III. Minimum Use & Maintenance Standards

This section lists standards for use and appearance of all GHI homes and yards. Other sections of this handbook also apply to homes and yards and should be consulted for specific rules.  Maintenance responsibility for GHI homes and yards is divided between the Cooperative and the individual member. See Section II for details; if unclear about areas of responsibility, contact GHI.

    1. Holes in walls or ceilings are not permitted and should be repaired immediately.
    2. All original trim, or a suitable replacement if not strictly cosmetic shall be in place. Interior moldings, doors, and door hardware shall be in place and in good condition and free of peeling, flaking or chipping paint.
    3. Stair handrails shall be securely fastened and located according to code, and stair guards shall be in place.
    4. Hardwood floors shall be kept free from surface defects and gaps and extend completely to walls with appropriate trim and finishing. Other permanently installed flooring, such as parquet or carpeting, shall likewise be free from defect.
    5. Floor underlayment shall be protected from water damage in kitchen and bathroom by adequate finish of floor surfaces in these rooms. Tiled floors shall be clean, free of cracks and holes, and be properly secured. Ceramic tile floors shall be fully grouted and complete; i.e., no missing or damaged pieces.
    6. All homes shall comply with all GHI rules and regulations, Prince George's County codes, and City of Greenbelt codes.
    7. All screens and glass shall be intact with no tears, cracks, or holes.
    8. Shower head shall only be installed where walls over the tub have been properly waterproofed to a height of six (6) feet from the floor. Vinyl shower panel specified for water resistance and ceramic tile is acceptable. All grout joints, caulk joints, and seams must be well sealed, free of defects, and water tight.
    9. All GHI homes must have working 10-year lithium ion smoke detectors compliant with the State of Maryland's Smoke Alarm Law. At the date of this section, required locations are:
      1. For one bedroom and single floor units: one smoke alarm in hall outside of bedroom door.
      2. For two-story units: one smoke alarm on each floor, including hallway outside of the bedroom doors, i.e. a total of two smoke alarms.
      3. For three-story units: smoke alarm on each floor, including hallway outside of bedroom doors, i.e. a total of three smoke alarms.
      If located on the ceiling, the smoke detector must be spaced a minimum of four (4) inches from any side wall. If located on the side wall, the top of the smoke detector must be a minimum of four (4) inches or a maximum of twelve (12) inches from the ceiling.
    10. No highly flammable materials shall be stored in attics. Such materials include paint, turpentine, oil, oily rags, gasoline, benzene, and wood chips. Also, pressurized containers may not be stored in attics.
    11. Attics shall be used for storage only and material stored in attics shall be arranged so the weight does not exceed 20 pounds per square foot.
    12. Unvented, portable kerosene-fired heaters shall not be used in GHI units.
    13. No condition in violation of health or safety shall be allowed, e.g., improperly ducted vent fan, improper guard rail detail on modified stairwell wall, improperly connected appliances.
    14. All lighting and plumbing fixtures shall be in place and in good working condition.
    15. All habitable rooms shall have a permanently installed heat source. Fireplaces, wood stoves, or portable heaters do not satisfy this requirement.
    1. All block exterior wall surfaces shall be uniformly painted with clean edges.
    2. All chipping, cracking, or peeling exterior wall paint shall be corrected as directed by GHI.
    3. All exterior wood surfaces; e.g. door and trim shall be properly sealed and protected from moisture damage. All chipping, cracking, or peeling trim paint shall be corrected as directed by GHI.
    4. Mold and mildew shall not be allowed to accumulate on exterior wall surfaces.
    5. No fence posts, flag poles, wall hangings, brackets, or other attachments may be secured to or through vinyl siding with the exception of mailboxes and house numbers. All ornaments and fixtures must be maintained and free of rust.
    6. Walkways providing access to units shall be kept free of obstructions, such as ice, snow, yard debris, litter, tools toys, etc. On shared access walkways, this responsibility is shared by adjacent neighbors.  Vegetation shall be kept trimmed back from the edge of all walkways.
    7. Bare spots on lawns shall be resown and maintained. Alternately, a suitable ground cover, mulch, or landscaping shall be placed and maintained to cover all bare ground and prevent erosion. (See Section V.I for recommended ground cover options.)
    8. A lawn must be cut before it exceeds a height of eight (8) inches.
    9. All shrubs, hedges, and plantings shall be trimmed in accordance with Section V.D.
    10. Tools, mowers, toys and miscellaneous items shall be neatly stored.
    11. Yard swales shall not be blocked in any manner. Ponding water and improper grade conditions shall be reported to GHI's Department of Technicle Services  immediately.
    12. All fences shall be upright, taut, and free of rust, peeling paint, or damage. All fences and privacy screens shall be in compliance with GHI fence regulations. (See Section VII.)
    13. English ivy and creeping vegetation shall not be allowed to grow on structures or trees in member's yard areas.  Member shall ensure that such vegetation is kept trimmed away from wall, foundation, vent openings and crawl space doors.  Members are also required to prevent creeping vegetation growing inside their yards from spreading outside their yard boundaries.
    14. Members residing in middle row units shall maintain a five (5) foot buffer zone inward from their distal gardenside yard line.  Members residing in end units shall maintain a five (5) foot buffer zone inward from from their distal gardenside and end yard lines.  Member shall not allow any creeping, invasive vegetation to grow within this buffer zone.  Members shall keep their yards free of poison ivy.

    15. All sheds shall comply with GHI shed regulations, be structurally sound, surfaces be free from damage and rust, and be properly maintained.
    16. Storm or screen doors shall be in good condition; no holes in screening materials, glass intact, and door frame properly sealed or painted. Metal storm doors approved after May 1, 1995, must be an approved trim color (See Section XI for colors). Unfinished storm or screen doors are not allowed.
    17. Trash containers shall not exceed thirty-two (32) gallons and must have tight fitting lids and handles for lifting. Containers must be placed in a trash closet, trash container cabinet, or screened area on the side of the unit from which the trash is collected. Trash cabinets must be structurally sound and properly sealed and painted. They must accommodate all recycling bins and trash containers and must permit access for trash removal workers. Screening, if used, must be large enough to hide the trash containers and must be of a type approved by GHI. Evergreen shrubs may be used as screening if they are at least 36" tall and completely hide all containers.
    18. Planting, maintenance, and removal of all trees must be in accordance with Section V.E.
    19. Beekeeping shall not be permitted on GHI property.
    20. Exterior areas must be maintained in safe and orderly condition. 
      1. No condition posing a hazard to health or safety shall be permitted.
      2. Trash closets and other trash enclosures must be kept clean and trash must be properly contained.
      3. Uncontained compost piles are not permitted.
      4. Pet feces must be promptly removed and properly disposed of.
      5. Wood not exceeding one (1) cord (a stack four (4) feet high, four (4) feet wide and eight (8) feet long) must be neatly stacked not less than six (6) inches from the ground and not less than ten (10) feet from the building.
      6. There must be no rubbish in yard areas; rubbish shall mean all solid waste consisting of both combustible waste (including, but not limited to, paper, cardboard, wood, cloth, bedding material, lawn and yard clippings not located in an established compost pile, and dead trees and limbs to include any hazardous or uprooted trees) and noncombustible waste (including, but not limited to, metals, glass, crockery, tin cans, and junked appliances).  Note: Properly contained yard debris or other special trash awaiting pickup by the City may be in the service side yard for a period of up to seven (7) days [fourteen (14) days if there was no pickup scheduled the previous week].  Members are encouraged to place items for pickup by the City in the yard as close as possible to the scheduled pickup day.