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Owner Occupied Group House

The City of Takoma Park requires the registration of all Owner Occupied Group Houses.

Owner Occupied Group House Application

About Owner Occupied Group Houses in Takoma Park

An Owner Occupied Group House is defined as a single family dwelling that is occupied by the owner or a family member as their primary residence and by one or more non-related individuals who pay rent or share in the costs of utilities. The kitchen, bathrooms and common areas are shared by everyone living in the house. The registration process is designed to ensure that the house is safe for all of the occupants.

Do Takoma Park’s Landlord Tenant Laws apply?

Individuals living in a owner occupied group house do not come under the jurisdiction of the City’s Landlord-Tenant Relations Law. Occupants of these units are instead protected under Title 8 of the Real Property Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland. Residents of owner-occupied group homes may file complaints directly with the District Court of Montgomery County.

How to Register an Owner Occupied Group House in Takoma Park

Application forms are available online or upon request from the Housing and Community Development Department.

The completed application form and a $50.00 registration fee must be submitted to the Department within 30 days of the initial operation of the group house.  Applications for renewal of an existing registration must be completed within 30 days of the expiration.

Following the submission of the completed application and the required registration fee, the City will schedule a date and time for the inspection of the house.  The inspector will walk through the house with the owner to verify that there are no serious life safety code violations present at the time of the inspection.  If any violations are identified, the owner will be given a reasonable amount of time, generally 30 days depending upon the severity of the problem, to correct any violation. All identified life safety code violations must be corrected before a Certificate of Registration will be issued.

Once issued, the Certificate of Registration is valid for a period of three calendar years, expiring on December 31st of the third calendar year.

Inspection Requirements for Owner Occupied Group Homes

The City Code requires the inspection of Owner Occupied Group Houses to ensure compliance with basic life safety codes. Inspections are conducted by the Department of Housing and Community Development. Identified code violations must be corrected before a certificate of registration will be issued. Failure to correct the identified violation(s) in a timely manner may result in the issuance of a citation and a fine.

During the inspection, the City inspector will walk through the house with the owner to verify that the following requirements have been met:

  • Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Smoke alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors, either hard-wired or 10 year tamper-proof, are installed on the ceiling of every level of the home and both inside and outside bedrooms.
  • Cooking Facilities: The house is equipped with a stove, a refrigerator, shelves for dry food storage and adequate work surface for food preparation. Stove must have a vertical clearance above the cooking top of at least 30 inches.
  • Sanitation Facilities:  Sanitary facilities are located within the house, easily accessible by all occupants, in proper operating condition, and adequate for personal cleanliness and disposal of human waste.
  • Bedrooms/Sleeping Rooms: All bedrooms and sleeping rooms have at least one operable outside window or an exterior door that provides a safe unobstructed means of escape and which can be approved for emergency egress or rescue. If bedroom or sleeping room is on the second floor or a lower level, a door or stairway with a handrail and a clear path to the outside is also required.
  • Window Bars: Escape windows have not been barred except with breakaway bar systems approved by the Montgomery County Fire Marshall.
  • Door Hardware: Every exterior door, door hinge, and door latch is maintained in good condition. A keyed door lock has been installed on the outside of individual bedroom doors. The use of double-cylinder dead-bolt locks on any exit door or individual bedroom door is prohibited.
  • Fire Hazards: The house is free of general fire hazards, including but not limited to the accumulation of combustible materials near a furnace or water heater and the storage of excess belongings which block fire exits.

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