Section 457:00. Definitions. The following words and terms as used in this section, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
Subd. 1. 'Dwelling Unit" means a residential building or portion thereof wholly or partly used or intended to be used for living, sleeping, cooking, or eating purposes by human occupants, rented or offered for rent by any person to any other person for use for residential purposes. 'Dwelling Unit" means and includes apartments, single-family dwellings, or manufactured (mobile) homes. 'Dwelling Unit" does not include rest homes, convalescent homes, nursing homes, hotels, motels, dormitories, or facilities licensed by the State of Minnesota as institutional occupancies.
The annual dwelling unit license and inspection fee shall be in an amount duly established by the Council from time to time. No license shall be issued under this section until the appropriate license fee shall be paid in full.
Subd. 2. 'Fire Chief" means Chief of the Owatonna City Fire Department or authorized designee.
Section 457:05. Registration Certificate Required.
Subd. 1. No owner shall allow another person to occupy, nor shall any person let to another for occupancy, any dwelling unit without first obtaining a registration certificate as provided in this Ordinance, or at any time that the registration certificate, or the right to receive such a registration certificate, is suspended or revoked. This registration certificate is also referred to within this section as a 'rental license" or 'license". Any registration certificate obtained pursuant to this section shall be issued in the name of the owner. In the case of a multiple unit dwelling, a registration certificate issued pursuant to this section includes and applies to both the entire dwelling as well as each individual rental unit within the dwelling. Any suspension or revocation of the registration certificate or the right to receive a registration certificate may involve the entire dwelling or an individual unit or units within the dwelling.
Subd. 2. The occupancy or rental of any dwelling unit for which a registration certificate is required, need not be interrupted or suspended for lack of a registration certificate if the same is due to the inability of the City to process the application in a timely manner, or if the owner is in the process of complying with a notice of deficiencies from the City within the period of time authorized by the Fire Chief.
Section 457:10. Initial Application/Provisional Licenses. On or before September 1, 2003 all owners of dwelling units shall apply for a registration certificate as hereinafter provided. Upon filing the application and payment of the inspection fee, the applicant will be issued a provisional license pending inspection of the dwelling unit. Following the inspection provided in this Ordinance and a determination that the dwelling unit is in compliance with this Section 457 (Rental Registration), Section 460 (Minimum Housing Standards), and Section 304 (International Fire Code) of this Ordinance Code or any applicable federal or state statute or administrative rule, or any other City or County ordinance, and upon payment of the license fee, a registration certificate will be issued to the owner for the dwelling unit or units.
Section 457:15. Application for Registration Certificate. An application for a registration certification shall be filed by the owner with the Fire Chief. An application for any dwelling to be converted to a use which would require a registration certificate shall be made and filed with the Fire Chief at least thirty (30) days prior to such conversion.
Section 457:20. Application Forms. Forms of applications for registration certificate that shall be supplied by the Fire Chief and will be available in the offices of the Fire Chief.
Section 457:25. Applications. Each application for registration certificate shall contain the following information:
(1) Name, residence address, telephone number, and date of birth of the owner of the dwelling. If the owner is a partnership, the name of the partnership, and the name, residence address, telephone number, and date of birth of the managing partner. If the owner is a corporation, the name and address of the corporation, and the name, address, telephone number, and date of birth of the chief operating officer. If the dwelling is being sold on a contract for deed, the name and address of the contract vendee. Where the word 'owner" is used in any part of this Ordinance, it shall include all persons as outlined in this section.
(2) Name, residence address, telephone number, and date of birth of any agent appointed by the owner to accept service of process and to receive or give receipt for notices.
(3) Name, residence address, telephone number, and date of birth of any agent actively involved in maintenance or management of said dwelling.
(4) Legal street address of the dwelling.
(5) Description of the number and type of units offered for rent and the facilities incorporated in such rental units.
(6) Any person making application for a rental registration certificate must provide proof of identification by the use of a driver's license, state issued identification card, military identification card, or such other identification as is acceptable to the Fire Chief. The identification provided must set forth the full name and date of birth of the person making the application.
(7) An acknowledgment that the applicant has reviewed and understands the provisions of this section, intends to abide by the provisions and will include reference to this section in any written lease used in renting the property.
Section 457:30. Agent Required. Any license holder who does not reside within a 30 mile radius of the City, shall, by a written document executed and acknowledged by such license holder, appoint an agent residing within that area, upon which agent the City may serve notices pertaining to the administration of this section or of any provisions of the City Code pertaining to such dwelling unit, which service shall be as effective as if made upon such license holder.
In those cases where an agent is appointed, the license holder shall provide the Fire Chief with the full name, date of birth, address and telephone number of such agent(s). A license holder shall provide written notice to the Fire Chief, with the required information, whenever the agent for a licensed property is changed. The written notice shall be provided to the Fire Chief within 48 hours of such change(s).
Section 457:35. Investigation. The Fire Chief shall investigate all applications for the registration certificate to verify that the dwelling units offered for rent comply with the provisions of this Section 457 (Rental Registration), Section 460 (Minimum Housing Standards), and Section 304 (International Fire Code) of this Ordinance Code or any applicable federal or state statute or administrative rule, or any other City or County ordinance.
Section 457:40. Issuance and Posting of Registration Certificate. Whenever the investigation of an application indicates that the dwelling units comply with all provisions of this Section 457 (Rental Registration), Section 460 (Minimum Housing Standards), and Section 304 (International Fire Code) of this Ordinance Code or any applicable federal or state statute or administrative rule, or any other City or County ordinance, the Fire Chief shall issue a registration certificate. Every registrant of a dwelling unit shall post the registration certificate in a conspicuous place.
Section 457:45. Notice of Violation.
Subd. 1. Whenever the investigation of an application for registration certificate indicates that the dwelling unit does not comply with this Section 457 (Rental Registration), Section 460 (Minimum Housing Standards), and Section 304 (International Fire Code) of this Ordinance Code or any applicable federal or state statute or administrative rule, or any other City or County ordinance, the Fire Chief shall serve a notice of violation on the applicant in the manner hereafter provided:
Subd. 2. Such notice shall:
(1) Be in writing;
(2) Include the street address or other description of the real estate sufficient for identification;
(3) Include a statement of the violation or violations for which the notice is being issued;
(4) Specify a reasonable time for the performance of any act it requires; and
(5) Be served upon the owner, or the agent, by personal service or by leaving a copy at the owner or agent's usual place of abode with a person of suitable age and discretion then resident therein; or by depositing the notice in the United States post office addressed to the owner at the owner's last known address with postage prepaid thereon or if service cannot be made by any one of the above means then such notice shall be deemed served if a copy of such notice be posted and kept posted for 48 hours in a conspicuous place on the premises affected by such notice. Such notice may contain an outline of remedial actions, which if taken, will effect compliance with the provisions of this ordinance.
Subd. 3. Owners of rental property shall give notice of outstanding violations of this section to any purchaser of such property.
Section 457:50. Rejection of Application. Whenever the investigation of an application for registration certificate indicates that the dwelling unit does not comply with the provisions of this code, and from the nature of the violations, the dwelling cannot be brought up to meet the minimum requirements, the Fire Chief shall return the application to the applicant stating the reasons for the rejection of the application.
Section 457:55. Temporary Rental Registration Certificates. The Fire Chief may issue a temporary rental registration certificate when corrections required following inspection do not constitute a fire, safety or health hazard to the tenants or the general public, and the repairs are not immediately practicable or feasible as a result of factors beyond the rental property owner's control. Such factors may include climatic conditions, or the unavailability of contractors, supplies or materials needed to make the corrections. A temporary rental registration certificate shall be conditioned upon the rental property owner making the needed corrections with timelines determined by the Fire Chief and identified on the temporary certificate. The temporary certificate shall expire if the work is not completed, inspected and approved by the Fire Chief by the date listed thereon.
Section 457:60. Appeals. Any applicant whose application for registration certificate, after investigation has been rejected by the Fire Chief, may request and shall be granted a hearing in the matter before the Fire Code Board of Appeals under the procedures set forth hereafter in Section 457:75.
Section 457:65. Penalty for Failure to Register; Misdemeanor. Every person required to register a dwelling unit and who fails to do so, or who allows the property to be occupied when the dwelling unit fails to comply with the provisions set forth in Section 457:35 or when the registration certificate or right to receive such registration certificate is revoked or suspended, shall be guilty of a violation of this code. Each day that a property is rented out without a valid rental registration certificate on file for that property is a separate violation. A violation of this section shall be a misdemeanor. Nothing in this section shall prohibit the City from pursuing other legal remedies, including an injunctive relief, for any violation of this Ordinance.
Section 457:70. Certificate Renewal and Non-transferability.
Subd. 1. All registration certificates shall expire two (2) years after date of issuance and must be renewed upon the expiration of the two (2) year term. All information required by Section 457:20 of this chapter must be submitted at the time of renewal. Whenever the applicant certifies that no change has been made in a registered dwelling unit, and the registered unit has been inspected within the preceding twelve (12) months, a renewal registration certificate may be issued without reinspection by the Fire Chief, provided the owner certifies that the units are in compliance with this code, including any applicable provisions of the zoning, building, fire safety, or health ordinances.
Subd. 2. Every person who transfers title to property registered under this section shall provide the Fire Chief with the name, residence address and telephone number of the new owner, and date of the transfer of title within ten (10) days of the date of such transfer. Within thirty (30) days of the date of such transfer, the new owner shall apply for a new registration certificate. In the case of a contract for deed the purchaser shall be deemed to be the owner of the property for purposes of this section and shall be required to apply for a rental registration certificate in his/her name. The date on the contract for deed shall be deemed to be the date the purchaser becomes the 'owner" for purposes of this section.
Subd. 3. Registration certificates may not be transferred or assigned.
Section 457:75. Suspension or Revocation of Registration Certificate.
Subd. 1. Any registration certificate issued by the City pursuant to the provisions of this section may be suspended or revoked upon a finding that the certificate holder, during the term of the certificate, failed to comply with any provisions of this Section 457 (Rental Registration), Section 460 (Minimum Housing Standards), and Section 304 (International Fire Code) of this Ordinance Code or any applicable federal or state statute or administrative rule, or any other City or County ordinance.
Subd. 2. A person's right to apply and receive a registration certificate may be suspended or revoked upon a finding that the applicant has let to another for occupancy any dwelling unit without first obtaining a registration certificate as required by this section or who has failed to comply with any provisions of Section 457 (Rental Registration), Section 460 (Minimum Housing Standards), and Section 304 (International Fire Code) of this Ordinance Code or any applicable federal or state statute or administrative rule, or any other City or County ordinance.
Subd. 3. Whenever it appears to the City that adequate grounds may exist for the suspension or revocation of a registration certificate, or the right to receive a registration certificate, the Fire Chief shall by notice as provided in Section 457:45, specify the nature of the alleged grounds and order that a hearing on the matter be held as provided below.
Subd. 4. No such suspension or revocation shall be effective until the licensee or permit holder has been afforded an opportunity for hearing before the Fire Code Board of Appeals as set forth in Section 457:80.
Subd. 5. Upon a finding that the registration certificate holder or applicant has violated any such statute, rule, or ordinance, the City may invoke any of the sanctions provided in Section 455:15, Subd. 3.
Section 457:80. Appeals.
Subd. 1. Appeals to the Fire Code Board of Appeals. Any person affected by any notice of violation or emergency order issued and served pursuant to this ordinance or otherwise adversely affected by the administration of this ordinance, shall be granted a hearing before the Fire Code Board of Appeals upon filing in the office of the Fire Chief a written petition requesting such hearing and setting forth a brief statement of the grounds therefor. The petition shall be filed within twenty (20) days after the notice is served, order issued, or other adverse action taken.
Subd. 2. Date of Hearing. The hearing requested shall be held not more than thirty (30) days after the day on which the petition is filed or within ten (10) days of such filing in case of an emergency order. The chair of the board may postpone the date of the hearing for a reasonable time beyond such period if a good and sufficient reason exists for such postponement and in the case of an emergency order the chair determines that adequate safeguards will be taken to provide for the health and safety of the occupants and general public during such postponement.
Subd. 3. Notice of Hearing. The Fire Chief shall cause five (5) days written notice of the hearing to be given to the petitioner by personal service or by mailing to the petitioner's last known address.
Subd. 4. Proceedings. At such hearing the petitioner, petitioner's agent or attorney, shall be given an opportunity to be heard and to show cause why the notice of alleged violation or emergency order issued by the Fire Chief or other action taken adverse to petitioner should be modified or withdrawn. The Fire Chief shall present a written statement of the findings and decision to the board at the time of the hearing together with evidence in support of the violation, order, or other action taken.
Subd. 5. Decisions of the Board. After such hearing the board shall sustain, modify or withdraw the notice of alleged violation or emergency order or other action taken depending upon its findings as to whether the provisions of this Ordinance have been complied with. If the board sustains or modifies such notice or emergency order, or other administrative action, it shall be deemed to be an order. A copy of the decision of the board shall be served by mail on the petitioner.
With respect to existing buildings, whenever it is not practicable or feasible to require strict compliance with the substantive provisions of this Section 457 (Rental Registration), Section 460 (Minimum Housing Standards), and Section 304 (International Fire Code) of this Ordinance Code, or any applicable federal or state statute or administrative rule, or any other City or County ordinance, the board may approve a variance from such provisions when in its judgment, existing conditions are in acceptable compliance with the spirit and intent of the code and reasonably safeguard the health, safety and welfare of the occupants and the public.
Subd. 6. Record of Proceedings. The proceedings of each hearing held before the board, including the findings and decision of the Fire Chief, shall be reduced to writing and entered as a public record in the office of the Fire Chief. Such record shall include a copy of every notice, order, stay or other writing issued in connection with the matter.
Subd. 7. Stays. The board may stay enforcement of an order made after a hearing for a reasonable length of time, provided, however, that the board shall first find that immediate enforcement of the order would result in extreme hardship to the person or persons affected and that the immediate health, safety and welfare of the occupants and the public will not be jeopardized by such stay.
Subd. 8. Notices Not Appealed. Any notice served pursuant to the provisions of the housing code shall automatically become an order if a written petition for a hearing is not filed with the Fire Chief within twenty (20) days after the notice was served.
Subd. 9. Appeals from Board Decisions. Any person aggrieved by the decision of the board may seek relief therefrom in any court of competent jurisdiction as provided by the laws of the state.
Section 457:85. Fees.
Subd. 1. The biannual rental dwelling unit license and inspection fee shall be in an amount duly established by the City Council from time to time. No license shall be issued under this section until the appropriate license fee shall be paid in full.
Subd. 2. In the event the Fire Chief or his designee fails to attend a scheduled inspection without good cause, the inspection fee will be reimbursed to the applicant.
Section 457:90. Severability. If any section, paragraph, phrase, or provision of this Ordinance shall be determined invalid for any reason, such determination of invalidity shall not affect the remaining provisions of this Ordinance.