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
§ 48-2. Applicability
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
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.
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 demolition 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
C. 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 authority.
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
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
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
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 files.
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 safety.
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 the jurisdiction.
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
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 separate offense.
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 site,
Local Law Enforcement Officer, or
Other state or local authorities that may have public or environmental protection responsibilities.
Form. Such notice prescribed in Section 48-7.A. shall be in accordance with all of the following:
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 issued.
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 notice.
Penalties. Penalties for noncompliance with orders and notices shall be as set forth in Section 48-6.C.
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 foun-
dation, 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.
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 public nuisance.
(4) 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
§ 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.
B. 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
§48-11. Means of Appeal
Right of Appeal. Any person directly affected by a decision of the Code official shall have the
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
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
Standard of Proof.
The appellant shall have the burden of proving its position by clear and convincing
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 review
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)