof protection required hereunder.

(16) Accessory structures. Buildings or accessory structures of any type of construction, including carports, shed, detached and/or attached garages, patios, porches, and exterior attachments permitted by the Uniform Building Code, and all roofs, exterior walls and all other structural components of the buildings must be free of:

a. Peeling paint. If over fifty (50) per cent of the building has peeling paint, the entire building will be scraped and repainted. If less than fifty (50) per cent, then the affected areas will be scraped and repainted.

b. Broken windows. All broken glass will be replaced or the opening secured in an acceptable manner with plywood or another acceptable material.

c. Missing or deteriorated or rotted siding, panels, brick, etc., [which] will be repaired with comparable materials if damaged.

d. Nonfunctioning garage doors. All garage doors will be maintained in a secured manner, fully capable of opening and closing, and, if damaged, must be repaired with comparable materials.

e. Inadequate roofs. All roofs shall be maintained to be structurally sound and free of leaks.

f. Faulty or hazardous electrical wiring. All electrical wiring, fixtures, and outlets must meet the minimum requirements of the National Electrical Code, as adopted by the city at the time of construction, and be maintained in a manner to remain free of any electrical hazards.

g. Insufficient exterior attachments. All must be maintained in good repair and be properly anchored.

(Ord. No. 5059, § 1, 12-15-92; Ord. No. 5679, § 2, 10-15-96)

Sec. 29-19. Abatement of prohibited condition.

(a) General. Whenever the code compliance manager or his duly authorized representative determines by inspection that any existing building or portion thereof is substandard, such inspector may order the building or portion thereof vacated and shall institute proceedings to effect the repair, or if rehabilitation is impractical, shall then order such building or portion thereof removed or demolished. The owner or other person affected shall then have the right to appeal to the building advisory and appeals board for investigation and review of the code compliance manager's or his representative's determination.

(b) Notice to owner. The code compliance manager or his authorized representative shall give notice to the owner, or other responsible person, in accordance with the procedure specified in Section 203 of the Uniform Building Code or as otherwise provided in this Code of Ordinances.

(c) Procedure. Any building or portion thereof found to be substandard as defined in this article shall be repaired, rehabilitated, demolished, or removed in accordance with the procedure specified in Section 203 of the Uniform Building Code or otherwise as provided in this Code of Ordinances.

(Ord. No. 5059, § 1, 12-15-92) Cross references: Building code adopted, § 7-7.

Sec. 29-20. Numbering of residences and businesses.

(a) All apartment complex building units and all apartment units shall be identified by their appropriate numbers and/or letters. The numbers and/or letters of the building units shall be of highly contrasting colors to the background surface on which they are mounted and located so as to be clearly visible from the adjacent street or streets. For purposes of this section, the term "apartment complex" shall mean any group of two (2) or more apartment building units. For purposes of this section, the term "building unit" shall mean any building or structure which houses two (2) or more apartment units. For purposes of this section, the term "apartment unit" shall mean any group of rooms which are designed or used primarily for human habitation.

(b) Apartment complexes of three (3) or more building units shall have the individual building number and/or letters identified with figures as set forth in this subsection (b) so as to be plainly visible from the abutting street or streets. The building unit numbers and/or letters shall measure twelve (12) inches in height with a two-inch stroke. The lowest and highest identification numbers and/or letters for the individual apartment units in that building unit shall be mounted directly under the building unit numbers and/or letters and shall measure five (5) inches high with a three-quarter-inch stroke. Individual apartment units shall have the appropriate apartment unit numbers and/or letters on or over the main entrance of each apartment unit and such apartment unit numbers and/or letters shall not be less than three (3) inches in height. Building units having streets on more than one (1) side shall have the building unit identification numbers and/or letters on at least two (2) sides facing the streets. The fire marshal's office shall designate on the site plan which sides of the building unit are to be identified with the appropriate numbers and/or letters.

(c) All apartment complexes shall provide a diagram to the police department and to the fire department showing the location of all of the building units of the apartment complex along with the building units' appropriate numbers and/or letters and the numbers and/or letters of the specific apartment units in each building unit.

(d) Every single-family or duplex residential dwelling in the city shall have displayed on the front entrance driveway curb or the mailbox the street number and/or letters assigned to it by the city. Said numbers and/or letters shall be printed on the curb adjacent to the beginning of the curb radius of the driveway approach or shall be painted or placed on the mailbox. The numbers and letters shall be of such size and contrast to be clearly visible and legible from the street. The numbers and letters shall be presumed to be clearly visible and legible if they are at least three (3) inches in height with a one-half-inch stroke with a three-quarter-inch space between the numbers and/or letters, are white in color against a black background and the black background extends three-quarters ( 3/4) of an inch in all directions on all sides of the numbers and/or letters. Residences which front on a street without a curb and which have no plainly visible mailbox shall post a sign adjacent to the driveway or on the house, displaying the information called for above. Residences with a rear entrance off an alley shall have the same information called for above at the rear entrance, clearly and plainly visible from the alley. The information may be on a fence or on a sign or on the residence, so long as it is clearly visible from the alley.

(e) Commercial, industrial, or business establishments or dwellings shall be identified in the following manner: Numbers and/or letters shall be of highly contrasting colors to the background surface they are mounted on, and located so as to be clearly visible from the adjacent street(s). The size of the numbers and/or letters shall be determined from the facing street curb to the building as follows:

TABLE INSET:


Distance (feet)
Size
(inches high x inches stroke)
Distance between numbers
(inches)

0 to 50
4 x 1/2
1

51 to 100
6 x 3/4
1

101 to 150
8 x 1
1 1/2

151 and over
12 x 2
2

(f) All multiple occupancy business, commercial, or industrial structures within the city limits of the city shall also display the business name and address number on the outside of at least one (1) rear door, and structures with more than one (1) rear door shall display the official street address number and/or letters on all such rear doors in the manner prescribed by subsection (e) of this section. For purposes of this section, "multiple occupancy business, commercial, or industrial structure" shall be defined as follows: Any building which houses or maintains two (2) or more businesses or enterprises in a common area or under a common roof.

(g) The front and rear numbering requirements of this section shall be the duty and responsibility of the owner, agent, manager or occupant of each residential, business, commercial, industrial, apartment unit, residence or duplex structure within the city limits.

(h) The requirements for posting of official house numbers and street addresses contained in this section shall be fully complied with on or before three (3) months from the effective date of this section. For those residences or businesses which do not have at the time of the passage of this amendment a street name or number, application of this section will be waived until such time as the city has assigned to the residence or business an official street name and number. Upon receiving the official street name and number, the owner, agent or occupant shall have three (3) months to comply with the provisions of this section. After such date, any failure of any such owner, agent or occupant of a residential, business, commercial, industrial, or multifamily structure within the city limits to comply with the requirements of this section shall be punishable by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000.00). Each day for which the owner, agent or occupant fails to comply with the provisions of this section shall constitute a separate offense punishable by a separate fine. (Ord. No. 5059, § 1, 12-15-92)

Sec. 29-21. Apartment houses.

(a) A fee is hereby authorized to be charged to the ownership of all apartment houses to provide for annual inspections to insure compliance with the requirements of this chapter. The fees shall be seventy cents ($0.70) per unit per month and shall be charged to the ownership of all apartment houses. A reinspection fee of twenty-five dollars ($25.00) will be assessed for any units requiring additional inspections due to substandard conditions.

(b) The fees to be imposed shall be payable on an annual basis upon all existing apartments with a valid certificate of occupancy on or before April 1, 1986. For apartment houses completed after April 1, 1986, the initial fee shall be payable six (6) months after the issuance of a certificate of occupancy and annually thereafter.

(c) For the purpose of this section, an "apartment house" is defined as any building or portion thereof, which is rented, leased or let to be occupied for compensation as five (5) or more dwelling units or which is occupied as a home or place of residence of five (5) or more families living in independent dwelling units located in the city.

(d) At least ten (10) days prior to any inspection called for under subsection (a) above, the owner or manager of an apartment house shall cause to be issued to each tenant of the apartment house a notice of inspection. The notice of inspection shall contain, at a minimum, the date and time of the inspection, and the office number of the code enforcement division.

(e) At least three (3) days prior to any inspection called for under subsection (a) above, the owner or manager of an apartment house shall contact the code enforcement division to determine the number of inspectors from the code enforcement division that will conduct the inspection. The owner or manager of the apartment house will then make provision for an employee and/or employees of the apartment house to accompany the inspector(s) for the entire time that the inspector(s) is/are on apartment house property. The intentional failure to provide such employee and/or employees to accompany the inspector(s) is an offense.

(Ord. No. 5059, § 1, 12-15-92; Ord. No. 5139, § 1, 9-7-93; Ord. No. 5443, § 1, 7-18-95)

Sec. 29-22. Apartment complexes generally.

(a) The owner or owners, their agents and employees, of any apartment complex within the city shall comply with the following requirements set forth in this section.

(b) For purposes of this section:

(1) "Apartment complex" shall mean two (2) or more apartment buildings under common ownership or management which are situated on one (1) lot or adjacent lots and operated or managed as a single entity;

(2) "Apartment building" shall mean a structure containing (2) or more self-contained groups of common rooms which are designed, constructed and used as dwelling units;

(3) "Dwelling unit" shall mean any room or group of rooms which are used for the purpose of human habitation and which are typically rented or leased to tenants for a period of one (1) month or longer;

(4) "Operated or managed as a single entity" shall mean a group of two (2) or more apartment buildings which has a single person, firm, corporation, partnership, association, agent or employee thereof who is responsible for the management, control, maintenance or supervision of the apartment buildings whether by written or oral agreement to conduct said management, control, maintenance or supervision;

however, under no set of circumstances shall the provisions of this section apply to multifamily living units which have five (5) or less dwelling units.

(c) Reserved.

(d) Nothing in this section is to be interpreted to apply the provisions of this section to condominium units. For purposes of this section, "condominium unit" shall mean any building or collection of buildings which have separate dwelling units owned by the person or persons living in the units which share common areas; provided, however, that to qualify as a condominium unit at least fifty (50) per cent of the dwelling units must be owned by the person or persons actually residing in the living units.

(e) [Security devices.]

(1) All exterior doors other than sliding glass doors, screen doors, or garage doors, but including doors between the living area and the garage, are to be equipped with deadbolt locks and night latches, and, in accordance with V.A.T.S., Property Code § 92.151 et seq., a keyless bolting device and a door viewer.

a. A "dead bolt lock" shall mean a lock in a door, with the lock operated from the exterior by a key and from the interior without a key by knob or lever.

b. A "night latch" shall mean a door chain latch or door lock, with the lock operating without a key and only from the interior by chain, knob, or lever.

c. A "keyless bolting device" is defined as a door lock not in the doorknob that locks with a bolt into a strike plate screwed into the portion of the doorjamb surface that faces the edge of the door when the door is closed or into a metal doorjamb that serves as the strikeplate, operable only by knob or lever from the door's interior and not in any manner from the door's exterior, or as otherwise described in the Property Code, and shall not include a chain latch, flip latch, surface-mounted slide bolt, mortise door bolt, surface-mounted barrel bolt, surface-mounted swing bar door guard, springloaded night latch, foot bolt, or other lock or latch. The exceptions of the Property Code apply relative to the age of the tenants.

(2) The requirement that there be a deadbolt lock upon all exterior doors does not apply to doors which currently have a doorknob lock. Upon the permanent departure of a tenant by way of either expiration of the lease or by way of forcible entry and detainer action, apartment complexes shall change or alter the deadbolt lock or doorknob lock in such a way as to ensure that the key or keys owned by the previous resident shall not be capable of unlocking the deadbolt lock or doorknob if the apartment receives a request from the new resident to do so. For purposes of this subsection, "rekeying" shall mean altering the internal order of the tumblers in the deadbolt lock in such a way as to render operation of the deadbolt lock or doorknob lock by the previous key ineffective. This requirement may be met by either replacing the deadbolt or doorknob lock or by rekeying the deadbolt or doorknob lock. Upon receipt of such request, the apartment complex shall have fifteen (15) days to comply with such request. It is a defense to this subsection that:

a. The apartment complex is without fault due to failure of the apartment complex or its representative to receive notice of the request;

b. The apartment complex did not receive required co-tenant approval to conduct the replacement or rekeying;

c. The resident would not pay reasonable advance charges requested by the apartment complex for the costs of replacement or rekeying;

d. Materials, labor or utilities were unavailable; or

e. The delay was due to circumstances beyond the apartment complex's control.

(3) It shall be the duty of the resident to pay for any and all reasonable charges imposed by the apartment complex for the cost or the rekeying or replacement. In the event that there is no deadbolt lock or doorknob lock on an exterior door, the installation costs of placing a deadbolt lock on the exterior door shall be borne by the apartment complex. All costs associated with placing a night latch or keyless bolting device on every exterior door shall be borne by the apartment complex. If each lock on all exterior doors has been changed or rekeyed prior to a new resident moving in, each apartment complex shall provide the following statement in writing to the new apartment resident at the time the lease is signed: "EACH LOCK ON YOUR EXTERIOR DOOR OR DOORS HAS BEEN CHANGED OR REKEYED." If each lock on all exterior doors has not been changed or rekeyed prior to a new resident moving in, each apartment complex shall provide the following statement in writing to the new apartment resident at the time the lease is signed: "THE LOCKS ON YOUR EXTERIOR DOOR OR DOORS HAVE NOT BEEN CHANGED OR REKEYED. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO DEMAND THAT YOUR LOCKS BE CHANGED OR REKEYED. THE COST FOR CHANGING OR REKEYING THE LOCK OR LOCKS WILL BE PAID BY YOU."

(f) All exterior sliding glass doors are to have pin locks. For purposes of this subsection, "pin lock" shall mean a sliding glass door lock, with the lock operated without a key and only from the interior by inserting a pin or rod to prevent movement. The requirements of this subsection do not apply to sliding glass doors which currently have some type of operable lock on the sliding glass door. In the event a resident should request a pin lock on a sliding glass door which currently has some type of operable lock, the costs of the installation of the pin lock shall be borne by the resident. In the event that the sliding glass door has no type of operable lock, the costs of installing the pin lock shall be borne by the apartment complex. If a resident requests that a pin lock be installed, the apartment complex shall have fifteen (15) days to comply with the request. The same five (5) defenses which applied to requests for replacement or rekeying of deadbolt or door locks in subsection (e) above apply to this subsection.

(g) All windows are to have at least one (1) window latch. For purposes of this subsection, "window latch" shall mean a lock on a window capable of being opened, with the lock operated without a key and capable of being operated only from the interior. If there has been no window latch on the window during the resident's occupancy, cost of installing the window latch shall be borne by the apartment complex. Upon receipt of the request for installation of the window latch, the apartment complex shall have fifteen (15) days to comply with the request. The same five (5) defenses to failure to comply within the fifteen-day period found in subsections (e) and (f) above apply to this subsection.

(h) All apartment complexes shall have exterior lighting in all areas accessible to the general public, including, but not limited to, common areas and parking lots. All such lighting is to be controlled by a photo cell or seasonably adjusted timer switch. The intensity of said lighting is to be no less than 0.25 footcandle power in all areas accessible to the general public. It is the duty of the owner or manager of each apartment complex to have on the premises a light meter and to make reasonable efforts to monitor exterior lighting to ensure that it is in proper repair and that it is adequately maintained. Upon proper request by any employee of the city who is acting in the performance of his or her official duties, it shall be the duty of the apartment complex or its manager or assistant manager to provide proof that the apartment complex has obtained the light meter called for by this subsection.

(i) Reserved.

(j) Each apartment complex, by its owner, manager, or assistant manager, shall designate a person who is a full-time paid employee of the apartment complex who may be contacted in the event of a minor disturbance or a lock-out of one of the residents of the apartment complex. The name and phone number of the person who may be contacted in the event of a lock-out or a minor disturbance shall be prominently displayed on the front entry door of the offices of the apartment complex.

(k) It is the official policy of the city council to encourage on-site security forces at all apartment complexes within the city and to encourage controlled entry systems for those apartment complexes where such systems would be feasible. It is also the official policy of the city council to encourage in the strongest terms possible the importance and necessity that all exterior doors of every apartment unit be equipped with a deadbolt and that the deadbolt should be changed or rekeyed upon the permanent departure of each apartment resident who occupied the apartment unit.

(l) It shall be the duty of each apartment complex to issue a copy of this section to each new resident of the apartment complex upon the new resident's signing a lease with the apartment complex. Furthermore, it shall be the duty of each apartment complex to issue a copy of this section to each current resident of the apartment complex by the time the section becomes effective.

(m) Any person, firm, corporation, partnership, association or agent having primary responsibility for discharge of a duty imposed by law under this section who violates any of the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be fined not less than two hundred dollars ($200.00), nor more than two thousand dollars ($2,000.00) for each offense. Each day that a violation is permitted to exist shall constitute a separate offense.

(Ord. No. 5059, § 1, 12-15-92; Ord. No. 5987, §§ 1, 2, 11-10-98)

Sec. 29-23. Unsecured vacant building.

No owner or person having charge of any unoccupied building or structure within the city shall leave said building or structure unlocked, unboarded or otherwise unsecured so that unauthorized persons may enter said building or structure. An unsecured building or structure shall constitute prima facie, a condition of immediate danger from fire to the building and adjoining buildings and the code compliance manager, or such official's designated representative shall immediately notify the owner of said unsecured building to secure the same, and if said structure or building is not secured within forty-eight (48) hours after the owner or person in charge of the building has been notified, the code compliance manager or such official's designated representative shall secure the building at the expense of the owner or person in charge of said building or structure, the cost of expense of the work required to secure such building to be charged against the owner of the property as provided by Article 4436, Vernon's Annotated Civil Statutes, as amended.

(Ord. No. 5059, § 1, 12-15-92)

Sec. 29-24. Partially burned buildings.

Whenever any building or other structure in the city is partially burned, the owner, or any person in charge or control thereof, shall, within thirty (30) days after notice from the code compliance manager or designee, remove all refuse, debris, charred and partially burned lumber and material from the premises, and begin making the necessary repairs to the building. If said building or structure shall be burned to such an extent that it is rendered incapable of being repaired as required by this or any other provision of the ordinances of the city, the owner of the property upon which same is located, or person in charge or control thereof, shall remove all of the remaining portion of the building or structure from the ground. In this regard, the code compliance manager shall notify the building advisory and appeals board and other necessary officials of the city for appropriate proceedings under article III of this chapter.

(Ord. No. 5059, § 1, 12-15-92)

Sec. 29-25. Hotels and motels--Annual inspection fee.

(a) A fee is hereby authorized to be charged to the ownership of all hotels and motels to provide for annual inspections to insure compliance with the requirements of this chapter. The fee shall be five dollars ($5.00) per unit per year and shall be charged to the ownership of each hotel and motel. A reinspection fee of twenty-five dollars ($25.00) will be assessed for any units requiring additional inspections due to substandard conditions.

(b) The fees to be imposed shall be payable on an annual basis upon all existing hotels and motels with a valid certificate of occupancy on or before October 1996. For new hotels and motels, the initial fee shall be payable six (6) months after the issuance of a certificate of occupancy and annually thereafter.

(Ord. No. 5619, § 2, 7-2-96)

Sec. 29-26. Same--Standards for operation.

(a) The owner or owners, their agents, and employees of any hotel or motel within the city shall comply with the following requirements set forth in this section.

(b) An owner or operator of a hotel or motel shall keep the premises sanitary and shall provide every practical facility essential for that purpose.

(c) An owner or operator of a hotel or motel who provides a gas stove for the heating of a unit in the facility shall determine that the stove is properly installed and maintained in a properly ventilated room.

(d) An owner, operator, or manager of a hotel or motel shall maintain sanitary appliances located in the facility in good repair.

(e) An owner, manager, or agent of a hotel or motel may not rent or furnish a unit to a person succeeding a previous occupant before thoroughly cleaning the unit and providing clean and sanitary sheets, towels, and pillowcases.

(f) An owner, operator, or manager of a hotel or motel shall maintain the facility in a sanitary condition.

(g) A hotel or motel that does not conform to this chapter is a public health nuisance.

(h) All buildings, guest rooms, and areas of the facility must be maintained so as not to violate any of the provisions of this Code; specifically, they must be maintained so that they do not constitute a dangerous structure, as defined in section 29-28 et seq.

(i) All exterior doors, other than sliding glass doors, screen doors, or garage doors, but including doors between the living area and the garage, are to [be] equipped with a keyless bolting device in addition to any lock on the outside door. For purposes of this subsection, a "keyless bolting device" shall mean a lock not in the doorknob that locks only by a bolt or level only from the interior and not the exterior. It shall not include a door chain latch.

(j) All exterior sliding glass doors are to have pin locks.

(k) All windows are to have at least one (1) window latch. For purposes of this subsection, "window latch" shall mean a lock on a window capable of being opened, with the lock operated without a key and capable of being operated only from the interior.

(l) All hotels and motels shall have exterior lighting in all areas accessible to the general public, including, but not limited to, common areas and parking lots. All such lighting is to be controlled by photo cell or seasonably adjusted timer switch. The intensity of such lighting is to be no less than twenty-five one-hundredths (0.25) foot candle power in all areas accessible to the general public. It is the duty of the owner of the hotel or motel to have on the premises a light meter and to make reasonable efforts to monitor exterior lighting to ensure that it is in proper repair and that it is adequately maintained. Upon proper request by any employee of the city who is acting in the performance of his or her official duties, it shall be the duty of the manager of the hotel or motel to provide proof that the hotel or motel has obtained the light meter called for by this subsection.

(m) It is the official policy of the city council to encourage on-site security forces at all hotels and motels.

(n) Any person, firm, corporation, partnership, association, or agent having primary responsibility for discharge of a duty imposed by law under this section who violates any of the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than two hundred dollars ($200.00) nor more than two thousand dollars ($2,000.00) for each offense. Each day that a violation is permitted to exist shall constitute a separate offense.

(Ord. No. 5619, § 3, 7-2-96)

Sec. 29-27. Reserved.
Last updated: 6/17/2009 6:02:22 PM