Posted on: October 21, 2017

Council Considers Rental Inspection Program

Apartment door

A program designed to help ensure safe and decent housing for rental residents in Sioux Center received a first nod from the City Council this week.

“This is a program to ensure that a proper minimum standard of housing is maintained for everyone,” said Sioux Center Code Enforcement Director Josh Dorhout.

Once the program is approved, all landlords and people who rent out a portion or all of a property will register with the City of Sioux Center. Each rental property will be inspected once every three years to ensure basic safety and sanitary conditions are met.

“This is about things like having smoke alarms, proper electric wiring, egress windows for basement apartments, and basic health, sanitation and life safety requirements,” Dorhout said. “We are not creating burdensome or unreasonable standards; we just want to make sure everybody has a safe place to live.”

This type of program is being used in many communities across Iowa, and Dorhout said they’ve seen the need for it here in Sioux Center.

As in other communities, landlords will purchase a rental permit each year with a discounted renewal fee. There will be a penalty for failing to register.

Assistant City Manager Dennis Dokter said the rental housing inspection program would help landlords protect their investment and maintain their property value and to help tenants understand their rights in seeking a safe and sanitary living conditions.

“As the city grows, this program will help ensure the proper maintenance of rental units and maintain an acceptable standard of living for all rentals in Sioux Center,” he said. “Ultimately, what we care about is that people have sanitary and safe living spaces.”

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