Rental Housing Inspections

The City of Norwalk has implemented a Rental Housing Inspection Program effective January 2014. This policy initiative was identified by the City Council as a priority for the fiscal year 2013/2014. This program is administered by the Fire Department in coordination with the Building Department.

The purpose of this code is to establish minimum requirements to safeguard the public. The housing code enforcement of minimum property standards is a major part of conserving our City’s older housing stock. This form has been designed to provide both investor/owners and tenants general information on the housing code, and inspection fees assessed to property owners for performing inspections on rental property.

The housing code enforcement process begins with your commitment to provide adequate, safe and sanitary living conditions. It takes the joint efforts of investor/owners and 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.

What does the program cover?

Chapter 169 of the Code of Ordinances applies to all properties or portions thereof which are occupied on a rental basis or if in return for housing, a tenant agrees to
occupy and maintain the premises and pay utilities.

What is the process for obtaining a Rental Certificate of Occupancy?

All owners of rental property must comply with the Code standards. All property owners shall submit an application requesting a Rental Certificate of Occupancy. Upon receipt of an application, the City conducts an inspection of the premises and issues Rental Certificates of Occupancy.

How often are inspections required in order to obtain Certification?

Inspections are required bi-annually in order to receive a Rental Certificate of Occupancy. The property owner or property custodian must submit a Rental Certificate application to Public Safety at 1100 Chatham Ave prior to scheduling an inspection.

FEE SCHEDULE

City code requires that ALL rental properties have a Certificate of Inspection before occupancy is allowed. Fees are payable to the City of Norwalk at the Public Safety building, 1100 Chatham Ave, PRIOR to an inspection or re-inspection.

Rental Housing Registration Fee: This one-time fee is $25 per building (includes one unit) and $10 for each additional unit within the building, with a maximum of $300 per building.

Rental Housing Inspection Rates: This fee is $75 per building (includes one unit) and $15 for each additional unit within the building. * A charge of $25 will be assessed to the property owner for not showing up for the inspection.

Number of Units Fee Number of Units Fee
1 $75.00 6 $150.00
2 $90.00 7 $165.00
3 $105.00 8 $180.00
4 $120.00 9 $195.00
5 $135.00 10 $210.00


Re-inspection Fees:
re-inspections within 30 days of the previous inspection:

First re-inspection $25 per trip + $5 per unit
Second re-inspection $50 per trip + $5 per unit
Third re-inspection $100 per trip + $5 per unit
Fourth re-inspection Constitutes a municipal infraction, subject to the penalties and alternative relief authorized by this Code of Ordinances and by Section 364.22 of the Code of Iowa for failure to comply with the Rental Housing Code; civil penalty is $500 or the maximum amount allowed by State law, whichever is greater.

Assessment of Costs

The City may charge the owner of real property a late payment fee of $25 and may add interest up to 1.5 % per month if costs imposed under subsection one (1) of this section are not paid within 30 days of the date due.

The City shall send a notice of the late payment costs to such owner by first class mail to the owner’s personal or business mailing address. The late payment fee and interest shall not accrue if such owner files an appeal with the City.

Any owner objecting to the collection of costs by assessment may file a written request for a hearing before the Housing Code Appeals Board. The appeal shall be filed within ten (10) days from the date of the notice of late payment. An untimely appeal shall not be accepted unless, in the discretion of the City Manager, good cause is shown for the untimely filing.

The City Manager shall notify the appellant and all board members of the date, time, and location of the hearing. Any unpaid costs and interest shall constitute a lien on the real property and may be collected in the same manner as a property tax. Before a lien is filed, the City shall send a notice of intent to file a lien to the owner of the real property by first class mail to such owner’s personal or business mailing address.

RIGHT TO APPEAL

Any person claiming to be aggrieved by a notice issued under the housing code may file a written complaint with the housing code enforcement officer.

CLASS OF VIOLATIONS

Violations are generally required to be corrected within 30 days or less. A Certificate of Rental Occupancy will not be issued until all violations are corrected.

QUESTIONS

If you have questions, please contact Chief Ryan Coburn at the Norwalk Fire Department at 515-981-0228 ext. 2703 or via email at RCoburn@norwalk.iowa.gov.

Registration and Inspection fees should be paid at Norwalk Public Safety at 1100 Chatham Ave.

Rental Housing Inspection Checklist (Download)

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