ADOPTS WITH AMENDMENTS:

International Property Maintenance Code 2009 (IPMC 2009)

Heads up: There are no amended sections in this chapter.

Part 1 — Scope and Application

101.1 Title

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These provisions shall be known as the Philadelphia Property Maintenance Code, hereinafter referred to as "this code."
The provisions of this code shall apply to all existing residential and nonresidential structures and all existing premises and constitute minimum requirements and standards for premises, structures, equipment and facilities for light, ventilation, space, heating, sanitation, protection from the elements, life safety, safety from fire and other hazards, and for safe and sanitary maintenance; the responsibility of owners, operators and occupants; the occupancy of existing structures and premises, and for administration, enforcement and penalties.
This code shall be construed to secure its expressed intent, which is to ensure public health, safety and welfare insofar as they are affected by the continued occupancy and maintenance of structures and premises. Existing structures and premises that do not comply with these provisions shall be altered or repaired to provide a minimum level of health and safety as required herein.

101.4 Severability

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102.1 General

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102.1 [Reserved]

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Equipment, systems, devices and safeguards required by this code or a previous regulation or code under which the structure or premises was constructed, altered or repaired shall be maintained in good working order. No owner, operator or occupant shall cause any service, facility, equipment or utility which is required under this section to be removed from or shut off from or discontinued for any occupied dwelling, except for such temporary interruption as necessary while repairs or alterations are in progress. The requirements of this code are not intended to provide the basis for removal or abrogation of fire protection and safety systems and devices in existing structures. Except as otherwise specified herein, the owner or the owner's designated agent shall be responsible for the maintenance of buildings, structures and premises.
Repairs, additions or alterations to a structure, or changes of occupancy, shall be done in accordance with the procedures and provisions of the International Building Code, International Fuel Gas Code, International Mechanical Code and NFPA 70. Nothing in this code shall be construed to cancel, modify or set aside any provision of the International Zoning Code.
The provisions in this code shall not be construed to abolish or impair existing remedies of the jurisdiction or its officers or agencies relating to the removal or demolition of any structure which is dangerous, unsafe and insanitary.

102.5 Workmanship

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102.5 [Reserved]

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102.6 Historic Buildings

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The provisions of this code shall not be mandatory for existing buildings or structures designated as historic buildings when such buildings or structures are judged by the code official to be safe and in the public interest of health, safety and welfare. Nothing in this code shall be construed to repeal or modify any applicable provisions of Chapter 14-1000 ("Historic Preservation").

102.7 Referenced Codes and Standards

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The codes and standards referenced in this code shall be those that are listed in Chapter 10 and considered part of the requirements of this code to the prescribed extent of each such reference. Where differences occur between provisions of this code and the referenced standards, the provisions of this code shall apply.

Exception: Where enforcement of a code provision would violate the conditions of the equipment or appliance, the conditions of the listing shall apply.
Requirements necessary for the strength, stability or proper operation of an existing fixture, structure or equipment, or for the public safety, health and general welfare, not specifically covered by this code, shall be determined by the code official.
References to chapter or section numbers, or to provisions not specifically identified by number, shall be construed to refer to such chapter, section or provision of this code.

102.10 Other Laws

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Part 2 — Administration and Enforcement

Section 103 Department of Property Maintenance Inspection

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103.1 General

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103.2 Appointment

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103.3 Deputies

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103.4 Liability

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103.5 Fees

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Section 103 [Reserved]

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Section 104 Duties and Powers of the Code Official

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104.1 General

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104.2 Inspections

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104.3 Right of Entry

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104.4 Identification

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104.5 Notices and Orders

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104.6 Department Records

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Section 104 [Reserved]

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Section 105 Approval

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105.1 Modifications

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105.2 Alternative Materials, Methods and Equipment

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105.3 Required Testing

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105.3.1 Test Methods

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105.3.2 Test Reports

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105.4 Used Material and Equipment

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105.5 Approved Materials and Equipment

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105.6 Research Reports

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Section 105 [Reserved]

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Section 106 Violations

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106.1 Unlawful Acts

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106.2 Notice of Violation

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106.3 Prosecution of Violation

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106.4 Violation Penalties

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106.5 Abatement of Violation

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Section 106 [Reserved]

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Section 107 Notices and Orders

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107.1 Notice to Person Responsible

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107.2 Form

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107.3 Method of Service

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107.4 Unauthorized Tampering

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107.5 Penalties

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107.6 Transfer of Ownership

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Section 107 [Reserved]

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When a structure or equipment is found by the code official to be unsafe, or when a structure is found unfit for human occupancy, or is found unlawful, such structure shall be condemned pursuant to the provisions of this code.
An unsafe structure is one that is found to be dangerous to the life, health, property or safety of the public or the occupants of the structure by not providing minimum safeguards to protect or warn occupants in the event of fire, or because such structure contains unsafe equipment or is so damaged, decayed, dilapidated, structurally unsafe or of such faulty construction or unstable foundation, that partial or complete collapse is possible.
Unsafe equipment includes any boiler, heating equipment, elevator, moving stairway, electrical wiring or device, flammable liquid containers or other equipment on the premises or within the structure which is in such disrepair or condition that such equipment is a hazard to life, health, property or safety of the public or occupants of the premises or structure.

108.1.3 Structure Unfit for Human Occupancy

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108.1.3 [Reserved]

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An unlawful structure is one found in whole or in part to be occupied by more persons than permitted under this code, or was erected, altered or occupied contrary to law.
For the purpose of this code, any structure or premises that has any or all of the conditions or defects described below shall be considered dangerous:
  1. Any door, aisle, passageway, stairway, exit or other means of egress that does not conform to the approved building or fire code of the jurisdiction as related to the requirements for existing buildings.
  2. The walking surface of any aisle, passageway, stairway, exit or other means of egress is so warped, worn loose, torn or otherwise unsafe as to not provide safe and adequate means of egress.
  3. Any portion of a building, structure or appurtenance that has been damaged by fire, earthquake, wind, flood, deterioration, neglect, abandonment, vandalism or by any other cause to such an extent that it is likely to partially or completely collapse, or to become detached or dislodged.
  4. Any portion of a building, or any member, appurtenance or ornamentation on the exterior thereof that is not of sufficient strength or stability, or is not so anchored, attached or fastened in place so as to be capable of resisting natural or artificial loads of one and one-half the original designed value.
  5. The building or structure, or part of the building or structure, because of dilapidation, deterioration, decay, faulty construction, the removal or movement of some portion of the ground necessary for the support, or for any other reason, is likely to partially or completely collapse, or some portion of the foundation or underpinning of the building or structure is likely to fail or give way.
  6. The building or structure, or any portion thereof, is clearly unsafe for its use and occupancy.
  7. The building or structure is neglected, damaged, dilapidated, unsecured or abandoned so as to become an attractive nuisance to children who might play in the building or structure to their danger, becomes a harbor for vagrants, criminals or immoral persons, or enables persons to resort to the building or structure for committing a nuisance or an unlawful act.
  8. Any building or structure has been constructed, exists or is maintained in violation of any specific requirement or prohibition applicable to such building or structure provided by the approved building or fire code of the jurisdiction, or of any law or ordinance to such an extent as to present either a substantial risk of fire, building collapse or any other threat to life and safety.
  9. A building or structure, used or intended to be used for dwelling purposes, because of inadequate maintenance, dilapidation, decay, damage, faulty construction or arrangement, inadequate light, ventilation, mechanical or plumbing system, or otherwise, is determined by the code official to be unsanitary, unfit for human habitation or in such a condition that is likely to cause sickness or disease.
  10. Any building or structure, because of a lack of sufficient or proper fire-resistance-rated construction, fire protection systems, electrical system, fuel connections, mechanical system, plumbing system or other cause, is determined by the code official to be a threat to life or health.
  11. Any portion of a building remains on a site after the demolition or destruction of the building or structure or whenever any building or structure is abandoned so as to constitute such building or portion thereof as an attractive nuisance or hazard to the public.

108.2 Closing Sealing of Vacant Structures

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If the structure is open to trespass or unfit for human habitation and occupancy, and is not in danger of structural collapse, the code official is authorized to post a No Trespassing placard on the premises and order the structure closed up so as not to be open to trespass. Upon failure of the owner to seal the premises within the time specified in the order, the code official shall cause the premises to be sealed and secured through any available public agency or by contract or arrangement by private persons and the cost thereof shall be charged against the real estate upon which the structure is located and shall be a lien upon such real estate and may be collected by any other legal resource.

108.2.1 Authority to Disconnect Service Utilities

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The code official shall have the authority to authorize disconnection of utility service to the building, structure or system regulated by this code and the referenced codes and standards set forth in Section PM-102.7 in case of emergency where necessary to eliminate an immediate hazard to life or property or when such utility connection has been made without approval. The code official shall notify the serving utility and, whenever possible, the owner and occupant of the building, structure or service system of the decision to disconnect prior to taking such action. If not notified prior to disconnection the owner or occupant of the building structure or service system shall be notified in writing as soon as practical thereafter.

108.3 Notice

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108.4 Placarding

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108.4.1 Placard Removal

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108.5 Prohibited Occupancy

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108.6 Abatement Methods

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108.7 Record

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Section 109 Emergency Measures

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109.1 Imminent Danger

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109.2 Temporary Safeguards

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109.3 Closing Streets

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109.4 Emergency Repairs

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109.5 Costs of Emergency Repairs

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109.6 Hearing

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Section 109 Unfit Structures

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109.1 Unfit Dwellings

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A structure is unfit for human occupancy whenever the code official finds that such structure is unsafe, unlawful or, because of the degree to which the structure is in disrepair or lacks maintenance, is insanitary, vermin or rat infested, contains filth and contamination, or lacks ventilation, illumination, sanitary or heating facilities or other essential equipment required by this code, or because the location of the structure constitutes a hazard to the occupants of the structure or to the public.

109.1.1 Continued Occupancy

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Where a dwelling is designated as unfit for human habitation but does not present an immediate hazard to safety, evacuation will not be required; however, the owner shall be denied the right to collect rent for the duration of such unfit designation.

109.1.2 New Tenancy

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Where a dwelling is designated as unfit for human habitation, the owner shall be prohibited from admitting any new tenants to any tenant space within such dwelling for the duration of such unfit designation.

Section 110 Demolition

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110.1 General

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110.2 Notices and Orders

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110.3 Failure to Comply

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110.4 Salvage Materials

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Section 110 Imminently Dangerous Structures

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110.1 Conditions

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When, in the opinion of the code official, there is imminent danger of failure or collapse of a structure or any part thereof which endangers life, or when any structure or part of a structure has fallen and life is endangered by the occupation of the structure, the code official is hereby authorized and empowered to order and require the occupants to vacate the same forthwith in accordance with the cease operations provisions set forth in the administrative code. The code official shall cause to be posted at each entrance to such structure a notice stating the imminent danger and prohibiting occupancy. It shall be unlawful for any person to enter such structure except for the purpose of making the required repairs or demolishing the structure.

110.2 Notice

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If an imminently dangerous condition is found, the code official shall serve on the owner, managing agent or person in control of the structure a written notice describing the imminent danger and specifying the required repair to render the structure safe, or requiring the imminently dangerous structure or portion thereof to be demolished within a stipulated time. Such notice shall require the person thus notified to declare immediately to the code official acceptance or rejection of the terms of an order to demolish.

110.2.1 Immediate Hazard

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Where the code official determines that a condition exists which creates a hazard to life or property requiring immediate action, an immediate oral order shall have the full effect of the subsequent written order.

110.3 Posting Notice

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Regardless of whether the person addressed with a notice of imminent danger receives service by one or more of the methods specified in the administrative code, a copy of the notice shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the premises; and such procedure shall be deemed the equivalent of personal notice.

110.4 Disregard of Notice

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Where the order to eliminate an imminent danger is rejected or not obeyed, or when, in the opinion of the code official, immediate action is required to protect the public safety, the code official shall cause the necessary work to be done to demolish the structure or to render the structure temporarily safe. Nothing in this code shall be deemed to limit in any way the right, under any existing law or ordinance, of any department of the City to correct or remove any condition deemed to be an immediate hazard to the health or safety of the public. When the code official proceeds to demolish any structure whether by contract or by its own employees, the contract or the code official may provide for the installation of a fence or other protective device and the application of environmentally-safe treatments to control vegetative overgrowth by the demolition contractor or by the code official in order to secure the perimeter of the vacant lot, protect the health, safety and welfare of the community, prevent vegetative overgrowth and deter the illegal dumping of trash and debris. In addition, the code official shall work cooperatively with other city and city-related agencies on any plans for the acquisition, disposition and re-use of vacant lots including, but not limited to: community development, housing, neighborhood gardening, landscaping, play areas, side yards, or any other legal uses. The code official shall have the discretion to determine whether a fence is necessary based on a planned re-use of the vacant lot by an abutting or nearby property owner, community development corporation, community-based or block organization; other unique circumstances; or upon the written request of a City department, agency or official.

110.5 Closing Streets

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When necessary for the public safety, the code official shall order the temporary closing of structures, sidewalks, streets, public ways and places adjacent to dangerous structures, and prohibit the same from being used.

110.6 Costs of Emergency Repairs

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Where the code official incurs costs of emergency repairs whether by itself or by contract, such costs shall be charged to the owner. The code official shall, with the approval of the Law Department, collect such costs from the owner by lien or otherwise.

110.7 Removal of Imminently Dangerous Classification

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When the owner chooses to bring an imminently dangerous structure into compliance by other than demolition, the code official is authorized to require that an analysis and plan of compliance prepared by a structural engineer registered in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania be submitted for review and approval.

110.7.1 Work Schedules

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As part of the application process to secure a building permit to abate an imminently dangerous condition, the applicant shall provide a schedule to the code official. The code official shall have the authority to accept or reject the work schedule. The work schedule shall contain:
  1. The date work will commence to abate the condition.
  2. The name, address and phone number of the contractor who will abate the dangerous condition.
  3. Incremental phases which include work to be performed and time estimates for completion within each phase.
  4. The date all work for bringing the property into code compliance is to be completed.

110.7.1.1 Failure to Maintain Work Schedule

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If the work does not conform to the approved work schedule, the permit shall be revoked.

Section 111 Means of Appeal

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111.1 Application for Appeal

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111.2 Membership of Board

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111.2.1 Alternate Members

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111.2.2 Chairman

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111.2.3 Disqualification of Member

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111.2.4 Secretary

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111.2.5 Compensation of Members

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111.3 Notice of Meeting

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111.4 Open Hearing

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111.4.1 Procedure

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111.5 Postponed Hearing

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111.6 Board Decision

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111.6.1 Records and Copies

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111.6.2 Administration

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111.7 Court Review

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111.8 Stays of Enforcement

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Section 112 Stop Work Order

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112.1 Authority

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112.2 Issuance

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112.3 Emergencies

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112.4 Failure to Comply

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