Minimum Housing Code
Article I Administration
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of Henderson County
11/2013; 2/ 2017.]
Title. These regulations shall be known as the Henderson County Minimum Housing Code,
hereinafter referred to as this Code.
Purpose. The purpose of this Code is to establish and enforce minimum requirements for the
protection of the life, health, welfare, safety, and property of the general public and the owners
and occupants of places of human habitation.
C. Scope. The provisions of this Code shall apply to all existing rental dwellings and constitute
minimum requirements and standards for: premises, structures, equipment and facilities for
living conditions, safety from fire and other hazards, and for safe and sanitary maintenance. The
provisions shall also constitute minimum requirements and standards for the responsibility of
owners, operators and occupants; the occupancy of existing structures and premises, and for
administration, enforcement and penalties. Demountable units such as manufactured homes
shall be subject to the North Carolina Regulations for Manufactured Homes and other applicable
provisions of this Code.
D. Intent. This Code shall be construed to secure its expressed intent, which is to ensure public
health, safety and welfare insofar as they are affected by the continued occupancy and
maintenance of structures and premises. Existing structures and premises that do not comply
with these provisions shall be altered or repaired to provide a minimum level of health and
safety as required herein. Repairs, alterations, additions to and change of occupancy in existing
buildings shall comply with the North Carolina Building Code.
E. Severability. If a section, subsection, sentence, clause or phrase of this Code is, for any reason,
held to be unconstitutional, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions
of this Code.
General. The provisions of this Code shall apply to all matters affecting or relating to structures
and premises, as set forth in Section 48-1. Where, in a specific case, different sections of this
Code specify different requirements, the most restrictive shall govern.
Maintenance. Equipment, systems, devices and safeguards required by this Code or a previous
regulation or Code under which the structure or premises was constructed, altered or repaired
shall be maintained in good working order. No owner, operator or occupant shall cause any
service, facility, equipment or utility which is required under this section to be removed from or
shut off from or discontinued for any occupied dwelling, except for such temporary interruption
as necessary while repairs or alterations are in progress. The requirements of this Code are not
intended to provide the basis for removal or abrogation of fire protection and safety systems and
devices in existing structures. Except as otherwise specified herein, the owner or the owners
designated agent shall be responsible for the maintenance of buildings, structures and premises.
C. Application of other Codes. Repairs, additions or alterations to a structure, or changes of
occupancy, shall be done in accordance with the procedures and provisions of the North
Carolina Building Code. Nothing in this Code shall be construed to cancel, modify or set aside
any provision of the Henderson County Land Development Code, Nuisance Ordinance, and
Solid Waste Ordinance.
Existing remedies. The provisions in this Code shall not be construed to abolish or impair
existing remedies of the jurisdiction or its officers or agencies relating to the removal or de-
molition of any structure which is dangerous, unsafe and unsanitary.
Workmanship. Repairs, maintenance work, alterations or installations which are caused directly
or indirectly by the enforcement of this Code shall be executed and installed in a workmanlike
manner and installed in accordance with the manufacturers installation instructions.
Historic buildings. The provisions of this Code shall not be mandatory for existing buildings
or structures designated as historic buildings when such buildings or structures are judged by
the Code official to be safe and in the public interest of health, safety and welfare.
G. Referenced Codes and standards. The Codes and standards referenced in this Code shall be
those that are listed in Article 8 and considered part of the requirements of this Code to the
prescribed extent of each such reference. Where differences occur between provisions of this
Code and the referenced standards, the provisions of this Code shall apply.
H. Requirements not covered by Code. Requirements necessary for the strength, stability or proper
operation of an existing fixture, structure or equipment, or for the public safety, health and
general welfare, not specifically covered by this Code, shall be determined by the Code official
responsible for administration and enforcement of the State Building Code.
48-3. Code Enforcement
Except as may otherwise be provided by statute or local law or Ordinance, no officer,
agent, or employee of the county charged with the enforcement of this Ordinance shall be
personally liable for any damage that may accrue to persons or property as a result of any act
required or permitted in the discharge of his duties under this Code. No person who institutes
or assists in the prosecution of a criminal proceeding under this Ordinance shall be liable to
damages hereunder unless he acted with actual malice and without reasonable grounds for
believing that the person accused or prosecuted was guilty of an unlawful act or omission.
The fees for activities and services performed by carrying out the responsibilities under
this Code shall be as defined by the Henderson County Board of Commissioners.
48-4. Duties and
Powers of the Code Official
General. The Code official responsible for enforcement of this Code and/or their designees
shall enforce the provisions of this Code.
Interpretation of Code. The Code official shall have authority as necessary in the interest of
public health, safety and general welfare, to interpret and implement the provisions of this
Code; to secure the intent thereof; and to designate requirements applicable because of local
climatic or other conditions. Such rules shall not have the effect of waiving structural or fire
performance requirements specifically provided for in this Code, the North Carolina Building
Code, or of violating accepted engineering methods involving public safety.
Inspections. The Code official shall make all of the required inspections, or shall accept reports
of inspection by approved agencies or individuals. All reports of such inspections shall be in
writing and be certified by a responsible officer of such approved agency or by the responsible
individual. The Code official is authorized to engage such expert opinion as deemed necessary
to report upon unusual technical issues that arise, subject to the approval of the appointing
Right of entry. The Code official is authorized to enter the structure or premises at reasonable
times to inspect subject to constitutional restrictions on unreasonable searches and seizures. If
entry is refused or not obtained, the Code official is authorized to pursue recourse as provided
by law including an administrative warrant.
Identification. The Code official shall carry proper identification when inspecting structures or
premises in the performance of duties under this code.
Notices and orders. The Code official shall issue all necessary notices or orders to ensure
compliance with this Code.
Department records. The Code official shall keep official records of all business and activities
of the department specified in the provisions of this Code. Such records shall be maintained in
accordance with State regulations regarding the retention of records.
Coordination of inspections. Whenever in the enforcement of this Code or another Code or
Ordinance, the responsibility of more than one Code official of the jurisdiction is involved, it
shall be the duty of the Code officials involved to coordinate their inspections and
administrative orders as fully as practicable so that the owners and occupants of the structure
shall not be subjected to visits by numerous inspectors or multiple or conflicting orders.
Whenever a Code official from any agency or department observes an apparent or actual
violation of some provision of some law, Ordinance or Code not within the Code officials
authority to enforce, the Code official shall report the findings to the Code official having
Referrals. The Code official may make referrals to community agencies and other available
services as appropriate.
A. Modifications. Whenever there are practical difficulties involved in carrying out the provisions
of this Code, the Code official shall have the authority to grant modifications for individual
cases, provided the Code official shall first find that special individual reason makes the strict
letter of this Code impractical and the modification is in compliance with the intent and purpose
of this Code and that such modification does not lessen health, life and fire safety requirements.
The details of action granting modifications shall be recorded and entered in the department
Alternative materials, methods and equipment. The provisions of this Code are not intended to
prevent the installation of any material or to prohibit any method of construction not specifically
prescribed by this Code, provided that any such alternative has been approved. An alternative
material or method of construction shall be approved where the Code official finds that the
proposed design is satisfactory and complies with the intent of the provisions of this Code, and
that the material, method or work offered is, for the purpose intended, at least the equivalent of
that prescribed in this Code in quality, strength, effectiveness, fire resistance, durability and
Required testing. Whenever there is insufficient evidence of compliance with the provisions of
this Code, or evidence that a material or method does not conform to the requirements of this
Code, or in order to substantiate claims for alternative materials or methods, the Code official
shall have the authority to require tests to be made as evidence of compliance at no expense to
Test methods. Test methods shall be as specified in this Code or by other recognized test
standards. In the absence of recognized and accepted test methods, the Code official shall be
permitted to approve appropriate testing procedures performed by an approved agency.
Test reports. Reports of tests shall be retained by the code official for the period required for
retention of public records.
Material and equipment reuse. Materials, equipment and devices shall not be reused unless
such elements are in good repair or have been reconditioned and tested when necessary, placed
in good and proper working condition and approved.
48-6. Violations and Penalties
Unlawful acts. Any person who violates this Code, or who permits a violation to exist on the
premises under his/her control, or fails to take action to abate the existence of the violation(s)
within a specified time frame, when ordered or notified to do so by the Code official, shall be
guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof shall be punished as provided by law.
Notice of violation. The Code official shall serve a notice of violation and/or compliance order
in accordance with Section 48-7.
Violation penalties. Violations of this Code shall be prosecuted under Henderson County Code
Chapter I, Article II, 1-14 Violations and Penalties. Each day of violation constitutes a
Civil Remedies. In the event of a violation or threat of violation of this Ordinance, the Code
official, through the County Attorney may take appropriate action to enforce this Ordinance,
including application for injunctive relief, action to compel performance, or other appropriate
action in court, if necessary, to prevent, restrain, correct, or abate such violations or threatened
violations. The Code official, through the County Attorney, enforcing provisions of this Code
may seek costs and expenditures, including staff time and attorneys' fees. An action taken by
the authority having jurisdiction on such premises shall be charged against the real estate upon
which the structure is located and shall be a lien upon such real estate.
Abatement of violation. The imposition of the penalties herein prescribed shall not preclude
the legal officer of the jurisdiction from instituting appropriate action to restrain, correct or
abate a violation, or to prevent illegal occupancy of a building, structure or premises, or to stop
an illegal act, conduct, business or utilization of the building, structure or premises.
48-7. Notices and Orders
Notice to person responsible. Whenever the Code official determines that there has been a
violation of this Code or has grounds to believe that a violation has occurred, notice shall be
given in the manner prescribed in Sections 48-7.B. and 48-7.C to the person responsible for
the violation as specified in this Code. Notices for condemnation procedures shall also comply
with Section 48-8.C.
Public Notification. The Code official shall provide information in writing about the housing
violation and potential hazard to the following persons as applicable and appropriate:
Child Protection Division in situations of potential child abuse or endangerment,
Adult Protection Division in situations of potential vulnerable adult abuse or
Neighbors in close proximity likely to be affected by the conditions found at the
Local Law Enforcement Officer, or
Other state or local authorities that may have public or environmental protection
Form. Such notice prescribed in Section 48-7.A. shall be in accordance with all of the
Be in writing.
Include a description of the real estate sufficient for identification.
Include a statement of the violation or violations and why the notice is being
Include a correction order allowing a reasonable time to make the repairs and
improvements required to bring the dwelling unit or structure into compliance
with the provisions of this Code. Inform the property owner of the right to appeal.
Include a statement of the right to file a lien in accordance with Section 48-6.C.
Method of service. Such notice shall be deemed to be properly served if a copy thereof is:
Sent by certified or first-class mail addressed to the last known address; or
If the notice is returned showing that the letter was not delivered, a copy thereof
shall be posted in a conspicuous place in or about the structure affected by such
Penalties. Penalties for noncompliance with orders and notices shall be as set forth in Section
Transfer of ownership. It shall be unlawful for the owner of any dwelling unit or structure who
has received a compliance order or upon whom a notice of violation has been served to sell,
transfer, mortgage, lease or otherwise dispose of such dwelling unit or structure to another
until the provisions of the compliance order or notice of violation have been complied with, or
until such owner shall first furnish the grantee, transferee, mortgagee or lessee a true copy of
any compliance order or notice of violation issued by the Code official and shall furnish to the
Code official a signed and notarized statement from the grantee, transferee, mortgagee or
lessee, acknowledging the receipt of such compliance order or notice of violation and fully
accepting the responsibility without condition for making the corrections or repairs required by
such compliance order or notice of violation.
Duties of Tenants and Owners. This Code is not intended to interfere with or abolish the duties
imposed on tenants and owners of rental property by N.C.G.S.
Chapter 42, Article 42-43, or
with lawful written agreements between property owners and tenants.
§48-8. Unsafe Structures and Equipment
General. When a structure or equipment is found by the Code official to be unsafe, or when a
structure is found unfit for human occupancy, or is found unlawful, such structure shall be
condemned pursuant to the provisions of this Code.
Unsafe structures. An unsafe structure is one that is found to be dangerous to the
life, health, property or safety of the public or the occupants of the structure by
not providing minimum safeguards to protect or warn occupants in the event of
fire, or because such structure contains unsafe equipment or is so damaged,
decayed, dilapidated, structurally unsafe or of such faulty construction or unstable
foundation, that partial or complete collapse is possible.
Unsafe equipment. Unsafe equipment includes any boiler, heating equipment,
elevator (apartments), moving stairway (apartments), electrical wiring or device,
flammable liquid containers or other equipment on the premises or within the
structure which is in such disrepair or condition that such equipment is a hazard to
life, health, property or safety of the public or occupants of the premises or
Structure unfit for human occupancy. A structure is unfit for human occupancy
whenever the Code official finds that such structure is unsafe, unlawful or,
because of the degree to which the structure is in disrepair or lacks maintenance,
is unsanitary, vermin or rat infested, contains filth and contamination, or lacks
ventilation, illumination, sanitary or heating facilities or other essential equipment
required by this Code, because the location of the structure constitutes a hazard to
the occupants of the structure or to the public or if it appears to the Code official
to be in such dilapidated condition as to cause or contribute to blight, disease,
vagrancy, fire or safety hazard, to be a danger to children, or to tend to attract
persons intent on criminal activities or other activities which would constitute a
Unlawful structure. An unlawful structure is one found in whole or in part to be
occupied by more persons than permitted under this Code, or was erected, altered
or occupied contrary to law.
Closing of vacant structures. If the structure is vacant and unfit for human habitation and
occupancy, and is not in danger of structural collapse, the Code official is authorized to post a
placard of condemnation on the premises and order the structure closed up so as not to attract a
public nuisance. Upon failure of the owner to close up the premises within the time specified
in the order, the Code official shall cause the premises to be closed and secured through any
available public agency or by contract or arrangement by private persons and the cost thereof
shall be charged against the real estate upon which the structure is located and shall be a lien
upon such real estate and may be collected by any other legal resource.
Notice. Whenever the Code official has condemned a structure or equipment under the
provisions of this section, notice shall be posted in a conspicuous place outside of the structure
affected by such notice and served on the owner or the person or persons responsible for the
structure or equipment in accordance with Section 48-7.C. If the notice pertains to equipment,
it shall also be placed on the condemned equipment. The notice shall be in the form prescribed
in Section 48-7.C
Placarding. Upon failure
of the owner or person responsible to comply with the notice
provisions within the time given, the Code official shall post on the premises or on defective
equipment a placard bearing the word Condemned and a statement of the penalties provided
for occupying the premises, operating the equipment or removing the placard.
Placard removal. The Code official shall remove the condemnation placard
whenever the defect or defects upon which the condemnation and placarding
action were based have been eliminated. Any person who defaces or removes a
condemnation placard without the approval of the Code official shall be subject to
the penalties provided by this Code.
Prohibited occupancy. Any occupied structure condemned and placarded by the Code official
shall be vacated as ordered by the Code official. Any person who shall occupy a placarded
premise or shall operate placarded equipment, and any owner or any person responsible for the
premises who shall let anyone occupy a placarded premise or operate placarded equipment
shall be liable for the penalties provided by this Code.
48-9. Emergency Measures
Imminent danger. When, in the opinion of the Code official, there is imminent danger of failure
or collapse of a building or structure which endangers life, or when any structure or part of a
structure has fallen and life is endangered by the occupation of the structure, or when there
is actual or potential danger to the building occupants or those in the proximity of any structure
because of explosives, explosive fumes or vapors or the presence of toxic fumes, gases or
materials, or operation of defective or dangerous equipment, the Code official is hereby
authorized and empowered to order and require the occupants to vacate the premises forthwith.
The Code official shall cause to be posted at each entrance to such structure a notice reading as
follows: This Structure Is Unsafe and Its Occupancy Has Been Prohibited by the Code
Official. It shall be unlawful for any person to enter such structure except for the purpose of
securing the structure, making the required repairs, removing the hazardous condition or of
demolishing the same.
Hearing. Any person ordered to take emergency measures shall comply with such order
forthwith. Any affected person shall thereafter, upon petition directed to the Board of
Adjustment, be afforded a hearing as described in this code.
General. The Code official shall order the owner of any premises upon which is located any
structure, which in the Code officials judgment is so old, dilapidated or has become so out of
repair as to be dangerous, unsafe, unsanitary or otherwise unfit for human habitation or
occupancy, and such that it is unreasonable to repair the structure, to demolish and remove
such structure; or if such structure is capable of being made safe by repairs, to repair and make
safe and sanitary or to demolish and remove at the owners option; or where there has been a
cessation of normal construction of any structure for a period of more than six months, to
demolish and remove such structure. The structure shall be deemed irreparable
if the cost of
repairs exceeds fifty percent of the fair market value of the structure.
Notices and orders. All notices and orders shall comply with Section 48-7.
Failure to comply. If the owner of a premise fails to comply with a demolition order within
the time prescribed, the Code official shall cause the structure to be demolished and removed,
either through an available public agency or by contract or arrangement with private persons,
and the cost of such demolition and removal shall be charged against the real estate upon
which the structure is located and shall be a lien upon such real estate.
Salvage materials. When any structure has been ordered demolished and removed, the
governing body or other designated officer under said contract or arrangement aforesaid shall
have the right to sell the salvage and valuable materials at the highest price obtainable. The net
proceeds of such sale, after deducting the expenses of such demolition and removal, shall be
promptly remitted with a report of such sale or transaction, including the items of expense and
the amounts deducted, for the person who is entitled thereto, subject to any order of a court. If
such a surplus does not remain to be turned over, the report shall so state.
§48-11. Means of
Right of Appeal. Any person directly affected by a decision of the Code official shall have the
right to appeal by filing a written request with the Henderson County Board of Adjustment for
an administrative hearing within 20 calendar days after the decision, notice or order was served.
In the event of an unknown or absent property owner, the appeal must be requested within 20
calendar days of the day of posting of the notice under Section 48-7.
Hearing. If any owner or occupant makes a written request to the Board of Adjustment for
hearing, such hearing shall be held in a quasi-judicial procedure before the Board of
Adjustment. A 4/5 vote of the Board is required to overturn the decision of a Code official.
Schedule. The hearing shall be held at the next available meeting after the request for a
hearing was received.
Notice. The Department shall mail a notice to the appealing party of the time and place of the
hearing at least ten calendar days prior to the hearing.
Witnesses and Evidence. All parties shall have full opportunity to respond to and present
evidence and witnesses.
Standard of Proof. The appellant shall have the burden of proving its position by clear and
Rules of Evidence. Hearings shall be informal and the rules of evidence as applied in the
courts shall not apply. Irrelevant, immaterial and repetitious evidence shall be excluded.
Record of Hearing.
The hearing shall be recorded and the minutes of the meeting shall be
approved by the Board of Adjustment at their next scheduled meeting.
Notice of Decision. The written decision of the Board of Adjustment shall be issued within 45
calendar days following the hearing. Unless otherwise provided by law, the decision of the
Board of Adjustment shall constitute the final decision.
Further Appellate Rights. Any party aggrieved by a final decision is entitled to judicial
of the decision. A petition for a writ of certiorari by the party must be filed with the Court of
Appeals not more than 30 calendar days after the party receives the written decision from
the Board of Adjustment.
48-12 Through 48-20. (Reserved)
Article II Definitions
Scope. Unless otherwise expressly stated, the following terms shall, for the purposes of this
Code, have the meanings shown in this section.
Interchangeability. Words stated in the present tense include the future; words stated in the
masculine gender include the feminine and neuter; the singular number includes the plural and
the plural, the singular.
Terms defined in other codes. Where terms are not defined in this Code and are defined in the
Building Code, North Carolina Fire Prevention Code, Henderson County Land
Development Code, North Carolina
Plumbing Code, North Carolina
Mechanical Code, North
Carolina Existing Building Code or the North Carolina Electrical Code, such terms shall have
the meanings ascribed to them as in those codes.
Terms not defined. Where terms are not defined through the methods authorized by this
Article, such terms shall have ordinarily accepted meanings such as the context implies.
Parts. Whenever the words dwelling unit, dwelling, premises, building, rooming
house, rooming unit housekeeping unit or story are stated in this Code, they shall be
construed as though they were followed by the words or any part thereof.
§ 48-22. Definitions
The following terms are defined for purposes of this chapter:
Appellant - One who appeals a judicial decision.
Approved - Approved refers to approval by the Code official as the result of investigation and
tests conducted by him or her, and/or by reason of accepted principles or tests by nationally
Basement. - That portion of a building which is partly or completely below grade.
Bathroom Group - A group of fixtures, including or excluding a bidet, consisting of a water
closet, lavatory, and bathtub or shower. Such fixtures are located on the same floor level.
Bedroom - Any room or space used or intended to be used for sleeping purposes.
Code Official - The official who is charged with the administration and enforcement of this
code, or any duly authorized representative.
Condemn - To judge unfit for occupancy.
Court - A space, open and unobstructed to the sky, located at or above grade level on a lot
bounded on three or more sides by walls or a building.
Dead Load - The weight of materials of construction incorporated into the building, including
but not limited to walls, floors, ceilings, stairways, built-in partitions, finishes, cladding, and
incorporated architectural and structural items, and fixed service equipment.
Department - The department responsible for the administration and enforcement of this Code.
Deteriorated - A dwelling unit that is unfit for human habitation and can be repaired, altered,
or improved to comply with all of the minimum standards established by this Chapter, at a cost
not in excess of 50 percent of its value, as determined by the findings of the Code official.
Dilapidated - A dwelling unit that is unfit for human habitation and can be repaired, altered, or
improved to comply with all of the minimum standards established by this Chapter, at a cost of
more than 50 percent of its value, as determined by the findings of the Code official.
Dwelling Unit - A single unit providing complete, independent living facilities for one or more
persons, including permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking and sanitation.
Easement - That portion of land or property reserved for present or future use by a person or
agency other than the legal fee owner(s) of the property. The easement shall be permitted to be
for use under, on or above a said lot or lots.
Exterior Property- The open space on the premises and on adjoining property under the control
of owners or operators of such premises.
Extermination - The control and elimination of insects, rats or other pests by eliminating their
harborage places; by removing or making inaccessible, materials that serve as their food;
by poison spraying, fumigating, trapping or by any other approved pest elimination methods.
Garbage - All putrescible waste, including animal offal and carcasses, excluding sewage and
Guard - A building component or a system of building components located at or near the open
sides of elevated walking surfaces that minimizes the possibility of a fall from the walking
surface to a lower level.
Habitable Space - Space in a structure for living, sleeping, eating or cooking.
Bathrooms, toilet rooms, closets, halls, storage or utility spaces, and similar areas are not
considered habitable spaces.
Housekeeping Unit - A room or group of rooms forming a single habitable space
equipped and intended to be used for living, sleeping, cooking and eating which does not
contain, within such a unit, a toilet, lavatory and bathtub or shower.
Imminent Danger - A condition which could cause serious or life-threatening injury or death
at any time.
Infestation - The presence, within or contiguous to, a structure or premises of insects, rats,
vermin or other pests.
Inoperable Motor Vehicle - A vehicle which cannot be driven upon the public streets for reason
including but not limited to being unlicensed, wrecked, abandoned, in a state of disrepair, or
incapable of being moved under its own power.
Labeled - Devices, equipment, appliances, or materials to which has been affixed a label,
seal, symbol or other identifying mark of a nationally recognized testing laboratory, inspection
agency or other organization concerned with product evaluation that maintains periodic
inspection of the production of the above-labeled items and by whose label the manufacturer
attests to compliance with applicable nationally recognized standards.
Let For Occupancy Or Let - To permit, provide or offer possession or occupancy of a dwelling,
dwelling unit, rooming
unit, building, premise or structure by a person who is or is not the
legal owner of record thereof, pursuant to a written or unwritten lease, agreement or license, or
pursuant to a recorded or unrecorded agreement of contract for the sale of land.
Live Load - Those loads produced by the use and occupancy of the building or other structure
and do not include construction or environmental loads such as wind load, snow load, rain
load, earthquake load, flood load or dead load.
Occupancy -The purpose for which a building or portion thereof is utilized or occupied.
Occupant - Any individual living or sleeping in a building, or having possession of a space
within a building.
Openable Area - That part of a window, skylight or door which is available for unobstructed
ventilation and which opens directly to the outdoors.
Operator - Any person who has charge, care or control of a structure or premises which is
let or offered for occupancy.
Owner - Any person, agent, operator, firm or corporation having a legal or equitable interest
in the property; or recorded in the official records of the state, county or municipality as
holding title to the property; or otherwise having control of the property, including the
guardian of the estate of any such person, and the executor or administrator of the estate of
such person if ordered to take possession of real property by a court.
Person - An individual, corporation, partnership or any other group acting as a unit.
Premises - A lot, plot or parcel of land, easement or public way, including any structures
Public Nuisance - Any activity or failure to act that adversely affects the public and shall
include, but is not limited to, any condition which poses an immediate and direct hazard to
human health if left unheeded due to the existence of the condition itself or due to the
immediate threat of transmission of disease through insects, animals, or other means of
transmission or infections.
Public Way - Any street, alley or similar parcel of land essentially unobstructed from the ground
to the sky, which is deeded, dedicated or otherwise permanently appropriated to the public
for public use and that has a clear width and height of not less than ten feet.
Putrescible - Solid waste capable of being decomposed by microorganisms including, but
not limited, to kitchen waste.
Rooming House - A building arranged or occupied for lodging, with or without meals, for
compensation and not occupied as a one- or two-family dwelling.
Rooming Unit - Any room or group of rooms forming a single habitable unit occupied or
intended to be occupied for sleeping or living, but not for cooking purposes.
Rubbish - Solid or liquid waste from residences.
Strict Liability Offense - An offense in which the prosecution in a legal proceeding is not
required to prove criminal intent as a part of its case. It is enough to prove that the defendant
either did an act which was prohibited, or failed to do an act which the defendant was legally
required to do.
Structure - That which is built or constructed or a portion thereof.
Telephonic Notice Notice given by means of telephone communication with the person being
given notice by the Code official, documented by the Code official in a manner similar to that
for telephone notice of a witness subpoenaed to testify by a Sheriff under the Rules of Civil
Tenant - A person, corporation, partnership or group, whether or not the legal owner of
occupying a building or portion thereof as a unit.
Toilet Room - A room including or excluding a bidet and or urinal, containing a water closet,
lavatory but not a bathtub or shower.
Ventilation - The natural or mechanical process of supplying conditioned or unconditioned air
to, or removing such air from, any space.
Workmanlike - Executed in a skilled manner; e.g., generally plumb, level, square, in line,
undamaged and without marring adjacent work.
Yard - An open space, other than a court, unobstructed from the ground to the sky, except
where specifically provided by this Code, on the lot on which a building is situated.
§48-23. Duties of Owner
Upon the receipt of a notice of violation from a Code Official, the Owner shall:
Attend a meeting at the Dwelling Unit with the Code Official, on a date and at a time set by the
Code Official (to be during the Countys regular business hours), upon Telephonic Notice or
written notice of the same given by the Code Official. The meeting shall be held upon not less
than (i) five (5) business days notice for non-emergency violations as designated by the Code
Official, or (ii) upon reasonable notice under the circumstances (but not less than twenty-four
(24) hours), for emergency violations designed by the Code Official.
violations of the Minimum Housing Code within (i) ten (10) business days of the
meeting with the Code Official required in §48-23A., above, unless the Code Official has
designated the violation as an emergency.
Remedy violations of the Minimum Housing Code within a reasonable time (not less than
twenty-four (24) hours) set by the Code Official in situations designated by the Code Official as
Provide the Code Official with a means of telephonic contact by which the Code Official can
actually contact the Owner.
§48-24. Duties of Tenant
The Tenant shall have the following duties under this Chapter:
To meet with the Code Official, during the Countys normal business hours, upon not less than
twenty-four (24) hours Telephone Notice from the Code Official, on the Premises.
To allow the Owner or the Owners agent access to the Premises and Dwelling Unit during
reasonable times to remedy violations under this Chapter. Notice to the Tenant of the date and
time of the access shall be given by the Code Official by Telephonic Notice.
To provide the Code Official with a means of telephonic contact by which the Code Official can
actually contact the Tenant.
If the Tenant fails to meet with the Code Official or allow the access required hereunder, the Code Official
may deem the complaint withdrawn.
Article III - General Requirements
Scope. The provisions of this section shall govern the minimum conditions and the
responsibilities of persons for maintenance of structures, equipment and exterior property.
Responsibility. The owner of the premises shall maintain the structures and exterior property
in compliance with these requirements, except as otherwise provided for in this Code. A person
shall not occupy as owner-occupant or permit another person to occupy premises which are not
in a sanitary and safe condition and which do not comply with the requirements of this
section. Occupants of a dwelling unit, rooming unit or housekeeping unit are responsible for
keeping in a clean, sanitary and safe condition that part of the dwelling unit, rooming unit,
housekeeping unit or premises which they occupy and control.
§48-32. Through 48-33. (Reserved)
§48-34. Exterior Structure
General. The exterior of a structure shall be maintained so as not to pose a threat to the public
health, safety or welfare.
Premises identification. A sign indicating the address of a property shall be provided as
required by Henderson County Code, Chapter 41, Property Addressing.
Structural members. All structural members shall be capable of safely supporting the
imposed dead and live loads.
Foundation walls. All foundation walls shall be free from open cracks and breaks and shall be
kept in such condition so as to prevent the entry of water, rodents and other pests.
Exterior walls. All exterior walls shall be free from holes and breaks.
Roofs and drainage. The roof and flashing shall be sound, tight and not have defects that admit
Window, skylight and door frames. Every window, skylight, door and frame shall be kept
Building security. Doors, windows or hatchways for dwelling units, room units or
housekeeping units shall be provided with devices designed to provide security for the occu-
pants and property within.
48-35. Interior Structure
General. The interior of a structure and equipment therein shall be maintained in good repair,
structurally sound and in a sanitary condition. Occupants shall keep that part of the structure
which they occupy or control in a clean and sanitary condition. Every owner of a structure
containing a rooming house, housekeeping units, a dormitory, or two or more dwelling units,
shall maintain, in a clean and sanitary condition, the shared or public areas of the structure and
exterior property. Conditions in the structure shall be maintained to prevent the growth of
mold. Situations which cause mold should be addressed immediately.
Infestation. All structures shall be kept free from insect and rodent infestation. All structures
in which insects or rodents are found shall be promptly exterminated by approved processes
that will not be injurious to human health. After extermination, proper precautions shall be
taken to prevent re-infestation.
Owner. The owner of any structure shall be responsible for extermination within the structure
prior to renting or leasing the structure.
Single occupant. The occupant of a one-family dwelling or of a single-tenant structure shall
be responsible for extermination on the premises.
Multiple occupancy. The owner of a structure containing two or more dwelling units, a
multiple occupancy, townhouse, a rooming house or a structure shall be responsible for
extermination in the public or shared areas of the structure and exterior property. If infestation
is caused by failure of an occupant to prevent such infestation in the area occupied, the occu-
pant shall be responsible for extermination.
Occupant. The occupant of any structure shall be responsible for the continued rodent and
pest-free condition of the structure.
Exception: Where the infestations are caused by defects in the structure, the owner
shall be responsible for extermination.
Light, Ventilation and Occupancy Limitations
Scope. The provisions of this section shall govern the minimum conditions and standards for
light, ventilation and space for occupying a structure.
Responsibility. The owner of the structure shall provide and maintain light, ventilation and
space conditions in compliance with these requirements. A person shall not occupy as owner-
occupant, or permit another person to occupy, any premises that do not comply with the
requirements of this section.
Alternative devices. In lieu of the means for natural light and ventilation herein prescribed,
artificial light or mechanical ventilation complying with the North Carolina Building Code
shall be permitted.
Habitable spaces. Every habitable space shall have at least one window facing directly to the
outdoors or to a court to permit natural lighting.
Exception: Where natural light for rooms or spaces without exterior windows or
glazing areas is provided through an adjoining room, the unobstructed opening to
the adjoining room shall be at least 8 percent of the floor area of the interior room
or space, but not less than 5 square feet. The exterior window area shall be based
on the total floor area being served.
Common halls and stairways. Every common hall, ingress, egress and stairway in residential
occupancies, other than in 1 and 2 family dwellings, shall be lighted at all times with at
watt standard incandescent light bulb (or fluorescent equivalent)provided that the
spacing between lights shall not be greater than 30 feet.
Habitable spaces. Every habitable space shall have at least one open able window to permit
Exception: Where rooms and spaces without openings to the outdoors are
ventilated through an adjoining room, the unobstructed opening to the adjoining
room shall be at least 8 percent of the floor area of the interior room or space, but
not less than 25 square feet. The ventilation openings to the outdoors shall be
based on a total floor area being ventilated.
Bathrooms and toilet rooms. Every bathroom and toilet room shall comply with the
ventilation requirements for habitable spaces as required by Section 48-43.A.
except that a
window shall not be required in such spaces equipped with a mechanical ventilation system.
Air exhausted by a mechanical ventilation system from a bathroom or toilet room shall
discharge directly to the outdoors and shall not be recirculated.
Process ventilation. Where injurious, toxic, irritating or noxious fumes, gases, dusts or mists are
generated, a local exhaust ventilation system shall be provided to remove the contaminating
agent at the source. Air shall be exhausted directly to the exterior and not be recirculated to any
Clothes dryer exhaust. Clothes dryer exhaust systems shall be independent of all other
systems and shall be exhausted directly to the outside in accordance with the manufacturers
48-44. Occupancy Limitations
Overcrowding. Dwelling units shall not be occupied by more occupants than permitted by the
minimum area requirements. Every dwelling unit shall contain at least 150 square feet of floor
space for the first occupant thereof and at least 100 additional square feet of floor area per
additional occupant. The floor area shall be calculated on the basis on the total area of all
48-45. Through 48- 50. (Reserved)
Article V - Plumbing Facilities and Fixture Requirements
Scope. The provisions of this section shall govern the minimum plumbing systems, facilities
and plumbing fixtures to be provided.
Responsibility. The owner of the structure shall provide and maintain such plumbing facilities
and plumbing fixtures in compliance with these requirements. A person shall not occupy as
owner-occupant or permit another person to occupy any structure or premises which does not
comply with the requirements of this section.
48-52. Required Facilities
Dwelling units. Every dwelling unit shall contain its own bathtub or shower, lavatory, water
closet and kitchen sink which shall be maintained in a sanitary, safe working condition. The
lavatory shall be placed in the same room as the water closet or located in close proximity to
the door leading directly into the room in which such water closet is located. A kitchen sink
shall not be used as a substitute for the required lavatory.
Rooming houses. At least 1 water closet, lavatory and bathtub or shower shall be supplied
for each 4 rooming units.
48-54. Plumbing Systems and
General. All plumbing fixtures shall be properly installed and maintained in working order,
and shall be kept free from obstructions, leaks and defects and be capable of performing the
function for which such plumbing fixtures are designed. All plumbing fixtures shall be
maintained in a safe, sanitary and functional condition.
Fixture clearances. Plumbing fixtures shall have adequate clearances for usage and cleaning.
Plumbing system hazards. Where it is found that a plumbing system in a structure constitutes a
hazard to the occupants or the structure by reason of inadequate service, inadequate venting,
cross connection, back-flow, improper installation, deterioration or damage or for similar
reasons, the Code official
shall require the defects to be corrected to eliminate the hazard.
48-55. Water System
General. Every sink, lavatory, bathtub or shower, drinking fountain, water closet or other
plumbing fixture shall be properly connected to either a public water system or to an approved
private water system. All kitchen sinks, lavatories, laundry facilities, bathtubs and showers
shall be supplied with hot or tempered and cold running water in accordance with the North
Carolina Plumbing Code.
Contamination. The water supply shall be maintained free from contamination, and all water
inlets for plumbing fixtures shall be located above the flood-level rim of the fixture. Janitor
sink faucets and other hose bibs or faucets to which hoses are attached and left in place, shall
be protected by an approved atmospheric-type vacuum breaker or an approved permanently
attached hose connection vacuum breaker.
Water Heating Facilities. Water heating facilities shall be properly installed, maintained and
capable of providing an adequate amount of hot water to be drawn at every required sink,
lavatory, bathtub, shower and laundry facility at a temperature of not less than 110°F (43°C).
A gas-burning water heater shall not be located in any bathroom, toilet room, bedroom or other
occupied room normally kept closed, unless adequate combustion air is provided. An approved
combination temperature and pressure-relief valve and relief valve discharge pipe shall be
properly installed and maintained on water heaters.
48-56. Sanitary Drainage System
General. All plumbing fixtures shall be properly connected to either a public sewer system or
to an approved private sewage disposal system. Septic systems should be properly maintained
so as not to cause failure.
Maintenance. Every plumbing stack, vent, waste and sewer line shall function properly and be
kept free from obstructions, leaks and defects.
48-57. Through 48-60. (Reserved)
Article VI - Mechanical and Electrical Requirements
Scope. The provisions of this section shall govern the minimum mechanical and electrical
facilities and equipment to be provided.
Responsibility. The owner of the structure shall provide and maintain mechanical and
electrical facilities and equipment in compliance with these requirements. A person shall not
occupy as owner-occupant or permit another person to occupy any premises which does not
comply with the requirements of this section.
48-62. Heating Facilities
Facilities Required. Heating facilities shall be provided in structures as required by this
Residential Occupancies. Dwellings shall be provided with a permanently installed heating
system capable of maintaining a room temperature of 65°F (18.33°C) during the heating season.
Cooking appliances shall not be used to provide space heating to meet the requirements of this
section. For the purpose of this Article, the heating season is defined as the period between
October 1 of each year and the following March 30. The Code Official shall have no
responsibility to determine which of the Owner or the Tenant has the obligation to provide fuel
(or electricity) for the heating system. The Code Officials sole responsibility in this regard is
the determination of whether the mechanical heating system permanently installed is operable if
provided with fuel (or electricity, as the case may be).
Heat Supply. Every owner and operator of any building who rents, leases or lets one or more
dwelling unit, rooming unit, dormitory or guestroom on terms, either expressed or implied, to
furnish heat to the occupants thereof shall supply heat to maintain a temperature of not less
than 65°F (18.33°C) in all habitable rooms.
Exceptions: When the outdoor temperature is below the winter outdoor design
temperature for the locality, maintenance of the minimum room temperature shall
not be required provided that the heating system is operating at its full design
Occupiable Common Areas. Indoor common areas spaces shall be supplied with heat to
maintain a temperature of not less than 60°F (18°C) during the period the spaces are occupied.
Processing, storage and operation areas that require cooling or special
Areas in which persons are primarily engaged in vigorous physical
Room Temperature Measurement. The required room temperatures shall be measured 3 feet
above the floor near the center of the room and 2 feet (610 mm) inward from the center of each
48-63. Mechanical Equipment
Mechanical Appliances. All mechanical appliances, fireplaces, solid fuel-burning appliances,
cooking appliances and water heating appliances shall be properly installed and maintained in
a safe working condition, and shall be capable of performing the intended function.
Removal of Combustion Products. All fuel-burning equipment and appliances shall be
connected to an approved chimney or vent.
Exception: Fuel-burning equipment and appliances which are labeled for unvented
Unvented fuel-burning equipment shall not be installed in any
bedroom or room used for sleeping purposes.
Clearances. All required clearances to combustible materials shall be maintained.
Safety Controls. All safety controls for fuel-burning equipment shall be maintained in
48-64. Electrical Facilities
Facilities Required. Every occupied building shall be provided with an electrical system in
compliance with the requirements of this section and Section 48-65.
Service. The size and usage of appliances and equipment shall serve as a basis for determining
the need for additional facilities in accordance with the North Carolina Electrical Code.
Dwelling units shall be served by a three-wire, 120/240 volt, and single-phase electrical service
having a rating of not less than 60 amperes.
Electrical System Hazards. Where it is found that the electrical system in a structure
constitutes a hazard to the occupants or the structure by reason of inadequate service, improper
fusing, insufficient receptacle and lighting outlets, improper wiring or installation,
deterioration or damage, or for similar reasons, the Code official shall require the defects to be
corrected to eliminate the hazard.
48-65. Electrical Equipment
Installation. All electrical equipment, wiring and appliances shall be properly installed and
maintained in a safe and approved manner.
Lighting Fixtures. Every public hall, interior stairway, toilet room, kitchen, bathroom, laundry
room, boiler room and furnace room shall contain at least one electric lighting fixture.
48-67. Duct Systems
Duct systems shall be maintained free of obstructions and shall be capable of
performing the required function.
48-68. Through 48-70. (Reserved)
Article VII - Fire Safety Requirements
Scope. The provisions of this section shall govern the minimum conditions and standards for
fire safety relating to structures and exterior premises, including fire safety facilities and
equipment to be provided.
Responsibility. The owner of the premises shall provide and maintain such fire safety facilities
and equipment in compliance with these requirements. A person shall not occupy as owner-
occupant or permit another person to occupy any premises that do not comply with the
requirements of this section.
48-72. Means of Egress
General. A safe, continuous and unobstructed path of travel shall be provided from any point
in a building or structure outside to the public way. Means of egress shall comply with the
North Carolina Fire Prevention Code.
Aisles. The required width of aisles in accordance with the North Carolina Fire Prevention
Code shall be unobstructed.
Locked Doors. All means of egress doors shall be readily operable from the side from which
egress is to be made without the need for keys, special knowledge or effort, except where the
door hardware conforms to that permitted by the North Carolina Building Code.
Emergency Escape Openings. Required emergency escape openings shall be maintained in
accordance with the Code in effect at the time of construction, and the following.
Required emergency escape and rescue openings shall be operational from the inside of the
room without the use of keys or tools. Bars, grilles, grates or similar devices are permitted to
be placed over emergency escape and rescue openings provided the minimum net clear
opening size complies with the Code that was in effect at the time of construction and such
devices shall be releasable or removable from the inside without the use of a key, tool or force
greater than that which is required for normal operation of the escape and rescue opening.
48-73. Fire-Resistance Ratings
Fire-Resistance-Rated Assemblies. The required fire-resistance rating of fire-resistance-rated
walls, fire stops, shaft enclosures, partitions and floors shall be maintained.
Opening Protective. Required opening protective shall be maintained in an operative
condition. All fire and smoke stop doors shall be maintained in operable condition. Fire doors
and smoke barrier doors shall not be blocked or obstructed or otherwise made inoperable.
48-74. Fire Protection Systems
General. All systems, devices and equipment to detect a fire, actuate an alarm, or suppress or
control a fire or any combination thereof shall be maintained in an operable condition at all
times in accordance with the North Carolina Fire Prevention Code.
Smoke Alarms. Single or multiple-station smoke alarms shall be installed and maintained per
Residences constructed prior to June 30, 1999
shall have one battery operated
smoke alarm for each floor of the dwelling unit.
Residences constructed on or after June 30, 1999 shall have one smoke alarm in
each bedroom, one smoke alarm within 10 feet of every sleeping area, and at least
one smoke alarm on each floor, including basements, but not including crawl
spaces and uninhabitable attics. Such smoke alarms shall be electrically operated
with a battery backup power source.
All residential dwelling units shall maintain required smoke alarm and fire
protection systems required by the N.C. State Building Code applicable at the time
of construction or otherwise applicable State law or regulation.
For rental dwelling units, the owner shall provide the required smoke alarms,
consistent with this ordinance and state law. This shall include functioning smoke
alarms with the initial occupancy by a tenant. Tenants shall be required to
maintain the batteries for smoke alarms as required by state law.
Power source. When an electrical power source is required, single-station smoke alarms shall
receive their primary power from the building wiring provided that such wiring is served from
a commercial source and shall be equipped with a battery backup. Smoke alarms shall emit a
signal when the batteries are low. Wiring shall be permanent and without a disconnecting
switch other than as required for over current protection.
Interconnection. For residential dwellings built after June 30, 1999 where more than one smoke
alarm is required to be installed, the smoke alarms shall be interconnected in such a manner that
the activation of one alarm will activate all of the alarms in the individual unit. The alarm shall
be clearly audible in all bedrooms over background noise levels with all intervening doors
Article VIII - Referenced Standards
This section lists the standards that are referenced in various sections of this document. The application of
the referenced standards shall be as specified in Section 48-2G.
Code Section number
North Carolina Electrical Code
48-2, 48-21,48-62, 48-72
North Carolina Building Code
North Carolina Fire Prevention Code
North Carolina Mechanical Code
North Carolina Plumbing Code
Henderson County Code
Henderson County Nuisance Ordinance
Henderson County Land Development Code
North Carolina Regulations for Manufactured Homes
Henderson County Solid Waste Ordinance
North Carolina Statute 153A-132
North Carolina General Statute Article 42-53
48-76 through 48-99. (Reserved)