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
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of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Clarion, Iowa, 2009 are hereby repealed and the following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:
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
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
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
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.
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
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
A. Properties that qualify for the State of Iowa homestead property tax
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
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)
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
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,
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
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
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
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
B. Every wall and ceiling shall be kept reasonably clean and free of dirt or
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
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
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
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.
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
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
Clint Middleton, City Administrator