RENTAL HOUSING PROGRAM
The City of Missouri Valley has established an ordinance for rental housing inspections. Adoption of the ordinance to establish minimum quality standards for all residential housing, housing units, rooming houses and rooming units. Enforcement of this ordinance to establish regular rental inspections; and protect the health, safety and general welfare of the citizens of the City of Missouri Valley
The rental housing inspections perform compliant-based inspections looking for dangerous conditions and code violations
All owners of rental property are required to register each rental unit with the City. Fee for the permit and inspection are as follows, a permit is valid for 3 years:
- Single Family Rental Units (Houses) - $100
- Multi Family Rental Units (Apartment) - $60
Late Fees and Non-Registration Fees
A property shall be considered not registered once notice has been given to the property owner and 30 days have passed since notice has been served via first class mail. A failure to register extending beyond 90 days is a municipal infraction subject to the provisions of the Missouri Valley Code of Ordinances
- Failure to Register - $150 per unit
Properties that fail their first inspection must be reinspected to verify that corrections have been made. If the corrections are made within the allotted timeline, the first re-inspection shall be at no cost to the property owner. If the corrections are not made, the inspection and all subsequent inspections, if required shall be charged.
- Re-Inspection - $50 per unit
- Failure to show for scheduled Inspection - $50
Is it a Rental?
Most residential rental situations are very straight forward: someone pay someone else to rent live in a housing unit that they themselves do not own. Some residential rental situations are less clear. Renters may provide goods or services in exchange for rights to live in a housing unit.
The intent of the City of Missouri Valley's rental inspection program is to ensure that residential rental properties are safe in order to protect the health and welfare of City residents. The City relies on Iowa Code Section 562A to determine whether or not a residential housing arrangement is a rental situation. All properties found to be rental situations are subject to the rental inspection program. In order to enforce the ordinance, there are three primary tests, all three must be met for it to be considered a rental:
- Does the occupant not own the property, but has exclusive right to reside there? Is someone other than the owner living at the property? "Exclusive" in this case does not mean only one tenant or without roommates, but in means that while the occupant is living there someone else can't freely move in and take their place.
- Is the occupancy not transient in nature? Would the occupant consider the location their permanent address? Examples of transient housing would include hotels or individuals staying with family or friends for a short period of time.
- Is there a rental agreement (oral or written) that sets out terms and conditions between the occupant and the owners? The most straight forward type of rental agreement would be that the tenant owes the landlord $500 a month to live in an apartment; however, there are other types of arrangements that meet this test. For example, does the occupant maintain the property in exchange for the right to live there? Does the occupant pay the utilities on the property? Does the owner receive a benefit from the occupant, and in exchange does the occupant have the right to live there?
Similarly, if a property is a rental property and is vacant and not made available to rent, it need not be registered or inspected. However, before such vacant property can be made available to rent it must be registered and inspected.
* Family ties do not exclude a rental unit from the rental inspection program. If a family member rents a housing unit from another family member, the rental code applies.