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A. Certificate And Permit Required For Rental Property: It shall be a violation of this Code for any person to let to another any dwelling, dwelling unit, duplex, multiple dwelling, rooming unit, type III dwelling unit, or rooming house, except the owner occupant who lets to no more than one tenant, unless:
1. The owner or operator holds a valid certificate of structure compliance, issued by the City, applicable to those portions of the specific structure used for residential rental purposes.
2. The owner or operator holds a valid rental permit, issued by the City in the name of the owner or operator, applicable to those portions of the specific structure used for residential rental purposes.
The one tenant exception provided herein is limited to one tenant per dwelling unit regardless of the number of owner occupants. By way of illustration, if there are two (2) owner occupants in a single-family dwelling, a rental permit is required if there are two (2) or more tenants.
B. Certificate Of Structure Compliance:
1. Scope Of Certificate; Transfers; Contents: The certificate of structure compliance shall be a permanent document, except as noted below, which, when issued, shall satisfy the requirements of sections 17-5-17 and 17-5-18 of this chapter. The certificate shall be transferable at the time of a change in ownership and shall remain a part of the Iowa City property file as a matter of public record. The certificate, in and of itself, shall not be interpreted as granting the owner or operator the privilege of letting the structure for residential occupancy but must be accompanied by a valid rental permit. The certificate of structure compliance shall state the date of issuance, type of structure for which the certificate is being issued and street address of the structure to which it is applicable. All dwelling units and rooming units being let for rent and occupancy without a valid certificate of structure compliance or application for the same on file with the City and fees paid may be ordered vacated.
2. Application For Certificate: The owner or operator shall file, in duplicate, an application for a certificate of structure compliance with the Department of Housing and Inspection Services on application forms provided by the inspector.
3. Issuance Of Certificate: When the provisions of sections 17-5-17 and 17-5-18 of this chapter have been complied with by the owner or operator, the Department of Housing and Inspection Services shall issue a certificate of structure compliance upon payment of a fee, the amount of which shall be set by resolution of the City Council.
4. Revocation Of Certificate: The certificate of structure compliance shall be permanent, except when there has been fraud, collusion or illegality in the inspection process applicable to this certificate of structure compliance or when there exists a material and substantial noncompliance with section 17-5-17 or 17-5-18 of this chapter which directly affects the health and/or safety of the occupants therein. The inspector or any other individual who believes that there exists grounds for revocation may petition the Appeals Board to revoke the certificate of structure compliance. The burden of proof shall be upon the party seeking the revocation. The owner or operator of the affected property shall be properly notified of the petition for revocation and shall be notified of the date, place and time of the Appeals Board's consideration of the petition and may appear and defend. Upon final determination by the Appeals Board, a certificate of structure compliance may be modified to reflect the compliance of each dwelling unit and/or rooming unit with sections 17-5-17 and/or 17-5-18 of this chapter or may be revoked in whole or in part.
C. Rental Permit:
1. Scope Of Permit; Transfers; Contents: A rental permit shall be a document indicating compliance with section 17-5-19 of this chapter at the time of issuance and shall be valid for a specified period of time. The document shall be transferable from one owner or operator to another at any time prior to its expiration, termination or revocation. The owner or operator shall notify the Department of Housing and Inspection Services of any change of interest or ownership in the property within thirty (30) calendar days of any conveyance or transfer of interest affecting the property and provide the name and address of all persons who have acquired an interest therein. In the event that the Department of Housing and Inspection Services has not been notified of such conveyance or transfer within the designated period of time, the rental permit shall be transferred from one owner or operator to another only upon payment of a fee, the amount of which shall be established by resolution of the City Council which shall be assessed to the new owner or operator. The rental permit shall state the date of issuance, the address of the structure to which it is applicable, the name of the new owner or operator to which it is applicable, and its new expiration date. The rental permit shall also state the maximum occupancy and the telephone number for the property owner or designated agent. All dwelling units and rooming units being let for rent and occupancy without a valid rental permit may be ordered vacated.
2. Application For Permit: The owner or operator shall file, in duplicate, an application for rental permit with the Department of Housing and Inspection Services on application forms provided by the inspector.
3. Issuance Of Permit:
a. When all provisions of section 17-5-19 of this chapter have been complied with by the owner or operator, the Department of Housing and Inspection Services shall issue a rental permit upon payment of all permit and reinspection fees, the amounts of which shall be established by resolution of the City Council. However, unless the Director determines there is good cause, the rental permit shall not be issued if there are any open building permits on the property, if there are any unpaid judgments entered against the owner in a Municipal infraction for a Code violation on the property or on any other rental property of the owner, or if the owner has failed to cure a violation on the property or on any other rental property of the owner as ordered by the court.
b. Notwithstanding any other provision in this chapter:
(1) The City shall not issue a rental permit for any single- family dwelling or duplex to an owner occupant unless said owner has provided written documentation showing a bona fide intent, as reasonably determined by the Director, to vacate the dwelling for a minimum period of one hundred eighty (180) consecutive days.
(2) Such documentation shall include, but is not limited to: transfer of employment, acceptance of new employment, military orders, acceptance to an educational institution, executed purchase agreement for a single-family or other residential unit, executed lease for a single-family or other residential unit, and marriage license.
(3) The rental permit shall be revoked if the owner fails to vacate the dwelling within one hundred eighty (180) days of its issuance.
(4) No rental permit issued to an owner occupant between January 1, 2018 and the effective date of this subsection C3b shall be renewed unless the owner occupant meets the requirements set forth herein.
(5) With respect to this provision, the Board of Appeals does not have authority to hear an appeal of a decision to deny or revoke a rental permit, grant a variance, or grant any other relief.
4. Expiration Of Permit; Extensions: Rental permits shall be valid through the expiration date contained thereon. However, extensions shall be granted to cover any time period between the stated expiration date and the period of time permitted by the inspector to remedy any violations cited subsequent to a maintenance inspection, provided a rental application is on file with fees paid, up to a maximum of twelve (12) months.
5. Required Procedures Prior To Commencement Of Rental Permit Sanctions:
a. Following a violation that serves as a basis for rental permit sanctions, written notice shall be given by the City to the owner or owner's designated agent of the premises at which the Code violations occurred. The notice is to be sent by regular mail.
b. Following a second violation that serves as a basis for rental permit sanctions within a twelve (12) month period, the City shall schedule a Code compliance settlement meeting involving landlords, tenants, and others whose corrective action is considered necessary by the City to abate and avoid further Code violations. The notice of the meeting is to be sent by regular mail within ten (10) working days of the City providing notice to the owner or owner's agent as required above.
(1) The desired outcome of the Code compliance settlement meeting will be to obtain a Code compliance settlement agreement in which relevant parties, including the owner or owner's designated agent and the tenant(s), agree to take corrective action to abate and avoid further Code violations.
(2) The owner, owner's designated agent, and/or tenant is in violation of this provision under the following circumstances:
(A) Does not attend a Code compliance settlement meeting.
(B) Fails or refuses to sign a Code compliance settlement agreement within forty eight (48) hours of receiving the proposed agreement from the City.
(C) Subsequently fails or refuses to comply with any conditions or requirements set forth in a Code compliance settlement agreement.
(3) Violation of this provision authorizes the City to impose rental permit sanctions. The City in its determination may consider, without limitation, the following factors:
(A) Level of cooperation of the parties in attempting to resolve issues.
(B) Level of disturbance associated with the violations.
(C) Impact of violations upon neighbors or other victims.
(D) Degree to which parties have taken reasonable steps to try and resolve problems.
(E) History of City and State Code violations.
(4) Violation of this provision authorizes the City to issue Municipal infraction citations to any tenant, whose corrective action is considered necessary by the City to abate and avoid further Code violations, who fails to attend, refuses to sign or subsequently fails or refuses to comply with conditions or requirements set forth in a Code compliance settlement agreement.
c. Effective July 1, 2018, the twelve (12) month period of time in subsection C5b of this section shall be twenty four (24) months.
6. Defenses To An Enforcement Action Of The Provisions Of This Section: It shall be a defense to an enforcement action pursuant to the provisions of this section if an owner or owner's designated agent has:
a. Reported the violation to law enforcement;
b. Evicted or attempted to evict by commencing and pursuing with due diligence all legal remedies to evict those tenants charged with one of the specified violations. It is not the intention of this provision to apply to tenants who have not been charged with one of the specified violations;
c. Undertaken and pursued with due diligence, reasonable means to avoid a recurrence of Code violations on the premises by the present and future tenants or occupants of the premises; or
d. Executed a property management action plan.
The defenses set forth in this section shall not be available to any person who fails to attend a Code compliance settlement meeting.
7. Rental Permit Sanctions:
Comment: Sanctions may be applied to an individual dwelling unit, the entire rental dwelling, or the premises. Each separate violation shall count as a basis for a rental permit sanction unless the owner qualifies for a defense to enforcement under subsection C6 of this section. The following sanctions may be imposed upon a rental permit:
a. Reduced term rental permit (1 year rental permit);
b. Suspension of rental permit; and
c. Revocation of rental permit.
8. Reduced Term Rental Permits: The Director may issue a reduced term rental permit with conditions for any of the following reasons:
a. The owner, any occupant, and/or any of their guests on two (2) or more separate occasions within a twelve (12) month period of time have been issued criminal complaints for violations of the following provisions of the Iowa Code, this Code or United States Code on the premises of a rental property:
(1) Iowa Code chapter 124, sections 401 and 403 (controlled substance).
(2) Iowa Code chapter 708, sections 708.1 (assault), 708.3 (assault while participating in a felony), 708.4 (wilful injury), 708.6 (terrorism), 708.11 (stalking).
(3) Iowa Code chapter 724, sections 724.3 (unauthorized possession of offensive weapons), 724.16 (trafficking in stolen weapons), 724.30 (reckless use of a firearm).
(4) Iowa Code chapter 123, sections 123.46 (consumption or intoxication in public places), 123.47 (possession of alcohol under legal age).
(5) Iowa Code chapter 716, sections 716.3 (criminal mischief in the first degree), 716.4 (criminal mischief in the second degree), 716.5 (criminal mischief in the third degree), 716.6 (criminal mischief in the fourth degree), 716.6A (criminal mischief in violation of individual rights), 716.7 (trespass).
(6) Iowa Code chapter 719, section 719.1 (interference with official acts).
(7) Iowa Code chapter 723, sections 723.1 (riot), 723.4 (disorderly conduct).
(8) Title 13, United States Code, sections 841, 842, 843, 844, 846, 856, and 861 (controlled substances).
(9) Section 4-5-3, "Consumption Or Possession In Public Places And City Buildings", of this Code.
(10) Section 4-5-4, "Regulation Of Persons Under Legal Age", of this Code.
(11) Title 6, chapter 4, "Noise Control", of this Code.
(12) Section 8-5-1, "Disorderly Conduct", of this Code.
(13) Subsection 8-5-3C, "Obstructing Officers", of this Code.
(14) Section 8-5-4, "Damaging, Defacing Property", of this Code.
(15) Section 8-5-5, "Keeping Disorderly House", of this Code.
(16) Section 8-5-6, "Indecent Exposure", of this Code.
(17) Section 8-5-13, "Public Urination And Defecation", of this Code.
b. The owner, any occupant, and/or any of their guests on three (3) or more separate occasions within a period of twelve (12) months have been issued Municipal citations or written notices of violations for the following provisions of this Code on the premises of a rental property:
(1) This title, "Building And Housing".
(2) Title 14, "Zoning Code", of this Code.
(3) Title 6, chapter 1, "Nuisances", of this Code.
(4) Title 6, chapter 3, "Weed Control", of this Code.
(5) Title 6, chapter 9, "Graffiti", of this Code.
c. On two (2) or more separate occasions within a twelve (12) month period of time, there is a founded complaint against a tenant. "Founded complaint" means the issuance of a Municipal infraction against a tenant for violation of subsection 8-5-5C, "Civil Sanction", of this Code or evidence sufficient to issue a criminal complaint for violation of subsection 8-5-5A, "Simple Misdemeanor", of this Code had a police officer been able to identify a tenant who was present.
The reduced term rental permit will be a one year rental permit required to be renewed annually. This sanction shall be in effect for a period of not less than four (4) years and annual licensing inspections and fees are required. The Director may require any of the following with the issuance of a reduced term rental permit: compliance with Iowa Code and/or City codes; submittal of a copy of the current lease agreement; payment of all City fees; payment of all court costs and fines; execution of a property management action plan; provision of a property management performance guarantee; and any other information the City deems necessary for enforcement of any provision of the Iowa Code or this Code.
d. Effective July 1, 2018, the twelve (12) month period of time in subsections C8a, C8b, and C8c of this section shall be twenty four (24) months.
9. Basis For Suspension Of Rental Permit: The Director may suspend a rental permit for any of the following reasons:
a. Failure to comply with the conditions of the reduced term rental permit.
b. Failure to comply with a court decision concerning the violation of any provision of section 17-5-19 of this chapter.
c. Adjudication by the court that the owner, owner's designated agent, or persons acting on behalf of the owner has: 1) violated the maximum occupancy provisions of this Code; 2) illegally used or allowed the illegal use of nonhabitable or nonoccupiable space; or 3) illegally converted space to habitable use.
d. Failure to comply with an order to abate a dangerous building.
e. Failure to comply with any emergency order or placarding of a structure.
f. Additional violations by the tenants or owner of the Iowa Code, this Code, or United States Code occur within one year of the conditions imposed pursuant to the reduced term rental permit.
g. Failure by the owner to pay a judgment or to cure a violation as ordered by the court in a Municipal infraction for a Code violation on the property or on any other rental property of the owner. The rental permit shall be reinstated upon payment of the judgment or abatement of the violation.
A rental permit shall be suspended for no more than one hundred eighty (180) days beginning from the date of the Director's decision or a court ruling on a Municipal infraction and no later than at the end of the current lease period unless a property management plan is executed.
10. Basis For Revocation Of Rental Permit: The Director may revoke a rental permit for any of the following reasons:
a. Failure to comply with an order to abate a dangerous building.
b. Failure to comply with an emergency order or placarding of a structure.
c. Failure to comply with suspension of rental permit.
d. More than one basis for rental permit suspension within two (2) years of the reinstated permit previously having been suspended.
e. The owner or owner's designated agent convicted for making false statements on a rental permit application, and/or informational disclosure and acknowledgment form.
A rental permit shall be revoked for not less than one year beginning from the date of the Director's decision or a court ruling on a Municipal infraction.
11. Reinstatement Of Rental Permit:
a. Suspended Permit: A suspended permit shall be reinstated upon completion of the suspension period and execution of a property management action plan.
b. Revoked Permit: An application for a new permit may be made after one year from the date revocation was effective. The application shall be processed in the same manner as an initial rental permit application, and requires execution of a property management action plan.
c. Transfer Of Ownership: Transfer of ownership does not modify or alter any sanction imposed unless approved by the City or unless the transfer is an arm's length transaction between disinterested parties as determined by the City.
12. Exemption: Notwithstanding any other provision herein, the rental permit sanctions are inapplicable to victims of abuse or crime as provided in HF 493 (2016) to be codified at section 562A.27B of the Iowa Code.
13. Temporary Rental Permits: The City may issue a temporary rental permit for a maximum of twenty four (24) months if the owner is an individual: a) 1) who has been occupying the dwelling; 2) who intends to return to the dwelling; and 3) whose absence is due to a sabbatical, an extended vacation, spending winter months in a warmer climate, military service, a volunteer commitment, employment, or substantially similar reason; or b) who occupied the dwelling at the time of death and the owner's heir(s) occupies or intends to occupy the dwelling.
D. Hearing Upon Denial Of Certificate Or Permit: Any person whose application for a certificate of structure compliance or rental permit has been denied may request, and shall be granted, a hearing on the matter before the Appeals Board. Application for the appeal hearing must be made within ten (10) calendar days of receipt of the written notice of denial.
E. Rental Permit Cap:
RENTAL IMPACT AREA: Means the geographic area delineated as such on the Rental Impact Area Map in figure 17-1 of this section.
RENTAL PERMIT DISTRICT: Means the geographic districts labelled and delineated on the Rental Impact Area Map in figure 17-1 of this section.
2. Permits Limited: Within the rental impact area, the City shall not issue a rental permit for any single-family dwelling or duplex in a rental permit district where the percentage of single-family dwellings and duplex units that have rental permits exceeds thirty percent (30%) of the total number of single-family and duplex units within said rental permit district, except as provided herein. This limit shall be known as the rental permit cap.
3. Exceptions To The Rental Permit Cap:
a. Dwelling with a rental permit on the effective date of this subsection E.
b. Dwelling with a rental permit that expired after December 13, 2015 if a renewed rental permit is issued before July 1, 2018.
c. Existing legally nonconforming single-family dwellings and duplex units located within a zoning district where single-family dwellings and duplex units are not an allowed use.
d. Accessory dwelling units.
e. Owner-occupied duplexes, where the owner occupies one unit and leases out the second unit.
f. Approved bed and breakfast homestays and inns.
g. Dwelling with a temporary rental permit.
h. Group household as defined in title 14 of this Code.
i. A new single-family dwelling or duplex if a building permit was issued before June 13, 2017.
j. An existing single-family dwelling or duplex if a building permit was issued after December 13, 2015 and before June 13, 2017.
4. Board Of Appeals: Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the Board of Appeals does not have the authority to grant an exception, variance, or any other relief to the rental permit cap.
F. Short-Term Rentals. The requirements for a short-term rental property are as follows:
1. Short-term rental property means: Any individually or collectively owned single-family house or dwelling unit; any unit or group of units in a condominium, cooperative, or timeshare; or an owner-occupied residential home that is offered for a fee of thirty (30) days or less. Short-term rental property does not include a unit that is used for any retail, restaurant, banquet space, event center, or other similar use.
2. It shall be a violation of this Code for any person to let to another a short-term rental property unless the owner or operator holds a valid rental permit issued by the City.
3. All provisions in Sections 17-5-16A, B, C, and D of this chapter apply to short-term rental permits except that no application or inspection fee may be charged.
4. The owner or operator shall provide a "designated agent" as set forth in Section 17-5-15 of this chapter.
(1978 Code §17-4; amd. 1994 Code; Ord. 03-4082, 5-20-2003; Ord. 08-4315, 9-9-2008; Ord. 12-4468, 3-20-2012; Ord. 12-4496, 9-18-2012; Ord. 16-4669, 7-19-2016; Ord. 17-4734, 12-19-2017, eff. 1-1-2018; Ord. 18-4769, 9-18-2018; Ord. 20-4832, 10-20-2020)