New Sanitary Code Effective April 2023

For the first time since 2007, the State Sanitary Code has been amended and will take effect next month.  I can’t speak to previous versions, but it looks like the Sanitary Code has received a major overhaul with these amendments.  As an attorney who regularly represents both landlords and tenants, there are certain issues that come up over and over again and the sanitary code was not necessarily clear.  Now, it seems that those concerns are being explicitly addressed.  Here are some regulations which are now clarified:

  • An owner may not remove optional equipment from a unit during the course of a tenancy.  We have been asked by many landlords if they can provide a washing machine and/or dryer and then when it dies, not replace it.  The answer under the new code is no.
  • An owner is now to provide at least 48 hours notice to the occupant before entering the unit to make repairs. 
  • Owners are now required to provide a refrigerator with freezer, unless specified in the lease that the occupant will provide this appliance.
  • An owner must provide occupants with a telephone number that is monitored not less than every 12 hours
  • Mold is specifically called out in the new sanitary code.  Buildings must be free from “excess moisture or the appearance of mold”.  If there are leaks or flooding, owners must ensure that all surfaces have been dried within 48 hours after notification OR the end of the event, which ever is sooner.
  • Inspectors must inspect, even if they have inspected before, there is a current eviction pending, or the person requesting inspection seeks to remain anonymous.

There are also changes to the timing of repairs noted by inspectional services.  The repairs now fall into 2 categories and not 3.  Owners will either be ordered to make repairs within 24 hours or 30 days.  Re-inspections must be done and occupants can request a written summary of the re-inspection.  Notes clarify that the re-inspection must follow the same procedures as the original inspection.

Both landlords and tenants should review these new regulations to understand their rights and obligations.  We’ll be watching to see how health departments and inspectional services handle these new regulations.