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CHAPTER 145: DANGEROUS BUILDINGS
145.01 ENFORCEMENT OFFICER. The Zoning Administrator is responsible for the enforcement of this chapter.
145.02 GENERAL DEFINITION OF UNSAFE. All buildings or structures which are structurally unsafe or not provided with adequate egress, or which constitute a fire hazard, or are otherwise dangerous to human life, or which in relation to existing use constitute a hazard to safety or health, or public welfare, by reason of inadequate maintenance, dilapidation, obsolescence, or abandonment, are, for the purpose of this chapter, unsafe buildings. All such unsafe buildings are hereby declared to be public nuisances and shall be abated by repair, rehabilitation, demolition, or removal in accordance with the procedure specified in this chapter. (Code of Iowa, Sec. 657A.1 & 364.12[3a])
145.03 UNSAFE BUILDING. “Unsafe building” means any structure or mobile home meeting any or all of the following criteria:
- Various Inadequacies. Whenever the building or structure, or any portion thereof, because of (i) dilapidation, deterioration, or decay; (ii) faulty construction; (iii) the removal, movement, or instability of any portion of the ground necessary for the purpose of supporting such building; (iv) the deterioration, decay, or inadequacy of its foundation; or (v) any other cause, is likely to partially or completely collapse.
- Manifestly Unsafe. Whenever, for any reason, the building or structure, or any portion thereof, is manifestly unsafe for the purpose for which it is being used.
- Inadequate Maintenance. Whenever a building or structure, used or intended to be used for dwelling purposes, because of dilapidation, decay, damage, faulty construction, or otherwise, is determined by any health officer to be unsanitary, unfit for human habitation or in such condition that it is likely to cause sickness or disease.
- Fire Hazard. Whenever any building or structure, because of dilapidated condition, deterioration, damage, or other cause, is determined by the Fire Marshal or Fire Chief to be a fire hazard.
- Whenever any portion of a building or structure remains on a site after the demolition or destruction of the building or structure or whenever any building or structure is abandoned for a period in excess of six (6) months so as to constitute such building or portion thereof an attractive nuisance or hazard to the public.
145.04 RIGHT OF ENTRY. When it is reported to the Enforcement Officer that any building or structure or portion thereof may be in violation of this chapter and it is necessary for the Enforcement Officer to examine or cause to be examined the same to determine whether said building, structure or portion thereof is an unsafe building as defined in this chapter, any authorized official of the City may, upon presentation of proper identification, enter such building, structure or portion thereof at all reasonable times to examine the same, provided that, except in emergency situations, said Enforcement Officer shall first serve upon the owner a written notice at least 24 hours in advance of the authorized official’s intention to examine. In the event the owner and/or occupant refuses entry, the official is empowered to seek assistance from any Court of competent jurisdiction or administrative power in obtaining such entry.
145.05 NOTICE TO OWNER. The enforcement officer shall examine or cause to be examined every building or structure or portion thereof reported as dangerous or damaged and, if such is found to be an unsafe building as defined in this chapter, the enforcement officer shall give to the owner of such building or structure written notice stating the defects thereof. This notice may require the owner or person in charge of the building or premises, within forty-eight (48) hours or such reasonable time as the circumstances require, to commence either the required repairs or improvements or demolition and removal of the building or structure or portions thereof, and all such work shall be completed within ninety (90) days from date of notice, unless otherwise stipulated by the enforcement officer. If necessary, such notice shall also require the building, structure, or portion thereof to be vacated forthwith and not reoccupied until the required repairs and improvements are completed, inspected and approved by the enforcement officer. (Code of Iowa, Sec. 364.12[3h])
- Notice Served. Such notice shall be served by sending by certified mail to the owner of record, according to Section 364.12[3h] of the Code of Iowa, if the owner is found within the City limits. If the owner is not found within the City limits such service may be made upon the owner by registered mail or certified mail. The designated period within which said owner or person in charge is required to comply with the order of the enforcement officer shall begin as of the date the owner receives such notice.
- Such notice shall also advise the owner that he or she may request a hearing before the Council on the notice by filing a written request for hearing within the time provided in the notice.
145.06 CONDUCT OF HEARING. If requested, the Council shall conduct a hearing in accordance with the following:
- The owner shall be served with written notice specifying the date, time and place of hearing.
- Owner’s Rights. At the hearing, the owner may appear and show cause why the alleged nuisance shall not be abated.
- The Council shall make and record findings of fact and may issue such order as it deems appropriate.†
145.07 POSTING OF SIGNS. The enforcement officer shall cause to be posted at each entrance to such building a notice to read: “DO NOT ENTER. UNSAFE TO OCCUPY. CITY OF ROCK VALLEY, IOWA.” Such notice shall remain posted until the required repairs, demolition, or removal are completed. Such notice shall not be removed without written permission of the enforcement officer and no person shall enter the building except for the purpose of making the required repairs or of demolishing the building.
145.08 RIGHT TO DEMOLISH; MUNICIPAL INFRACTION. In case the owner fails, neglects, or refuses to comply with the notice to repair, rehabilitate, or to demolish and remove the building or structure or portion thereof, the Council may order the owner of the building prosecuted as a violator of the provisions of this chapter and may order the enforcement officer to proceed with the work specified in such notice. A statement of the cost of such work shall be transmitted to the Council. As an alternative to this action, the City may utilize the municipal infraction process to abate the nuisance. (Code of Iowa, Sec. 364.12[3h])
145.09 COSTS. Costs incurred under Section 145.07 shall be paid out of the City treasury. Such costs shall be charged to the owner of the premises involved and levied as a special assessment against the land on which the building or structure is located, and shall be certified to the County Treasurer for collection in the manner provided for other taxes. In addition, the City may take any other action deemed appropriate to recover costs incurred. (Code of Iowa, Sec. 364.12[3h])
† EDITOR’S NOTE: Suggested forms of notice and of a resolution and order of the Council for the administration of this chapter are provided in the APPENDIX to this Code of Ordinances. Caution is urged in the use of this procedure. We recommend you review the situation with your attorney before initiating procedures and follow his or her recommendation carefully.
CHAPTER 146: MANUFACTURED AND MOBILE HOMES
146.01 DEFINITIONS. For use in this chapter the following terms are defined:
(Code of Iowa, Sec. 435.1)
- “Manufactured home” means a factory-built structure, built under the authority of 42 U.S.C. Sec. 5403, which was constructed on or after June 15, 1976, and is required by Federal law to display a seal from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.
- “Manufactured home community” means any site, lot, field or tract of land under common ownership upon which ten or more occupied manufactured homes are harbored, either free of charge or for revenue purposes, and includes any building, structure or enclosure used or intended for use as part of the equipment of the manufactured home community.
- “Mobile home” means any vehicle without motive power used or so manufactured or constructed as to permit its being used as a conveyance upon the public streets and highways and so designed, constructed or reconstructed as will permit the vehicle to be used as a place for human habitation by one or more persons; but also includes any such vehicle with motive power not registered as a motor vehicle in Iowa. A mobile home means any such vehicle built before June 15, 1976, which was not built to a mandatory building code and which contains no State or Federal seals.
- “Mobile home park” means any site, lot, field or tract of land upon which three (3) or more mobile homes or manufactured homes, or a combination of any of these homes, are placed on developed spaces and operated as a for-profit enterprise with water, sewer or septic, and electrical services available.
The term “manufactured home community” or “mobile home park” is not to be construed to include manufactured or mobile homes, buildings, tents or other structures temporarily maintained by any individual, educational institution or company on their own premises and used exclusively to house their own labor or students. The manufactured home community or mobile home park shall meet the requirements of any zoning regulations that are in effect.
146.02 CONVERSION TO REAL PROPERTY. A mobile home or manufactured home which is located outside a manufactured home community or mobile home park shall be converted to real estate by being placed on a permanent foundation and shall be assessed for real estate taxes except in the following cases:
(Code of Iowa, Sec. 435.26 & Sec. 435.35)
- Retailer’s Stock. Mobile homes or manufactured homes on private property as part of a retailer’s or a manufacturer’s stock not used as a place for human habitation.
- Existing Homes. A taxable mobile home or manufactured home which is located outside of a manufactured home community or mobile home park as of January 1, 1995, shall be assessed and taxed as real estate, but is exempt from the permanent foundation requirement of this chapter until the home is relocated.
146.03 FOUNDATION REQUIREMENTS. A mobile home or manufactured home located outside of a manufactured home community or mobile home park shall be placed on a permanent frost-free foundation system which meets the support and anchorage requirements as recommended by the manufacturer or required by the State Building Code. The foundation system must be visually compatible with permanent foundation systems of surrounding residential structures. Any such home shall be installed in accordance with the requirements of the State Building Code. (Code of Iowa, Sec. 103A.10 & 414.28)