City Code: 460:0

Section 460:00


Section 460 – City of Owatonna Minimum Housing Code

Section 460:01. Title and Purpose. This Ordinance shall be known as the City of Owatonna Minimum Housing Code, may be cited as such, and will be referred to herein as this Code or Ordinance.

The purpose of this Code is to provide minimum standards to safeguard life, health, property, and public welfare by regulating and controlling the use and occupancy, location and maintenance of all residential buildings and structures within this jurisdiction.

The purpose of this Code is not to create or otherwise establish or designate any particular class or group of persons who will or should be especially protected or benefited by this Code.

Objectives of this Code include, but are not limited to:

a. Protect the character and stability of residential areas within the city.

b. Correct and prevent housing conditions that adversely affect, or are likely to adversely affect life, safety, health and general welfare of residents.

c. Provide minimum standards for heating, sanitary equipment and for light and ventilation necessary to protect the health and safety of building occupants.

d. Provide minimum standards for the maintenance of existing residential buildings, thus preventing substandard housing and blight.

e. Preserve the value of land and buildings throughout the city.

Except as otherwise provided by the terms of this ordinance, any other ordinance, regulation or law, the city, its employees or agents will not intrude upon the accepted contractual relationships between landlord and tenant. The city, its employees or agents will not intervene as an advocate of either party.

Section 460:02. Scope. The provisions of this Code establish minimum standards for maintaining dwellings, accessory structures and premises. Such occupancies in existing buildings may be continued as provided in the International Building Code, with the following exceptions:

a. Where such structures are found to be substandard as defined in this Code;

b. Where present and future licensed rental properties are not in compliance with this Code or any other code, statute, ordinance or regulation and have not been granted a valid variance or deviation order or considered legally nonconforming;

c. Where continuation of such occupancy presents a clear danger to life, health, property, or public welfare.

Section 460:03. Applicability. This Code establishes minimum standards for maintaining dwellings, accessory structures and premises. This Code is intended to provide standards for housing, owner occupied and rental. Applicable requirements shall apply to all apartment units, homes, accessory structures, rooming houses, lodging and/or boarding houses and mobile homes used, or intended for use, for human habitation except rest homes, convalescent homes, nursing homes, hotels, motels or dormitories. Where any building or portion thereof is used or intended to be used as a combination apartment house-hotel, the provisions of this Code shall apply to the separate portions as if they were separate buildings. Dwellings, in existence at the time of the adoption of this Code may have their existing use or occupancy continued, if such use or occupancy was legal at the time of the adoption of this Code, provided such continued use is not dangerous to life, health, property, or public welfare.

Section 460:04. Definitions. The terms used in this section shall have the following meanings:

Subd. 1. “Basement” means the lowest story of any building that does not meet the minimum requirements of a first story as defined herein.

Subd. 2. “Court or Courtyard” means an area, open to the sky, at or above grade that is bounded on at least three sides by a building and having access to a public way.

Subd. 3. “Dormitory(ies)” means buildings owned or controlled by an educational institution; or spaces within buildings owned or controlled by educational institutions, where group sleeping accommodations are provided; or a series of closely associated rooms without individual cooking facilities, and with common toilet and bathroom facilities.

Subd. 4. “Dwelling” means a building, wholly or partly used or intended to be used for living, sleeping, cooking or eating purposes by human occupants; but not including rest homes, convalescent homes, nursing homes, hotels, motels, facilities licensed by the State of Minnesota as institutional occupancies or dormitories and may also be called a residence or residential building or apartment building.


Subd. 5. “Dwelling Unit” means a room or group of rooms within a dwelling, forming a single habitable unit and includes apartments.

Subd. 6. “Egress” means an arrangement of exit facilities to assure safe means of exit from a building with specific dimensions as required in this Code or any applicable code.

Subd. 7. “Exit” means a continuous and unobstructed means of egress to a public way. Exit includes intervening doors, corridors, ramps, stairways, and courts.

Subd. 8. “Extermination” means the control and elimination of insects, rodents or other pests by eliminating their places of harborage; by removing or making inaccessible materials that may serve as their food; by poisoning, spraying, fumigating, trapping; or by any other recognized and legal pest elimination method. Extermination shall include removing all signs of extermination thereafter.

Subd. 9. “First Story” means the lowest story in a building provided it is not more than four feet below grade for more than 50% off its perimeter, or more than eight feet below grade at any point in its perimeter.

Subd. 10. "Garbage" means all putrescible organic wastes resulting from the handling, storage, preparation, cooking or consumption of food. 

Subd. 11. “Habitable Room” means a room used or intended to be used for living, sleeping, eating or cooking purposes, excluding bathrooms, water closet compartments, laundries, pantries, foyers, corridors, unoccupied cellars, accessory garages, porches, attics, stairways, closets and storage spaces, and utility and heating areas.

Subd. 12. “Infestation” means the presence of insects, rodents or other pests within or around a dwelling.

Subd. 13. “Kitchen” means a habitable space within a dwelling unit used or intended to be used for cooking of food or preparation of meals. No part of any kitchen may be within the bathroom or toilet compartment.

Subd. 14. “Nonconforming Use” means a use of land or occupancy that does not comply with the regulations of this Ordinance, but which did conform to regulations in effect at the time of original occupancy or licensing.

Subd. 15. “Occupant” means any person living, sleeping, eating or cooking within a dwelling unit.

Subd. 16. “Person” means any individual, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company or a joint venture or organization of any kind.

Subd. 17. “Premises” means the dwelling and its land and all buildings thereon.

Subd. 18. “Public Way” means street, alley or other place where the public has access and which is at least 10 feet in width.

Subd. 19. “Rent” means any consideration paid for the exclusive use of the dwelling unit, including, but not limited to, money, services or a combination thereof, paid or delivered at fixed intervals periodically agreed upon.

Subd. 20. “Repair” means to restore to a sound, acceptable state of operation, serviceability or appearance.

Subd. 21. “Replace or Replacement” means to remove all or a portion of an existing system or structure and to construct or install a new item of a quality similar to that of the item replaced when it was new. Replacement ordinarily takes place when repair of an item is impractical.

Subd. 22. “Rooming Unit” means a room or group of rooms forming a habitable unit used or intended to be used for living and sleeping, but not for cooking purposes, along with private or shared sanitation facilities.

Subd. 23. "Rubbish" means all nonputrescible solid wastes, such as paper, card-board, tin cans, glass, cold ashes, wood, clothing, yard clippings and similar materials.

Subd. 24. “Safety” means the condition of being reasonably free from danger and hazards which may cause injury or illness.

Subd. 25. “Sound Condition and Good Repair” means that the dwelling unit or its structural elements, fixtures, facilities or equipment are in a safe and acceptable condition and appearance and in good working order and operation.

Subd. 26. “Yard” means any open space, other than a court, unobstructed from the ground to the sky, on the lot on which a building is located.

Section 460:05. Inspections Under the Minimum Housing Code.

Subd. 1. Rental Licenses. Inspections of rental dwelling units shall be made as provided in Section 457 “Registration of Rental Unit”.

Subd. 2. Inspection Upon Complaint. Any residential property within the city is subject to investigation upon complaint by any citizen or city employee. Complaints shall be investigated in accordance with the following schedule:

Complaints involving immediate substantial risk to life and/or safety: such complaints shall be investigated immediately by the City Fire Chief or designee to verify the existence of conditions presenting immediate threat to life and/or safety.

Complaints with a significant potential of risk to life and/or safety: Such complaints shall be investigated within 24 hours of receipt by the City Fire Chief or designee to verify the existence of conditions in violation of this Code or any other applicable statute, ordinance, code or regulation.

All other complaints: Such complaints against residential property, not outlined above, shall be investigated within 72 hours of receipt, or as soon thereafter as practicable, by the City Fire Chief, or designee, to verify the existence of conditions in violation of this Code or any other applicable statute, ordinance, code or regulation.

Subd. 3. Confidentiality of Complainant’s Name. The identity of any person filing a complaint about violations of state law or local ordinances concerning the use of real property, and any information that would identify such person, is classified as confidential under Minn. Stat. § 13.44. No employee or agent of the city shall release or reveal such information except by court order.

Subd. 4. Penalty for Retaliation Against Complainant. It is a misdemeanor for any person to take retaliatory action against, harass or intimidate any person who makes a good faith complaint against real property within the city.

Subd. 5. Penalty for Filing False or Malicious Complaint. It shall be a misdemeanor for any person to file a false or malicious complaint of violations of state law or local ordinance concerning the use of real property.

Section 460:06. Space and Occupancy Standards.

Subd. 1. Substandard Buildings Generally. Any building or portion thereof, or the premises on which the same is located, where violations of this Code exist, or where the following listed conditions are present, to an extent that endangers the life, limb, health, property, welfare or safety of the public or the occupants thereof shall be deemed and is hereby declared to be a substandard building. All conditions noted below are regulated under the International Building Code and International Fire Code elsewhere adopted in this Ordinance Code.

a. Dampness of habitable rooms.

b. General dilapidation or improper maintenance.

c. Deteriorated or inadequate foundations.

d. Defective or deteriorated flooring or floor supports.

e. Walls, partitions or other vertical supports that twist, lean or buckle.

f. Roofs, ceilings or other horizontal members that sag or buckle.

g. Fireplaces or chimneys that lean, crumble or settle.

h. Maintenance of any public nuisance as defined in City Ordinance or state statute.

i. Maintenance of any nuisance which may be a safety hazard, including abandoned wells, shafts, basements, cisterns or excavations; abandoned refrigerators or motor vehicles; structurally unsound buildings or fences; or any lumber, trash, fence, debris or unlawful vegetation.

j. Electrical wiring that does not conform to the law in effect at the time of installation or any wiring that is not maintained in good condition. Such conditions may include, but are not limited to broken wires, bare or frayed wires, broken or burned outlets and switches, missing cover plates, fuses rated for more than wiring, and bypassed or defeated fuses/circuit breakers.

k. Deteriorated, crumbling or loose plaster or sheet rock.

l. Deteriorated or ineffective weatherproofing of exterior walls, roof, foundations or floors, including broken windows or doors.

m. Defective or lack of weather protection for exterior of structures, including lack of paint, or weathering due to lack of paint or other approved protective covering as provided herein. Exterior wood members treated with decay-resistant materials and designed to be left in an unpainted state are exempt from this requirement.

n. Broken, rotted, split or buckled exterior wall coverings or roof covering.

o. Any building or portion thereof, device, apparatus, equipment, combustible waste or vegetation which is in such condition as to cause fire or explosion or provide a ready fuel to augment the spread and intensity of any fire or explosion arising from any cause.

p. Railings, banisters, decks, balconies, and stairways that are broken, not secure or constructed in such manner as to present a danger to those using such railing, banister, deck, balcony, or stairway.

q. Inadequate heating, inadequate hot/cold running water, or lack of toilet, bath or shower facilities where required.

Subd. 2.  Emergency Orders.  Whenever the City Fire Chief, or designee, finds that an emergency exists which requires immediate action to protect the public health and/or safety, the City Fire Chief, or designee, may, without notice or hear-ing, issue to the owner of property an order reciting the existence of such an emergency and requiring the owner to take such action as the City Fire Chief, or designee, deems necessary to meet the emergency.  Notwithstanding the other provisions of the housing code, such order shall be effective immediately and any person to whom such order is directed shall comply therewith immediately, but upon petition to the City Fire Chief shall be afforded a hearing, granted by City of Owatonna Board of Appeals.  After such hearing, the City shall continue such order in effect, or modify it, or revoke it.  Failure to request a hearing or take the action required by the order within five days of mailing or within three days of personal service of the order shall be a misdemeanor.

Section 460:07. Exterior Regulations.

Subd. 1. Address. The address of the dwelling shall be visible from the street and of contrasting color to the building. [2000 International Fire Code (IFC) 505.1].

Subd. 2. Roof. Every roof must be tight, without leaks, and kept in sound condition and good repair. [2000 International Building Code (IBC) 3401.2].

Subd. 3. Chimney. Chimneys shall be in sound condition and good repair and shall not be leaning, crumbling, or settling. [2000 IBC 3401.2].

Subd. 4. Gutters and Soffits. Gutters and soffits shall be in sound condition and good repair. Gutters shall be properly attached to the building to allow for drainage. [2000 IBC 3401.2].

Subd. 5. Windows and Doors. Windows and doors shall be operable, in sound condition and good repair. Broken windows shall be replaced. Rotting window frames shall be replaced or repaired. [2000 IFC 504.2].

Subd. 6. Trash, Rubbish, Abandoned Refrigerators, Freezers, and other Appliances. Trash and rubbish shall be properly stored and disposed of. Each dwelling unit shall have access to an enclosed container. No abandoned refrigerators, freezers, or other appliances shall be left outside the premises. [2000 IFC 304.1.1 and 304.3]; Section 920:00 of this Ordinance Code.

Subd. 7. Decks, Patios and Railings. Decks, patios and railings shall be in sound condition and good repair. [2000 IFC 1003.3.3.11].

Subd. 8. Retaining Walls and Fences. Retaining walls and fences shall be kept in sound condition and good repair. [2000 IBC 3401.2].

Subd. 9. Exterior Weather Protection. All exterior surfaces, other than decay resistant wood or other decay resistant materials shall be maintained to provide adequate weather protection to protect the exterior surfaces from the elements and decay. Any area with chipped, missing or blistered paint which is more than 25% of the surface area shall be repainted with non-lead based paint or provided with weather or decay resistant coatings. For purposes of this subsection “area” is that portion of a building surrounded by a definite break in construction that separates it from the rest of the structure. Examples of areas are: windows and sash, a side of a house, soffits, and doors.

Subd. 10. Foundations. Foundation material shall be maintained in sound condition and good repair and shall be free from gaps or missing mortar or defects that may cause leaks or structural failure. [2000 IFC 3401.2].

Subd. 11. Gas Meters. Exterior gas meters shall be provided with necessary protection from contact with motor vehicles. [2000 IFC 312.1.2.3].

Subd. 12. Parking. Parking surfaces shall be gravel or stone at a minimum. Parking of motor vehicles on lawns is prohibited.

Subd. 13. Detached Structures. Detached structures, including garages, sheds, and other accessory buildings shall be maintained in sound condition and good repair and in the same manner as the main structure of the premises. [2000 IBC 3401.2].

Subd. 14. Grills on Decks. The use of grills, cookers, fuels, and fire pits shall not be allowed on the deck of any building with more than two dwelling units. [2000 IFC 307.5].

Subd. 15. Proper Storage of Fuel and Fuel Operated Equipment. The storage of the following within a dwelling unit is prohibited: (a) Gasoline or diesel operated vehicles; (b) gasoline or diesel operated equipment; and (c) cooking grills or other cooking appliances containing fuels; gasoline, diesel fuel, kerosene, and liquid petroleum. The foregoing shall be stored in a garage or other accessory building having a wall with a one-hour separation rating. [2000 IFC 315.2.5].

Subd. 16. Vegetation. Weeds, grass, vines or other growth that is capable of being ignited and endangers property, shall be cut down and removed by the owner or occupant of the premises. [2000 IFC 304.1.2].

Section 460:08. Electrical.

Subd. 1. Electrical Equipment. Every dwelling unit and all public and common areas shall be supplied with functioning electric service. All electrical equipment, wiring and appliances shall be installed and maintained in a safe manner in accordance with all applicable laws. All electrical equipment shall be of an approved type for the intended use of such equipment.

Subd. 2. Every habitable room shall contain at least two electrical convenience outlets or one convenience outlet and one electric light fixture. Every toilet compartment, bathroom, laundry room, furnace room and public hallway shall contain at least one electric light fixture.

Subd. 3. Electrical Service Panel. Access to the operating face of any electrical switchboard or panel board shall be maintained as provided in the International Fire Code and/or Electrical Code. Electric panels shall be in a condition so as not to allow contact with energized wires, contacts, or busses. Fuse sockets shall be furnished with proper fuses. [2000 IFC 605.3].

Subd. 4. Extension Cords. Extension cords shall not be used as a substitute for permanent wiring. Extension cords shall not extend through wall openings, beneath rugs or carpeting, or be bundled. Extension cords may not be used for loads greater than the rated capacity for which they are designed. [2000 IFC 605.5].

Subd. 5. Outlets and Junction Boxes. All outlets and junction boxes shall have covers that are property secured. [2000 IFC 605.1].

Subd. 6. Ground Fault Indicators (GFI’s). All GFI outlets must be in sound operating condition. [2000 IFC 605.1].

Subd. 7. Bare Wires. Bare wires or wire nuts are prohibited except for low voltage wiring for speaker cords, telephone equipment, or doorbell wiring or knob and tube wiring in sound condition. [2000 IFC 605.1].

Section 460:09. Exits.

Subd. 1. Handrails. Handrails shall be continuous on one side of a stairway and shall be between 34 and 38 inches in height. Where a handrail has been removed it shall be replaced in compliance with the Building Code. A stairway shall be equipped with a handrail where a safety hazard exits. [2000 IFC 1003.].

Subd. 2. Exit Hardware. Doors shall open from the inside without the need of special knowledge, effort or tools. Doors within common egress paths may not be equipped with hasps/padlocks, multiple locks, or double-keyed deadbolt locks. Night latches, deadbolts, or security chains are acceptable within an individual dwelling unit. [2000 IFC 1003.3.1.8].

Subd. 3. Lighting in Common Hallways. All public hallways, stairs and other exit ways shall be adequately lighted at all times. The level of light shall be maintained at an intensity of one-foot candle at floor level. One-foot candle can be approximated by having enough light to allow normally sighted people to see their own feet. In lieu of continuously operating electrical lighting it shall be acceptable to have motion activated lighting systems, provided such systems are instantaneously activated by movement anywhere within the public hallway, stair and other exit way. [2000 IFC 1003.2.11.1].

EXCEPTION: In duplexes and single residences conveniently located self-illuminated light switches controlling an adequate working lighting system which may be turned on when required may be substituted for full-time lighting.

Subd. 4. Exit Signs and Emergency Lights. Exit signs and emergency lights must be maintained in sound working condition. [2000 IFC 1010.4].

Subd. 5. Fire Doors. Fire doors when provided must be sound, positive latching and self-closing. Fire doors shall be of solid construction of approved materials. [2000 IFC 1003.2].

Subd. 6. Exit Ways. Exit ways shall be free and clear of obstructions including storage, furniture, decorations, garbage, snow, or structural problems. [2000 IFC 1003.2].

Subd. 7. Fire Protection. Fire extinguishers shall be provided as follows:

a. A 1A 10BC rated extinguisher shall be provided for each dwelling unit; or

b. A 2A 10BC rated extinguisher shall be located within 75 feet of each dwelling unit door. No extinguisher shall be at a distance more than 3 steps up or down from the door of the dwelling unit. All fire extinguishers shall be accessible. [2000 IFC 901.6.1 Standards Ref NFPA 10].

Subd. 8. Fire Extinguisher Maintenance.

a. All fire extinguishers shall be checked monthly and logged to determine that they are present and under proper pressure.

b. All fire extinguishers shall be inspected annually by a qualified person to determine that they are under proper pressure and that dry powder is not hard packed and that they are otherwise in good operating order. Annual inspections may be done by the owner with proper training or other qualified person. [2000 IFC 901.6.1 Ref NFPA 10].

c. Every six years all ABC extinguishers shall be recertified by a professional service person.

e. Proof of maintenance shall be evidenced by either a maintenance tag or maintenance log, or both.

f. The qualified person may be either a commercial fire extinguisher maintenance firm or the owner with proper training.

Subd. 9. Smoke Detectors. Single- or multiple-station smoke alarms shall be installed and maintained regard-less of the occupant load at all of the following locations:

1. On the ceiling or wall outside of each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of bedrooms.

2. In each room used for sleeping purposes.

3. In each story within a dwelling unit, including basements but not including crawl spaces and uninhabitable attics.  In dwellings or dwelling units with split levels and without an intervening door between the adjacent levels, a smoke alarm installed on the upper level shall suffice for the adjacent low-er level provided that the lower level is less than one full story below the upper level.

For dwellings built before August 1, 1989, detectors can receive their power from a battery supply.  For dwellings built on or after August 1, 1989, detectors shall be connected to a centralized power source.

Listed single- and multiple-station smoke alarms complying with UL 217 shall be installed in accordance with the provisions of this code and the household fire-warning equipment provisions of NFPA 72.

A smoke detector shall be present and working in the basement, if the basement door opens to the main living area. [2000 IFC – Minnesota State Fire Code 907.].

The detectors may be battery operated or hard wired. Smoke alarms must be property maintained. Owners of dwelling units shall replace the batteries and battery smoke alarms at least annually or more often as necessary.

Smoke alarms shall be tested at least once monthly. Smoke alarms shall be replaced every 10 years. [2000 IFC – Minnesota State Fire Code 907.3.1].

Section 460:10. Fire Alarm Systems and Sprinkler Systems. Dwellings equipped with or required to have the following systems shall comply with the following requirements:








Inspection & Testing






Licensed sprinkler contractor



Detection & alarm



Inspection & testing (Low voltage/power limited)






Qualified employee working for a licensed alarm and communications contractor or licensed electrical contractor



Portable fire extinguishers



Quick check






Minimum knowledge necessary














Trained person






Inspection and Testing



5 years



Licensed sprinkler contractor or licensed plumber



Smoke Control/Removal









Approved person



Special Suppression



Inspection & testing






Approved persons



Systems in High-rise Buildings









Approved persons



Emergency voice-alarm signaling



Testing & maintenance






Qualified and knowledgeable persons



Fire Pumps



Test pump operation under no-flow conditions






Qualified operating personnel




Inspection & Testing






Licensed sprinkler contractor


All fire alarm systems required by the Fire Code shall automatically transmit the alarms to an approved central station, remote supervision station or proprietary station as defined in NFPA 72.

[2000 IFC and Minnesota Stae Fire Code].

Section 460:11. Interior Regulations.

Subd. 1. General Requirements for all Living Areas. Within all habitable rooms of a dwelling unit, including living areas, kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms and basements, the following conditions shall be provided or maintained:

a. General Condition. Structural elements of the dwelling unit including doors, windows, ceilings, walls, and floors shall be in sound condition and good repair and free of fire hazards.

b. Electrical Wiring and Lighting. Electrical wiring and lighting shall be in sound condition and good repair.

c. Heating. Heating facilities shall be turned on and maintained at a minimum temper-ature of 68° Fahrenheit between October 1st and May 1st.

d. Security. Windows and exterior doors must be lockable and equipped with locking devices of an approved type. [2000 IFC 1003.3.1.8].

e. Occupant load. The minimum floor area allowance per occupant in residen-tial dwellings shall be 200 gross sq. ft. per occupant.

Subd. 2. Kitchens.

a. Cooking ovens, cooking stoves, and/or cooking ranges, if provided by owner, shall be in sound condition and repair and good operating order. Gas models shall be self-igniting and equipped with a shut off valve. Gas lines shall be in sound condition and good repair.

b. Refrigerators shall be operable, in sound condition, and in good repair.

c. The kitchen sink shall be operable, in sound condition, and in good repair and provide adequate hot and cold running water.

d. Food Storage and Preparation. Space shall be provided for the storage and preparation of foods.

Subd. 3. Bathrooms.

a. Ventilation. A window or mechanical fan connected directly to the outside shall be provided.

b. Toilet. Bathrooms shall be equipped with an operable flush toilet, fixed washbasin or lavatory, and either a bathtub, shower or combination. Adequate hot and cold running water shall be provided.

c. Door. A bathroom shall occupy an enclosed space equipped with a door.

Subd. 4. Bedrooms.

a. Means of Egress.  All sleeping rooms shall have a primary and a secondary means of escape.  The primary means of escape is the primary access to a room.  The secondary means of escape may be a window meeting the min-imum size requirements set forth hereafter.  All means of egress shall com-ply with this section and Minnesota State Fire Marshal Office Policy # INS-04 (2007) (Revised 6/27/2012) as attached. 

b. Escape Windows.  When required, emergency escape windows (second means of egress) shall be installed and maintained in Group R occupancies as specified in MSFC (07) Section 1026.1 and this policy. Emergency es-cape windows shall be installed in sleeping rooms and basements used for sleeping.

Any one of the following four options will substitute for an emergency es-cape window from a room.
1. An escape window is not required if the room has a door that leads directly to the exterior of the building.
2. An escape window is not required if the building is protected through-out by an approved, automatic sprinkler system.
3. Escape windows need not be installed from rooms of existing buildings having two separate means of escape, provided that the means of escape are independent and remote from each other and they pass through one adjacent non-lockable room or area.
4. Escape windows are not required in group R hotels or motels con-structed prior to April 11, 1983.

Sliding glass doors may be accepted as qualifying exit doors provided that the doors are maintained operational at all times [MSFC (07) Section 1008.1.2 Exception 4, MSBC (07) Section 1008.1.2 Exception 4].

c. Approved Emergency Escape Windows. When used as an emergency es-cape, only a single window in each room need meet the minimum size re-quirements listed below. The window sash cannot be removed to meet the size requirements and windows must be measured with the window fully opened by the normal window opening mechanism.

For escape windows installed prior to July 10, 2007*:
• A minimum of 20 inches in width
• A minimum of 20 inches in height
• A minimum of 648 square inches (4.5 square feet) of clear opening
• A maximum of 48 inches from the floor to the sill opening

Note: The above is considered the absolute minimum regardless of existing or window replacement.

For escape windows installed above or below the level of exit discharge on or after July 10, 2007:
• A minimum of 20 inches in width
• A minimum of 24 inches in height
• A minimum of 820 square inches (5.7 square feet) of clear opening
• A maximum of 44 inches from the floor to the sill opening

For grade or ground floor escape windows installed on or after July 10, 2007:
• A minimum of 20 inches in width
• A minimum of 24 inches in height
• A minimum of 720 square inches (5.0 square feet) of clear opening
• A maximum of 44 inches from the floor to the sill opening

Approved egress/escape windows may include any of the following:
• Double hung windows
• Sliding windows
• Casement windows

See the attached diagrams for additional description of acceptable escape windows and a worksheet for determining compliance with the requirements of the MSFC (07).

d. Escape Window Opening Height. Escape windows with openings up to 52 inches off of the floor may meet the height requirement (for existing buildings as applicable from Section 1.2 above) by securing a step, platform or bed to the wall directly underneath the window. This step, platform or bed shall be no more than 44 inches below the opening and must be strong enough to support the weight of the person. The minimum acceptable width shall be the same as the window opening. The minimum acceptable depth away from the wall shall be 18 inches. [MSFC (07) Section 1026.1]

e. Coverings on Escape Windows. Plastic coverings are allowed to cover egress/escape windows and exterior doors if the plastic covering meets the following re-quirements. [MSFC (07) Section 1026.1]

• The plastic covering shall be readily transparent. The occupant shall be able to readily see rescuers on the outside and rescuers shall be able to readily see people on the inside.
• The plastic covering may only be attached on the inside and can only be at-tached to the window frame or structure with two sided tape, hook and loop (Velcro) or static cling.
• The plastic shall have enough material overhanging the attachment on all sides, top and bottom to facilitate grabbing it from any direction and allow easy removal.

f. Window Wells. Escape windows with a finished sill height below the adjacent ground elevation shall have a window well. Window wells shall comply with the following [MSFC (07) Section 1026.5]. See the attached POLI-CY # INS -26 diagram for additional description of window wells and a worksheet for determining compliance with the requirements of the MSFC (07).

1. Window well size. The window well shall have a minimum horizontal area of 9 square feet with minimum dimensions of 36 inches. The area of the window well shall allow the emergency escape opening to be fully opened. [MSFC (07) Section 1026.5]

2. Ladders or steps. Window wells with a vertical depth of more than 44 inches shall be equipped with an approved permanently affixed ladder or stairs that is accessible with the window in the fully open position. The ladder shall not be obstructed by the window or ob-struct the opening of the window. The ladder is also not allowed to encroach into the required dimensions of the window well by more than 6 inches. [MSFC (07) Section 1026.5.2]

3. Covers on window wells. Window wells may be covered as neces-sary to keep the window well clear of debris, snow, and rain water and to help prevent people from falling in if the building owner wishes. However, the cover shall comply with the following re-quirements:
 i. The covering shall not interfere with the opening of the window in any way.
 ii. The covering shall be supported in such a way that it cannot become frozen to the ground, window well or structure.
 iii. The covering shall be readily removable without the use of tools or special knowledge from the window well area by the building occupants.

g. Means of Egress for Existing Buildings. Means of egress in existing buildings shall comply with 2007 Minnesota State Fire Code, Sections 1027.1 through 1027.23.4.

1. Compliance option. Means of egress in existing buildings conforming to NFPA 101 (Life Safety Code) shall be deemed as evidence of compliance with this section.
2. Previous codes. Means of egress in existing buildings conforming to the require-ments of the Fire Code or Building Code under which they were con-structed shall be considered as complying means of egress if, in the opin-ion of the fire code official, they do not constitute a distinct hazard to life.

h. Carbon Monoxide Alarm Requirements. Every single family dwelling and every dwelling unit in a multifamily dwelling must have an approved and operational carbon monoxide alarm installed within ten feet of each room lawfully used for sleeping purposes. All carbon monoxide alarms must comply with this section and with Minnesota Statutes 299F.50, as at-tached.

1. In lieu of requirements of subdivision h, multifamily dwellings may have ap-proved and operational carbon monoxide alarms installed between 15 and 25 feet of carbon monoxide producing central fixtures and equipment pro-vided there is a centralized alarm system or other mechanism for responsi-ble parties to hear the alarm at all times.

2. An owner of a multifamily dwelling that contains minimal or no sources of carbon monoxide may be exempted from the requirements of subdivision 1, provided that such owner certifies to the commissioner of public safety that such multifamily dwelling poses no foreseeable carbon monoxide risk to the health and safety to the dwelling units.

Subd. 5. Basements.

a. Egress. Basement stairways shall be in sound condition and good repair and required handrails installed and secure.

Subd. 6. Utilities.

a. Furnace and Water Heater. The furnace or boiler and water heater shall be in sound condition and in good repair.

b. Clearances. The following clearances shall be maintained:

  • Pipes – 6” to combustibles on single wall pipes
  • Pipes – 1” to combustibles on new style double wall riser
  • Combustibles are not allowed in the area around the furnace, water heater or boiler
  • Wood burners need a minimum of 3’ of clearance

c. Chimney Pipes. Chimney pipes must be clear, in sound condition, and good repair and the piping shall be stable.

d. Washer and Dryer Units. Electrical and gas connections shall be in sound condition and in good re-pair.  Gas piping shall not have any kinks.  Exhaust ducts for domestic clothes dryers shall be constructed of metal and have a smooth interior fin-ish.  The exhaust duct shall be a minimum nominal size of 4’ (102mm) in diameter.  The entire exhaust system shall be supported and secured in place.  The male end of the duct at overlap duct joints shall extend in the direction of airflow.  Clothes dryer transition ducts used to connect the appliance to the exhaust duct system shall be limited to single lengths not to exceed 8 feet (2438mm) and shall be listed and labeled for the applica-tion.  Transition ducts shall not be concealed within construction.

Subd. 7. Health and Safety.

a. Insects and Rodents. Rodents or insects shall be eliminated from dwelling units.

b. Housekeeping. Living areas shall be clean and free of hazards which may cause injury or illness.

Section 460:12. Violations; Penalty. A violation of this Ordinance shall be a misdemeanor. Nothing in this section shall prohibit the city from pursuing other legal remedies, including injunctive relief for any violation of this Ordinance.

Section 460:13. 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.


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