GUIDE TO THE CLINTON HOUSING CODE
Iowa State Law requires the inspection of all rental housing on a regular basis. The City of Clinton Building and Neighborhood Services works with property owners and tenants to ensure these inspections are complete. The Minimum Health and Housing Standards (Chapter 155) of the City of Clinton Municipal Code was adopted as the primary code related to rental housing along with the Housing Quality Standards promulgated by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. (Chapter 154)
The housing code enforcement process really begins with your commitment to provide adequate, safe, and sanitary living conditions. It takes the joint effort of owners, tenants, and the City to achieve a viable property maintenance program. It is important to the City, that as a property owner or tenant, you are familiar with health and safety conditions that not only affect an individual's living environment, but the quality of life in our city.
There are many ways the Rental Inspection Program positively impacts the community. By enforcing compliance on a periodic basis, it is less likely that properties will deteriorate to the point where the owner must invest substantial money to repair the property. Those units that are not maintained will be taken out of the market resulting in fairer competition. Owners will not be able to operate substandard rental property. Another benefit is the attraction of renters to Clinton. The inspection program adds a degree of desirability to rent in Clinton versus cities that do not have an inspection program. Those with a choice may have a degree of confidence and trust in the quality of the rental market here that would lead them to rent in Clinton.
WHAT IS A RENTAL PROPERTY?
All property occupied by anyone (including family members) other than the legal owner of record, is considered rental property under the law and required to be inspected whether or not rent is collected.
All structures containing rental dwellings or boarding rooms must be licensed with the City of Clinton. This license must be renewed every 2 calendar years, from the time of inspection. Owners of rental housing will be notified by our office when the permit is set to expire and a schedule of re-inspection. Once a property has passed its periodic inspection, a Rental Occupancy Permit will then be issued and kept on file. Copies of the permit can be requested by contacting the Building and neighborhood Services office. Failure to obtain a Rental Occupancy Permit may result in the structure being ordered vacated and/or a municipal citation may be issued resulting in a fine.
WHO NEEDS TO BE PRESENT DURING THE INSPECTION?
An owner or designated agent must be present during the inspection. The tenant may be the agent for the owner. The owner has the ultimate responsibility to see that the problems/deficiencies noted during inspections are appropriately remedied. Inspection dates and times can be rescheduled due to just cause, but the request to reschedule must be requested by the property owner or manager. Twenty-four hour notice is required to reschedule an appointment and is at the discretion of the inspector. Owners/agents who do not show up for a scheduled inspection will be billed $50.00 for the missed appointment. An additional inspection will need to be scheduled.
Failure to comply with a notice for corrections may result in the owner being charged penalty fees and/or the dwelling unit or structure being required to be vacated and/or a municipal infraction citation being issued requiring an appearance in Clinton County Court. Each day a structure is not in compliance with the code is a separate offense and may be separately charged.
RIGHT TO APPEAL
Any person claiming to be aggrieved by a notice issued as a result of an inspection may file a written appeal to the Board of Housing Standards and Appeals.
Permits are required for many projects including remodeling, roofing, fencing, new furnace, new water heater and new plumbing fixtures. For information about permits please call Building and Neighborhood Services at 244-3360.
The following is a list of basic requirements for all rental housing units. It is recommended that you review this list and conduct your own inspection prior to the housing inspector's visit. This list contains common violations. It is not intended to be a comprehensive list of all possible violations. Click here to see list.
Are structures containing three or more units provided with approved type 2A serviceable fire extinguishers in common corridors on each floor level and the basement? Are the extinguishers no more than 75' apart on the same floor? Have they been checked and tagged by a fire equipment service company within the last 12 months?
Fire Alarm Systems and Exit Signs
Is the fire alarm system (in buildings containing 16 or more units) installed and maintained in a proper working condition in accordance with all state and local codes? Is it annually inspected by an approved alarm system company? Is the equipment tagged showing the date of inspection? Exit signs are required in common areas of apartments when two or more exits are required. If required, are they in place? Are they illuminated properly?