The Health Department enforces Article II of the State Sanitary Code: Minimum Standards of Fitness for Human Habitation. The code provides detailed standards for safe and sanitary housing...to protect the health safety and well-being of the occupants of housing and of the general public, to facilitate the use of legal remedies available to occupants of substandard housing, to assist the board of health in their enforcement of this code, and to provide a method of notifying persons of conditions which require immediate attention.
The role of the Health Department in enforcing these regulations is as follows:
- Conduct housing inspections upon request to determine if violations of the State Sanitary Code exist.
- Report findings of inspections to the property owner and tenant, and issue orders to correct the violations to the appropriate party.
- Afford the property owner or tenant a hearing with the Board of Health and initiate judicial proceedings if the cited owner/tenant fails to obey the order.
- Conduct a re-inspection at the property and issue a compliance letter if all violations are remedied.
Complaints of substandard housing conditions can be made by contacting the Health Department at (978)374-2325, Monday - Friday 8:00am - 4:00pm. or by logging into the Viewcloud System in the Health Module there is a Complaint Form that can be electronically filled out.
In addition to the State Code, the Health Department has adopted local regulations that pertain to housing:
- Domestic Animals, Poultry or Fowl
- Animal Constituting a Nuisance
- Regulation of Private Water Supplies
- Adoption of State Regulations on Hot Tubs and/or Special Pools
- Extermination of Vermin
- Dual Check Backflow Preventer
- Abrasive Blasting
- Rental Regulations
- Fines for Condemned Housing
- Dumpster Regulations
- Lead Water Service Notification
- Litter, Garbage and Refuse
The above regulations are on file in the Health Department.
Owners/Managers of rental property must obtain a rental permit from the Health Department prior to the dwelling unit being occupied unless the unit has been inspected by Section 8, Elderly Subsidized Housing, and it does not have any cited violations outstanding. This is a local regulation that was adopted by the Board of Health to ensure that tenants are moving into housing that meets the Minimum Standard of Fitness For Human Habitation as defined in the State Sanitary Code.
Prior to Scheduling an appointment for a dwelling unit to be inspected, owner/managers of property should make certain of the following:
- City water and wastewater bills are current, or that a signed contract with the Water Department for scheduled payment is on file.
- Real estate taxes must be current.
- Dwelling units must conform to the Fire Department's requirements relative to smoke detector certificates. They must be current.
- Dwelling units must be in "move in condition", i.e.. vacant, clean, walls painted, appliances clean, bathroom fixtures of a smooth impervious material, floors, walls and ceilings in good condition.
Owners/Managers who fail to obtain a rental permit prior to renting a dwelling unit are liable for a $200 a day fine for each and every day that unit is occupied without the permit.
Appointments can be made by logging into the on-line permit center.