Employee Housing in California is regulated by the Employee Housing Act. This act was enacted to ensure that persons living in privately owned and operated employee housing facilities are provided with a living environment that complies with the State of California's health and safety requirements. The Act regulates maintenance, use, and occupancy of employee housing and requires permanent buildings to comply with the State Housing law. In Tulare County, the Employee Housing Act is administered by the Tulare County Resource Management Agency (RMA).
For additional information on Employee Housing, please contact the staff of the Tulare County Resource Management Agency (559) 624-7000. Copies of the California Employee Housing Act http://www.hcd.ca.gov/codes/eh/ehappscope.htm can be purchased, and may provide information on other regulations that may affect you.
What We Do
Inspect and permit Employee Housing facilities in Tulare County. In general, Employee Housing refers to housing provided by employers or private property owners for five employees or more. Employee housing may consist of any living quarters, dwelling, boardinghouse, tent, bunkhouse, maintenance-of-way car, mobilehome, manufactured home, recreational vehicle, travel trailer, or other housing accommodations, maintained in one or more buildings or on one or more sites, and the premises upon which they are situated or the area set aside and provided for parking of mobilehomes or camping of five or more employees.
Permit to Operate
All operators of Employee Housing are required to obtain a ‘’Permit to Operate” from the Tulare County RMA. Permits must be renewed every year, as long as employee housing continues, unless an exemption has been granted, or a permit has been issued. Operators must apply for a Permit to Operate at least 45 days before the site is to be occupied.
Operating without a Permit
You may have received a notice from the RMA that you are operating Employee Housing without a permit. In such instances, you must submit an application and pay filing fees for a Permit to Operate within five days of receiving the notice.
Operators of unlicensed Employee Housing who are found operating without a Permit to Operate, are required to pay double the fees normally required for the Permit to Operate. These fees are due even if the number of workers housed is reduced to less than five. Operators of unlicensed Employee Housing accommodations, who are found in violation for a second time within five years, are subject to fees ten times the normal amount.
Operators of unlicensed Employee Housing may also be required to secure a building permit(s) for improvements. This permit must be obtained and work must be completed within 30 days of receiving notice.
Operators who fail to comply with the requirements of the notice and obtain required permits are guilty of a misdemeanor and are liable for a civil penalty of not less then $300 per day.
Stop Providing Employee Housing
When an Employee Housing operator ceases to operate employee housing subject to the permit requirements, a "Certificate of Non-Operation" shall be submitted to the Tulare County RMA. The Certificate shall be submitted for two years following the discontinuation of Employee Housing.
Review & Approval of a Permit To Operate
For sites in agricultural zones housing 12 or fewer employees, the application can be reviewed and acted upon (approved or denied) by RMA staff.
For sites housing more than 12 employees, a Special Use Permit application must be reviewed and acted upon by the Tulare County Planning Commission or Zoning Administrator at a public hearing, before a permit to operate application can be considered. Notice of the hearing must be published in a local newspaper. Surrounding property owners will be notified of the public hearing.
The following general standards apply to Employee Housing sites:
There must be a caretaker to see that the camp is maintained properly.
- Light, Heat, Ventilation
Rooms used for living, dining, cooking or sleeping and toilet and bath buildings must have proper light and ventilation with insect screening on windows and outside doors. Heating must be provided which will maintain a minimum 60 degree temperature in sleeping quarters and 70 degree temperature in bath buildings when occupied.
- Beds and Sleeping Areas
Suitable and separate beds must be provided for all workers. The rooms or areas used for sleeping purposes for more than one person shall be maintained with a floor area of not less than 50 square feet for each occupant and a minimum average ceiling height of not less than 7 feet.
- Drinking Water
Fresh and pure drinking water must be supplied at convenient locations. An annual water test may be required.
- Kitchen Facilities
Kitchen sinks must be supplied with hot and cold running water. Shelves are required for food storage above the floor.
- Toilets, Lavatories and Showers
At least one shower and one lavatory with hot and cold running water and one toilet must be provided for each sex for each 10 workers. Lavatories shall be located adjacent to the toilet facilities.
All toilet and bathrooms, kitchen and mess halls, sleeping and living rooms, and beds and bedding must be kept clean and sanitary. Closed garbage and waste containers must be provided and must be emptied as often as necessary. The entire camp area must be kept clean and well drained and free from trash and garbage.
- Location with Respect to Livestock
Employee housing shall be maintained not less than 100 feet from barns, pens, or similar quarters of livestock or poultry
The premises shall be free from depressions in which water can stand. Natural sinkholes, pools, swamps or other surface collectors of water within 200 feet of the periphery of employee housing shall be either drained or filled to remove the surface water.
- Liquefied Petroleum Gas Restriction
No liquefied petroleum (LP) gas tanks or cylinders shall be maintained within an enclosed housing accommodation, nor be within 5 feet of a source of ignition, nor be less than 5 feet from any building opening or property line.
All exists for all buildings or portions thereof in employee housing shall be maintained clear and unobstructed at all times and meet Building Code requirements.
- Employee Responsibility
Each employee and occupant of a labor camp shall help take care of the camp and keep it clean.