(A)   Scope. The provisions of this section shall govern the minimum conditions and the responsibilities of persons for maintenance of structures, equipment and exterior property.
   (B)   Responsibility. The owner of the premises shall maintain the structures and exterior property in compliance with these requirements, except as otherwise provided for in this chapter. A person shall not occupy as owner-occupant or permit another person to occupy premises which are not in a sanitary and safe condition and which do not comply with the requirements of this section. Occupants of a dwelling unit, rooming unit or housekeeping unit are responsible for keeping it in a clean, sanitary and safe condition that part of the dwelling unit, rooming unit, housekeeping unit or premises which they occupy and control.
   (C)   Vacant structures and land. All vacant structures and premises thereof or vacant land shall be maintained in a clean, safe, secure and sanitary condition as provided herein so as not to cause a blighting problem or adversely affect the public health or safety.
   (D)   Department of Property Maintenance Inspection. The City Council shall appoint an individual to serve as ordinance official. That individual shall have the authority to appoint a deputy, inspectors, and employees as approved by the City Council.
      (1)   Restriction of employees. The ordinance official or employee connected with the enforcement of this chapter shall not be engaged in, or directly or indirectly connected with, the furnishing of labor, materials, or appliances for the construction, alteration, or maintenance of a building, or the preparation of construction documents thereof, unless that person is the owner of the building or property; nor shall such officer or employee engage in any work that conflicts with official duties or with the interests of the Department.
      (2)   Liability. The ordinance official, officer, or employee charged with enforcement of this chapter, while acting for the city, shall not thereby be rendered liable personally, and is hereby relieved from all personal liability for any damage accruing to persons or property as a result of an act required or permitted in the discharge of official duties. Any suit instituted against any official, officer, or employee because of an act performed by that official, officer, or employee in the lawful discharge of duties and under the provisions of this chapter shall be defended by the legal representative of the jurisdiction until the final termination of the proceedings. The ordinance official or any subordinate shall not be liable for costs in an action, suit or proceeding that is instituted in pursuance of the provision of this chapter; and any official, officer, or employee of the Department of Building Safety, acting in good faith and without malice, shall be free from liability for acts performed under any of its provisions or by reason of any act of omission in the performance of official duties in connection therewith.
   (E)   Duties and power of the ordinance official.
      (1)   General. The ordinance official shall enforce the provisions of this chapter.
      (2)   Rule-making authority. The ordinance official shall have authority as necessary in the interest of public health, safety, and general welfare, to adopt and promulgate rules and procedures; to interpret and implement the provisions of this chapter; to secure the intent thereof; and to designate requirements applicable because of local climatic or other conditions. Such rules shall not have the effect of waiving structural or fire performance requirements specifically provided for in this chapter, or of violating accepted engineering methods involving public safety.
      (3)   Inspections. The ordinance official shall make all of the required inspections, or shall accept reports of inspection by approved agencies or individuals. All reports of such inspections shall be in writing and be certified by a responsible individual. The ordinance official is authorized to engage such expert opinion as deemed necessary to report upon unusual technical issues that arise, subject to the approval of the City Administrator.
      (4)   Right of entry. The ordinance official may enter the structure or premises as with the approval of the owner to inspect subject to constitutional restrictions on unreasonable searches and seizures. If entry is refused or not obtained, the ordinance official is authorized to pursue recourse as provided by Minnesota law.
      (5)   Identification. The ordinance official shall carry proper identification when inspecting structures and premises in the performance of duties under this chapter.
      (6)   Notices, orders and citations. The ordinance official shall issue all necessary notices, orders, and citations to ensure compliance with this chapter.
      (7)   Department records. The ordinance official shall keep official records of all business and activities of the Department specified in the provisions of this chapter. Such records shall be retained in the official records as long as the building or structure to which the records relate remains in existence, unless otherwise provided for by other regulations.
      (8)   Coordination of inspections. Whenever in the enforcement of this chapter or another ordinance, the responsibility of more than 1 ordinance official of the jurisdiction is involved, it shall be the duty of the ordinance officials involved to coordinate their inspections and administrative orders as fully as practicable so that the owners and occupants of the structure shall not be subjected to visits by numerous inspectors or multiple or conflicting orders.
   (F)   Approval.
      (1)   Modifications. Whenever there are practical difficulties involved in carrying out the provisions of this chapter, the ordinance official shall have the authority to grant modifications for individual cases, provided the ordinance official shall first find that special individual reasons makes the strict letter of the code impractical and modification does not lessen health, life, and fire safety requirements. The details of action granting modification shall be recorded and entered in Department files.
      (2)   Alternative materials, methods, and equipment. The provisions of this chapter are not intended to prevent the installation of any material or to prohibit any method of construction not specifically prescribed by this chapter, provided that any such alternative has been approved. An alternative material or method of construction shall be approved where the ordinance official finds that the proposed design is satisfactory and complies with the intent of the provisions of this chapter, and that the material, method or work offered is, for the purpose intended, at least the equivalent of that prescribed in this chapter in quality, strength, effectiveness, fire resistance, durability, and safety.
      (3)   Required testing. Whenever there is insufficient evidence on compliance with the provisions of this chapter, or evidence that a material or method does not conform to the requirements of this chapter, or in order to substantiate claims for alternative materials or methods, the ordinance official shall have the authority to require tests to be made as evidence of compliance at no expense to the jurisdiction.
         (a)   Test methods. Test methods shall be as specified in this chapter or by other recognized test standards. In the absence of recognized and accepted test methods, the ordinance official shall be permitted to approve appropriate testing procedures performed by an approved agency.
         (b)   Testing agency. All tests shall be performed by an approved agency.
         (c)   Test reports. Reports of tests shall be retained by the ordinance official for the period required for retention of records.
      (4)   Materials and equipment reuse. Materials, equipment and devices shall not be reused unless such elements are in good repair or have been reconditioned and tested when necessary, placed in good and proper working condition and approved.
(Ord. 336, passed 6-6-2016)