Residential Rental Housing Inspection Program
The City of Fort Madison adopted this program in 2012 to ensure that livable conditions exist in rental properties. Inspections identify and correct code violations resulting in a: through inspections that will identify and correct code violations that result in a:
- Threat to the occupant's safety
- Threat to the structural integrity of the building
- Negative impact on the surrounding neighborhoods
City Building inspectors inspect rental properties for interior and exterior code violations and issue corrective notices as needed. Examples of violations are:
- Inoperable or missing smoke detector, carbon monoxide detector or fire extinguisher.
- Defective electrical systems and/or lack of GFCI protected outlets
- Plumbing leaks, clogs, or other plumbing issues
- Deteriorated or ineffective waterproofing of walls, roof, foundations, or floors
- Split, buckling or sagging roofs, ceilings, floors, and/or supports
- Improper installation and/or operation of heaters and water heaters
- Staircase integrity and/or lacking required hand rails
- Adequate egress from all bedrooms
- General nuisances including overgrown yard, trash and junk, inoperable vehicles, etc.
- Infestation of insects, vermin or rodents
How to Register
Registration is required for every property within city limits that is not the primary residence of the owner as listed on the deed. If the property is occupied by anyone other than the owner it must be registered annually as a rental. Along with the registration fee, 3 Documents need to be included in the registration of each rental property (Click each bullet to open each document):
- Registration Form (PDF)
- Acknowledgment of Tenant Responsibility (PDF)
- Self-Certified Inspection Checklist (PDF)
The registration form will be for all units within the same building. (If multiple buildings are located on one property, a registration form needs to be completed for each building.) The other two forms need to be submitted for each rental unit.
Vacant residential properties are also required to be registered with the rental program in one of two ways. If the property is temporarily vacant but will be used as a rental in the near future it should be registered as a rental. If the property is to remain vacant an Affidavit of Non-Rental (PDF) can be submitted at no cost. This affidavit exempts the property from inspections and registration fees as long as it remains vacant. If the property becomes occupied in the future, the owner, by signing the affidavit, is stating it WILL get registered in the rental program. Failure to do so results in an automatic non-compliance penalty of $300.
All of these forms are also available at the Building Department at City Hall, 811 Avenue E.
How the Program Works
To support the program property owners pay an annual registration fee of $25 per property and $5 per additional rental unit within the same building. Property owners are required to register all rental properties within the City of Fort Madison annually by November 15th for the upcoming year. Along with the registration fee, a registration form with updated contact information and the Self-Certification Checklist are required annually. An updated Acknowledgement of Tenant Responsibilities form is to be turned in for every new tenant. A new rental property has 30 days from the date of purchase or lease agreement to register with the program.
Once a property is registered, the Property Manager or Owner listed on the registration form will be contacted for an inspection. The inspector will look at everything listed on the Self-Certification Checklist. If there are any violations the Property Manager will be provided an inspection report and given 30 days to correct them (unless there are major issues that require more time to correct, in which case the inspector may note an extended timeline on the report). After the 30 days the property will be re-inspected to verify it has been brought into compliance. If any violations still exist the owner will be subject to re-inspection fees for each additional inspection necessary until the property passes without any violations. Once a property passes inspection, an inspection report will be provided to the Property Manager showing no violations. Full inspections are required every 3 years. There are penalty fees associated with missing a scheduled inspection, rescheduling a scheduled inspection more than once, or requiring more than one re-inspection.
There is a $300 non-compliance penalty for any property that is considered non-compliant with the program. This includes properties that fail to submit proper registration within 30 days of purchase/lease agreement, rentals that do not renew annual registration by the 1st of the year, as well as properties that fail to correct violations.
Some properties are exempt from the program, including units that are routinely inspected by a government agency as long as copies of those inspections are submitted.