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610 amending Chapter 156-Rental Housing Code

Updated: Nov 9, 2021


ORDINANCE NO. _________

AN ORDINANCE AMENDING THE CODE OF ORDINANCES OF THE

CITY OF CLARION, IOWA, 2009, BY AMENDING CHAPTER 156: RENTAL

HOUSING CODE

BE IT ENACTED by the City Council of the City of Clarion, Iowa:

SECTION 1. SECTION MODIFIED. All Sections of Chapter 156: Rental Housing Code

of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Clarion, Iowa, 2009 are hereby repealed and the following

adopted in lieu thereof:

CHAPTER 156

RENTAL HOUSING CODE

156.01 Purpose and Intent 156.10 Responsibilities of Occupants

156.02 Definitions 156.11 Complaints

156.03 Terms Defined in Other Codes 156.12 Right of Entry

156.04 Terms Not Defined 156.13 Unrecorded Land Contracts or

156.05 Inspections by City Code Enforcement Personnel Purchase Agreements

156.06 Landlord and Operators Register with City 156.14 Authority to Act on Nuisances

156.07 Registration 156.15 Provisions of Other Codes and Ordinances

156.08 Program for Rental Inspection 156.16 Fees

156.09 Responsibilities of Operators

156.01 PURPOSE AND INTENT. The purpose of this chapter is to provide for the

enforcement of minimum quality standards for all residential rental dwellings, rental dwelling

units, rooming houses and rooming units; to establish a program of regular rental inspections;

and to protect the health, safety and general welfare of the residents of the City under the

provisions of Chapter 157 of this Code of Ordinances. It is not the intent of this chapter to protect

the individual, but rather to protect the public as a whole.

156.02 DEFINITIONS. For the purposes of interpreting and enforcing this chapter, the

following definitions shall apply:

1. ”Controlled Area” means areas leased to the occupant and not generally

accessible to the general public, which includes, but is not limited to, dwelling units,

garage units and storage units assigned to the occupant under the lease agreement.

2. “Dwelling” means any building or structure, except temporary housing, which

is wholly or partly used or intended to be used for living or sleeping by human

occupants, but does not include dormitories, hotels or motels. Whenever the word

“dwelling” is used in this chapter, it shall be construed as though it were followed by

the words “or any part thereof.”

3. “Dwelling unit” means any habitable room or group of adjoining habitable

rooms located within a dwelling and forming a single unit with facilities which are used

or intended to be used for living, sleeping, cooking and eating of meals. Whenever the

term “dwelling unit” is used in this chapter, it shall be construed as though it were

followed by the words “or any part thereof.”

4. “Non-dwelling structure” means any structure, except a dwelling or rooming

house used or intended to be used for the shelter or enclosure of any person, animal or

property of any kind used in conjunction with a rental dwelling or rental dwelling unit.

5. “Occupancy” means the act or acts of living, sleeping or cooking in, or having

actual possession of a dwelling, dwelling unit or rooming unit.

6. “Occupant” means any person, including an owner or operator, living, sleeping

or cooking in, or having actual possession of a dwelling, dwelling unit or rooming unit.

7. “Operator” means any person who has charge, care or control of a building, or

any part thereof, in which any dwelling units or rooming units are let, either as owner

or agent of the owner.

8. “Owner” means any person who, alone or jointly or severally with others:

A. Has legal title or equitable title to any dwelling, dwelling unit, rooming

house or rooming unit;

B. Has charge, care or control of any dwelling, dwelling unit, rooming house

or rooming unit as personal representative, executor, executrix,

administrator, administratrix, trustee, conservator of the estate or as the

owner.

9. “Rental property” means any dwelling for which a stated return or payment is made

for the possession or use thereof.

10. “Roomer” means an occupant of a rooming house who is charged rent and is not a

member of the rooming house owner’s or operator’s family.

11. “Rooming house” means any dwelling or that part of any dwelling containing one

or more rooming units in which space is let by the owner or operator to one or more

roomers.

12. “Rooming unit” means any room or group of rooms forming a single habitable unit

in a rooming house used or intended to be used for living and sleeping, but not for

cooking or eating of meals.

13. “Temporary housing” means any tent, trailer, motor home, or other structure used

for human shelter which is designed to be transportable and which is not attached

to the ground, to another structure, or to any utilities system on the same premises

for more than thirty (30) days.

156.03 TERMS DEFINED IN OTHER CODES. Where terms are not defined in this chapter and

are defined in Chapter 157 of this Code of Ordinances, they shall have the same meanings ascribed

to them in that chapter.

156.04 TERMS NOT DEFINED. Where terms are not defined under the provisions of this

chapter or under Chapter 157 of this Code of Ordinances, they shall have ascribed to them their

ordinarily accepted meanings or such as any context herein may imply.

156.05 INSPECTIONS BY CITY CODE ENFORCEMENT PERSONNEL. The City

Administrator or his/her designee is authorized and directed to enter and make such inspections as

are necessary to determine the condition of dwellings, dwelling units, rooming houses, rooming

units and the premises thereof including, but not limited, to any non-dwelling structures used

by occupants within the City limits in order to perform his or her duty of safeguarding the health,

safety and welfare of the occupants and of the general public.

156.06 LANDLORD AND OPERATORS TO REGISTER WITH CITY.

1. All landlords and operators of rental property shall register their rental properties

with the City. Each unit is required to be registered and that registration must be amended

when the property is sold or has a status change. The registration shall be due May 1 of each

calendar year.

2. The City will provide an application form which must be completed and updated

upon request. The following information shall be provided to the City:

A. The street address of the dwelling or rooming house;

B. The number of rental units contained in the dwelling or rooming house; and

C. The name, address and telephone number of the owner and any agent of

the owner of the dwelling or rooming house.

3. If a rental property is not initially registered within the period established in

156.06(1), a late fee for each structure may be added or a municipal infraction pursued.

4. The registration, administrative and other fees outlined in Section 156.16 of

this code shall be set by resolution of the Council.

156.07 REGISTRATION.

1. No person shall rent to another or offer to rent to another any dwelling, dwelling

unit or rooming unit unless the owner or operator of the same has registered the rental

property with the City. Such registration shall be renewed on an annual basis.

2. Any person who fails to register their property or properties may be deemed

guilty of a municipal infraction.

3. For newly constructed rental property, the registration deadline is 30 calendar

days after the City Administrator is notified of construction completion.

4. For rental property that transfers ownership, the registration deadline is 30

calendar days after the final transfer and/or the recording of such. No additional fee shall

be due from the new owner for currently registered properties until the next registration

deadline.

5. For properties converted to rental property, the registration deadline is 30

calendar days after said status change.

6. The registration deadline for a rooming house or other property theretofore

required to be regularly inspected by the State of Iowa is 30 calendar days after the

exemption under Chapter 156.08(4) expires.

7. Failure to register within the prescribed period may result in a late fee being

added or a municipal infraction being pursued.

156.08 PROGRAM FOR RENTAL INSPECTION.

1. Required Inspections. Regular inspections of each rental property shall be

conducted every three years by a designee of the City Administrator. Spot inspections

may be conducted by City officials upon their observation of units which are obviously

and substantially out of compliance. Any such inspections will be scheduled with the

owner and/or operator of the units.

2. Requested Inspections. Upon the request of the owner or operator of a rental unit,

the City shall inspect said rental unit to determine compliance with this chapter or Chapter

157 of the Code of Ordinances. Upon a successful completion of such inspection, the unit

shall be exempt from regular inspections for a period of three years.

3. Section 8 Inspections (also known as SIRHA inspections). Units which have been

inspected and passed Section 8 rental requirements shall be deemed to have been regularly

inspected and exempt from regular inspections for a period of three years. It shall be the

duty of the owner and/or operator of such rental units to provide proof of a Section 8

inspection to the City. A rental certificate shall be issued by the City for units which have

passed this inspection requirement.

4. State-Inspected Properties. All properties required to be regularly inspected for

health and safety standards by the State of Iowa, including but not limited to, nursing

homes, assisted living facilities, hotels, or bed and breakfast inns are exempt from regular

inspections. Owners of properties claiming exemption under this provision must furnish a

copy of the most recent State inspection report if requested by the City Administrator or

designee to verify the exemption.

5. Other Exempt Properties. Subject to the determination of code enforcement staff,

the following types of properties are generally considered to be exempt from registration

and inspection:

A. Properties that qualify for the State of Iowa homestead property tax

credit;

B. Single-family homes or dwelling units occupied by lineal ascendants or

descendants of the owner, as defined by Iowa Code Chapter 450.9;

C. Single-family homes or dwelling units owned by a trust, in which a

trustee lives in the home or dwelling unit;

6. Failed Inspections. If, after a City inspection, a rental unit is deemed to be out of

compliance, a list of needed repairs will be provided to the owner and/or operator with a

stated time in which to make the repairs. Upon completion of the repairs, the owner and/or

operator shall schedule a re-inspection of the property to confirm compliance. The owner

and/or operator shall pay an additional fee if more than one re-inspection is needed to gain

compliance.

156.09 RESPONSIBILITIES OF OPERATORS. In addition to and in accordance with the

requirements of Chapter 157 and other applicable chapters of this Code of Ordinances, operators are

designated to be specifically responsible for the following items. Where any conflict may appear

between the guidelines of this chapter and Chapter 157, the definitions and guidelines of this chapter shall control.

1. Maintenance of Structure.

A. Structures shall be maintained in safe and sound condition and shall be

capable of supporting the loads that normal use may cause to be placed thereon.

[Clarion Code of Ordinances, Chapter 157.04(1), 157.04(3), 157.04(8),

157.04(10), 157.05 and 157.06]

B. Exterior shall be maintained in reasonably weathertight, watertight,

rodent-proof and insect-proof condition. [Clarion Code of Ordinances, 157.03(2)

and 157.04(12)]

C. Doors shall be maintained in good and functional condition and every door,

when closed, shall fit reasonably well within the frame. [Clarion Code of

Ordinances, 157.04(13)]

D. Windows shall be maintained in good and functional condition and shall

fit reasonably well within the frame. [Clarion Code of Ordinances, 157.04(11)]

E. Interior surfaces shall be maintained so as to permit the surface to be kept

in a clean and sanitary condition, notwithstanding the occupant’s obligations under

Section 156.10(l)(A) and 156.10(1)(B). [Clarion Code of Ordinances, 157.05(5)]

F. Accessory structures shall be kept in a reasonably good state of repair.

[Clarion Code of Ordinances, 157.03(4)]

2. Rainwater drainage. [Clarion Code of Ordinances, 157.04(5)]

3. Grading, drainage and landscaping of premises. [Clarion Code of Ordinances,

157.03(1)]

4. Chimneys and smoke pipes shall be maintained in a reasonably good state of

repair. [Clarion Code of Ordinances, 157.04(9)]

5. Exterior surfaces shall be reasonably maintained, protected from the elements

and against decay. [Clarion Code of Ordinances, 157.04(4)]

6. Means of egress shall be maintained in good condition and shall be free of

obstruction at all times. [Clarion Code of Ordinances, 157.12(3)]

7. Hanging screens and storm windows shall be maintained by the owner or

operator of the premises except when there is a written agreement between the owner

and the occupant to the contrary. [Clarion Code of Ordinances, 157.04(11)]

8. Electrical systems of every dwelling or accessory structure shall be maintained

in good and safe working condition. [Clarion Code of Ordinances, 157.11(5) and

157.11(6)]

9. Supplied plumbing fixtures and systems shall be maintained in good and

sanitary working condition. [Clarion Code of Ordinances, 157.10(5), 157.10(6) and

157.10(7)].

10. Gas appliances and facilities shall be properly connected and maintained in

good condition. [Clarion Code of Ordinances, 157.10(6D) and 157.11(3B)]

11. Heating and supplied cooling equipment shall be maintained in good and safe

working condition. [Clarion Code of Ordinances, 157.11(3)]

12. Floors in kitchen and bathrooms shall be constructed and maintained so as to

permit such floor to be easily kept in a clean, dry, and sanitary condition. [Clarion Code

of Ordinances, 157.05(5)]

13. Supplied facilities required by Chapter 157 and/or present in the unit and/or

designated for the exclusive use by the occupants of the unit at the time that either the

rental agreement is signed or possession is given shall function safely and shall be

maintained in proper working condition. Maintenance of facilities, utilities, and

equipment not required by this chapter shall be the operator’s responsibility unless

stated to the contrary in the rental agreement. No required supplied facility shall be

removed, shut off, or disconnected from any occupied dwelling unit or rooming unit

except for such temporary interruption as may be necessary while actual repairs,

replacements, or alterations are being made. [Clarion Code of Ordinances, 157.10 and

157.11]

14. Refrigerators and stoves, where provided by the operator, shall be maintained

in good and safe working condition.

15. Fire protection systems and carbon monoxide detection systems, where present,

shall be maintained in good working condition at all times and shall be provided at the

beginning of each tenancy. [Clarion Code of Ordinances, 157.12(5) and 157.13]

16. Covered cisterns shall be fenced, safely covered, or filled in such a way as not

to create a hazard to life or limb. [Clarion Code of Ordinances, 157.04(17)]

17. Openings through walls or floors shall be adequately enclosed or sealed to

prevent the spread of fire or passage of vermin. [Clarion Code of Ordinances, 157.03(2)]

18. Pest extermination shall be the responsibility of the operator whenever

infestation exists in two or more of the dwelling units or rooming units of any dwelling,

or in the shared or public parts of any dwelling containing two or more dwelling units

or more than one rooming unit. [Clarion Code of Ordinances, 157.08]

19. Operator to Let Clean Units: No operator shall permit occupancy of the vacant

dwelling unit or rooming unit unless it is clean, sanitary, and fit for human occupancy.

[Clarion Code of Ordinances, 157.05(1)]

20. Maintenance of public areas in a safe and sanitary condition shall be the

responsibility of the operator of a dwelling containing two or more dwelling units or

more than one rooming unit, unless there is a written agreement between the operator

and occupant to the contrary. [Clarion Code of Ordinances, 157.05(1)]

21. Provision of adequate facilities for the disposal of garbage in compliance with

this code is required.

156.10 RESPONSIBILITIES OF OCCUPANTS. An occupant’s failure to fulfill the

responsibilities of this section shall not cause the failure of an inspection or the refusal to issue a

rental certificate. An occupant’s failure to fulfill these responsibilities, however, could provide

rights to a landlord under the Iowa Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act.

1. Occupant Responsibility. Every occupant of a dwelling unit or rooming unit shall

keep in a clean, safe, and sanitary condition that part of the dwelling, dwelling unit, rooming unit, or premises thereof he or she occupies and controls.

A. Every floor and floor covering shall be kept reasonably clean and

sanitary.

B. Every wall and ceiling shall be kept reasonably clean and free of dirt or

greasy film.

C. No dwelling or the premises thereof shall be used for the storage or

handling of refuse.

D. No dwelling or the premises thereof shall be used for the storage or

handling of dangerous or hazardous materials.

2. Plumbing Fixtures. The occupants of a dwelling unit shall keep all supplied

plumbing fixtures therein in a clean and sanitary condition and shall be responsible for the exercise of reasonable care, proper use, and proper operation thereof.

3. Extermination of Pests. Every occupant of a single-family dwelling shall be

responsible for the extermination of any insects, rodents, or other pests therein or on the

premises; every occupant of a dwelling containing more than one dwelling unit or rooming

unit shall be responsible for such extermination within the unit occupied by him whenever

said unit is the only one infested. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section,

whenever infestation is caused by the failure of the owner to maintain a dwelling in a

reasonably rodent-proof or reasonably insect-proof condition, extermination shall be the

responsibility of the owner.

4. Storage and Disposal of Garbage. Every occupant of a dwelling shall dispose of

rubbish, garbage, and any other organic waste in a clean and sanitary manner by placing it

in the authorized disposal facilities or storage containers required by this code.

5. Use and Operation of Supplied Heating Facilities. Every occupant of a dwelling

unit or rooming unit shall be responsible for the exercise of reasonable care, proper use,

and proper operation of supplied heating facilities.

6. Electrical Wiring. No temporary wiring or extension cords shall be used except

extension cords which run directly from portable electric fixtures to convenience outletsand

which do not lie beneath floor coverings or extend through doorways, transoms, or similar

apertures and structural elements or attached thereto. The occupant shall not knowingly

overload the circuitry of the dwelling unit or rooming unit.

7. Supplied Facilities. Every occupant of a dwelling unit shall keep all supplied

fixtures and facilities therein in a clean and sanitary condition and shall be responsible for

the exercise of reasonable care, proper use, and proper operation thereof.

8. Fire Protection. It shall be the responsibility of the occupant to maintain

operational early warning fire protection systems by means of replacing batteries as

needed. If these systems become inoperable by mechanical failure, the occupant is required

to notify the owner.

156.11 COMPLAINTS. All persons making complaints concerning the compliance with the

provisions of this chapter of any dwelling, dwelling unit, rooming house or rooming unit shall

do so in the following manner:

1. Before filing a complaint with the City, occupants shall provide the operator a

written, dated notice providing sufficient detail to identify alleged violations. The notice

shall be provided to operator by certified mail or delivery confirmation.

2. Instances of occupants making complaints concerning the dwelling or dwelling unit

in which they reside, such tenant shall attach a dated copy of the notice in which they

requested the owner or operator to correct the alleged violation, unless the complaint

pertains to an emergency situation as determined by the City Administrator or his or her

designee.

3. The complaints shall be in writing upon a form provided by the City of Clarion

and signed by the complainant.

4. Such complaints shall state the address of the premises, the name of the owner,

landlord or operator, and shall state the nature of the alleged violation with specificity.

5. It is a violation of the provisions of this chapter for an owner or operator to take

reprisals against any tenant making a complaint under the provisions of this chapter. Any

such reprisals shall constitute a municipal infraction.

6. Upon receipt of evidence that the operator has received proper notification as to an

alleged violation and been given an appropriate amount of time to resolve the complaint,

the City may within seven days initiate abatement procedures as outlined in Chapter 50 of

this Code of Ordinances or utilize any other remedy available to it under this Code of

Ordinances, at law, or in equity.

156.12 RIGHT OF ENTRY.

1. City code enforcement personnel are authorized and directed to enforce all of the

provisions of this ordinance and Chapter 157 of this Code of Ordinances and to perform

the duties of safeguarding the health, safety and welfare of the occupants of all rental

dwellings and the general public.

2. City code enforcement personnel are authorized to enter and make inspection to

enforce any of the provisions of this chapter, or whenever there is reasonable cause to

believe that there exists in any building or upon any premises located within the City any

condition or code violation which makes such building or premises unsafe, dangerous or

hazardous.

3. City code enforcement personnel may enter such building or premises at all

reasonable times to inspect the same or to perform any duty imposed upon them by this

chapter, provided that said official shall first present proper credentials and request entry.

Such official shall first make a reasonable effort to locate the owner or other persons having

charge or control of the building or premises and for entry.

4. City Code enforcement personnel may make inspections of all rental premises

pursuant to the City’s regular inspection program as frequently as may be necessary and may

make an inspection at any reasonable time based upon the need for code enforcement.

5. If such entry is refused for regular request or complaint inspections, the City code

enforcement personnel shall have recourse to every remedy provided by law to secure

entry. When the City code enforcement personnel shall have first obtained a proper

inspection warrant or other remedy provided by law to secure entry, no owner, occupant or

any other persons having charge, care or control of any building or premises, shall fail or

neglect to promptly permit entry therein by the authorized personnel for the purpose of

inspection and examination pursuant to this chapter.

156.13 UNRECORDED LAND CONTRACTS OR PURCHASE AGREEMENTS. For

purposes of this chapter, any residential property which is the subject of an unrecorded land

contract or purchase agreement shall be treated the same as rental property. The contract seller shall

have the duties and responsibilities and shall be subject to the same penalties as the owner of rental

property.

156.14 CHAPTER DOES NOT IMPAIR AUTHORITY TO ACT ON NUISANCES. Nothing

in this chapter shall be construed or interpreted to impair or limit in any way the authority of the

City to define and declare nuisances, or of the City Administrator, the Police Chief or other City

officials to cause the removal or abatement of nuisances by summary proceedings or other

appropriate proceedings or otherwise limit in any remedy available to the City under this Code of

Ordinances, at law, or in equity.

156.15 CHAPTER DOES NOT ABROGATE PROVISIONS OF OTHER CODES AND

ORDINANCES. The provisions of this chapter shall not abrogate the responsibility of any person

to comply with any provision of other ordinances of the City.

156.16 FEES. The following fees shall be set by resolution of the Council, non-payment of which

will constitute a municipal infraction:

1. Annual registration and triennial inspection, which are to follow a format of a

set dollar amount for the first unit of each building, with a lesser fee for each additional

unit of a building.

2. Re-inspection.

3. Late registration.

4. Section 8 inspection filing fee.

SECTION 2. REPEALER. All ordinances or parts of ordinances in conflict with the

provisions of this ordinance are hereby repealed.

SECTION 3. SEVERABILITY CLAUSE. If any section, provision or part of this ordinance

shall be adjudged invalid or unconstitutional, such adjudication shall not affect the validity of the

ordinance as a whole or any section, provision or part thereof not adjudged invalid or

unconstitutional.

SECTION 4. WHEN EFFECTIVE. This ordinance shall be in effect after its final passage,

approval and publication as provided by law.

Passed and adopted this __________ day of ____________, 2021, and approved this __________

day of ____________, 2021.

CITY OF CLARION, IOWA

______________________________

Duane Asbe, Mayor

ATTEST:

______________________________

Clint Middleton, City Administrator

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