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 wall paint shall be corrected as directed by GHI.
    3. All exterior wood surfaces; i.e., doors 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 walls.
    5. No fence posts, flag poles, wall hangings, brackets, or other attachments may be secured to or through vinyl siding with the exception of mail boxes and house numbers. All ornaments and fixtures must be maintained and free of rust.
    6. Walkways shall be maintained in a safe and proper condition, free of obstructions; i.e., ice, snow, yard debris and litter. Vegetation shall be kept trimmed back from the edge of walkways. On shared walkways, the responsibility is shared by adjacent neighbors.
    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 10 inches.
    9. All shrubs, hedges, and plantings shall be trimmed in accordance with Section V.D.
    10. Yard areas shall be free of trash, debris, and noxious plants such as poison ivy.
    11. Tools, mowers, toys and miscellaneous items shall be neatly stored.
    12. Yard swales shall not be blocked in any manner. Ponding water and improper grade conditions shall be reported to GHI immediately.
    13. 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.
    14. English ivy and creeping vegetation shall not be allowed to grow on structures or trees. Trim such vegetation away from walls, foundation, vent openings and crawl space doors. Members are also required to prevent the spread of creeping invasive vegetation outside their yard boundaries and maintain a minimum thirty [30] foot buffer from their rear yard line.
    15. All sheds shall be in compliance with GHI shed regulations, structurally sound, surfaces free from damage and rust, and 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 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 trash is collected. Trash cabinets must be structurally sound and properly sealed or 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. No condition in violation of health and safety shall be allowed, e.g., trash closet must be kept clean and trash properly contained; no uncontained compost piles; pet feces must be promptly removed and properly disposed of; firewood not exceeding one cord (a stack 4' high, 4' wide and 8' long), must be neatly stacked no less than six (6) inches from the ground and at least 10' from the building.