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PROPERTY MAINTENANCE CODE
155.04 Abrogation and Greater Restrictions
155.06 Maintenance Standards Generally
155.07 Maintenance of Property
155.08 Maintenance of Structures
155.10 Enforcement Procedures
155.11 Emergency Enforcement Procedures
155.12 Enforcement Remedies and Penalties
155.13 Notice of Order to Abate and Contents of Notice To Abate
155.15 Public Abatement
155.01 TITLE. This chapter may be referred to as the “Hawarden Property Maintenance Code,” and is herein referred to as “this Code.”
155.02 PURPOSE. The purpose of this Code is to protect the public health, safety, and welfare, esthetics and property values by establishing minimum standards for maintenance, appearance, condition and occupancy, and for essential utilities, facilities and other physical components and conditions to make residential premises fit for human habitation, and to make nonresidential premises fit for use according to the purpose for which they were developed; by fixing certain responsibilities and duties upon the owners and managers, and distinct and separate responsibilities and duties upon the occupants; by authorizing and establishing procedures for inspection of premises, and enforcement of this Code; establishing penalties for violations; and providing for proper repair, demolition, or vacation of premises which do not comply with this Code.
155.03 INTERPRETATION. The provisions of this Code shall be interpreted and applied as minimum requirements, and shall not be deemed a limitation or repeal of any other power granted by the Code of Iowa. Nothing in this Code shall be construed to abrogate the Federal or State Constitutions, or to grant powers to the City that are otherwise reserved by and for Federal and State government.
155.04 ABROGATION AND GREATER RESTRICTIONS. It is not the intent of this Code to repeal, abrogate, annul, impair or interfere with any existing easements, covenants, deed restrictions, agreements, ordinances, rules, regulations or permits previously adopted or issued pursuant to law. Where two or more provisions apply, the higher standard shall prevail.
155.05 DEFINITIONS. Words used in this Code shall have the same meaning as those defined by the Zoning Regulations, unless otherwise defined by this Code.
- “Abandoned building” means any building or portion of a building under construction which has stood with an incomplete exterior shell for more than one year, or any completed building or portion thereof which has stood unoccupied for longer than six (6) months, and which is unsecured or violates any other City ordinances.
- “Abatement” means, in connection with a property or structure, the removal or correction of violation of this code or the making of improvements needed to effect a rehabilitation of the property or structure. Abatement may include but shall not be limited to repair, removal, cleaning, extermination, cutting, mowing, grading, sewer repairs, draining, securing, barricading or fencing, demolition of dangerous or abandoned structures or portions thereof, and elimination of nuisances. Abatement does not include the closing or boarding up of a building or structure that is found to be a public nuisance.
- “Abatement costs” means those costs associated with abatement of nuisances and may include but shall not be limited to: the cost of removing or eliminating the violation; the cost of investigation, such as title searches, inspection, and testing; the cost of notification; filing costs; and other related administrative costs. Inoperable or obsolete vehicles, which have been impounded, may be sold in accordance with State law. If an inoperable or obsolete vehicle is not sold or if the proceeds of such sale or redemption are not sufficient to pay the costs of abatement, storage and sale of said inoperable or obsolete vehicle, such cost or the balance of such cost may be assessed against the premises in the same manner as a property tax.
- “Deterioration” means a state of conditions caused by a lack of maintenance or excessive use, characterized by holes, breaks, rot, crumbling, peeling paint, rusting or other evidence of physical decay or neglect.
- “Emergency condition” means a nuisance/violation that if left in place constitutes an imminent, clear and compelling danger to the health, safety or welfare of persons or property.
- “Enforcement officer” means any peace officer, Police Chief, the Public Works Director, or City Administrator.
- “Exposed to public view” means any premises or any part thereof, which can be lawfully viewed by the public or from an adjoining premises.
- “Exterior” means yards and other open outdoor spaces on premises, and the external surfaces of any structure.
- “Extermination” means the control and elimination of insects, rodents, and vermin.
- “Farm” means a tract of land having an area of ten or more acres devoted to raising of crops or domestic livestock.
- “Hearing officer” may be a Judge, Magistrate, Police Chief, City Administrator, or City Council as provided for in this Code.
- “Infestation” means the presence of insects, rodents, vermin, or other pests on the premises to the extent that they constitute a health hazard, as deemed by an enforcement officer to be in threat of spreading to adjoining premises, or which are exposed to public view.
- “Junk” means any discarded or salvaged material or fixture; obsolete or inoperable machinery or vehicle, or parts thereof; or scrap metal.
- “Nuisances” means physical conditions to premises by reason of inadequate maintenance, dilapidation, obsolescence, or abandonment that are dangerous or detrimental to the public health, welfare or safety of persons or property on or near the premises where the conditions exist, or whatever is injurious to health, indecent, or unreasonably offensive to the senses, or obstruction to the free use of property, so as essentially to unreasonably interfere with comfortable enjoyment of life or property.
- “Ordered public abatement” means the same as abatement except that the abatement shall be performed by the City or agents acting on behalf of the City after being ordered/authorized by a judge or magistrate with all notices, hearings, and other due process being considered satisfied via the judicial process.
- “Owner” means any person who alone, jointly, or severally with others, holds legal or equitable title to any premises, with or without accompanying actual possession thereof.
- “Premises” includes either property (real estate) or structures or both.
- “Property (real estate)” means a lot, plot, or parcel of land. In addition it includes the public right-of-way directly abutting the lot, plot or parcel of land, which is the area located between the property line and the inside the curb or the street edge of pavement or gravel, if no curb exists.
- “Public abatement” means the same as abatement except that the abatement shall be performed by the City or agents acting on behalf of the City and costs of such abatement assessed against the responsible party.
- “Public authority” means any officer of any department or branch of the City, County, or State charged with regulating health, fire, zoning or building regulations, or other activities concerning property in the City.
- “Refuse” means any material that has lost its value for the original purpose for which it was created or manufactured, or for its redesigned use, whether putrid or non-putrid, combustible or non-combustible, which is not securely stored in a building or legal outdoor storage yard for prompt disposal or resale, including but not limited to junk; paper or cardboard; plastic; metals; glass; yard clippings, leaves, woody vegetative trimmings, and other plant wastes which have not been properly composted; vegetable or animal waste resulting from the handling, processing, storage, preparation, serving or consumption of food; crockery; bedding, furniture, or appliances; offal; rubbish; ashes or incinerator residue; construction debris; accumulation of animal feces; dead animals; or wastes from commercial or industrial processes.
- “Responsible party” means any person having possession, charge, care, or control of real or personal property, whether with or without the knowledge and consent of the owner, including without limitation any one or more of the following: owner, agent, property manager, contract purchaser, mortgagee or vendee in possession, receiver, executor, trustee, lessee or tenant, or any other person, firm or corporation exercising apparent control over a property.
- “Structure” means any building constructed or used for a residence, business, industry, or other private or public purpose or accessory thereto, including tents lunch wagons, mobile homes, fence, shed, storage facility, garage, carports, animal kennels, billboards, and similar manmade construction that is otherwise built or erected with a fixed location or otherwise attached to something having a fixed location on the ground.
- “Unsafe structure/building” means:
(A) All buildings or structures that 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, as specified in this chapter or any other ordinance; and
- “Vehicle” means any device designed to transport a person or property by land, air, or water, such as automobiles, trucks, trailers, motorcycles, tractors, buggies, wagons, boats, airplanes, or any combination thereof, except bicycles.
- “Vehicle, inoperable” means any vehicle that is not licensed or insured for the current year as required by law or which exhibits any of the following characteristics: The vehicle cannot legally travel on a public street due to broken, damaged, or missing windshield or other glass customary to the vehicle, fender, door, bumper, hood, wheel, steering wheel, or exhaust system; lacking an engine or other means of power suitable to the design, one or more wheels, or other structural parts which renders the vehicle incapable of both forward and reverse movement in the manner for which it was designed; has become a habitat for rats, mice, snakes, or any other vermin or insects; or constitutes a threat to the public health and safety because of its defective or obsolete condition.
- “Violation” means a nuisance or any other condition with or on premises that is contrary to the required maintenance standards of this Code.
- “Working day” means Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday exclusive of holidays and when the City offices do not open on those days.
(B) Any structure or mobile home meeting any or all of the following criteria:
(1) Whenever any portion or member or appurtenance thereof is likely to fail, or to become detached or dislodged, or to collapse and thereby injure persons or damage property;
(2) Whenever any portion of a building’s exterior, to include any member, aperture, or ornamental feature attached thereto is not of sufficient strength or stability, or is not so anchored, attached, or fastened in place so as to be capable of resisting a wind pressure of twenty pounds per square foot;
(3) Whenever any portion thereof has cracked, warped, buckled, or settled to such an extent that walls or other structural portions have materially less resistance to winds or earthquake than is required in the case of similar new construction;
(4) 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 collapse partially or completely;
(5) Whenever, for any reason, the building or structure, or any portion thereof, is manifestly unsafe for the purpose for which it is being used;
(6) Whenever the exterior walls or other vertical structural members list, lean, or buckle to such an extent that they are out of plumb;
(7) Whenever the building or structure, exclusive of the foundation, shows thirty-three percent (33%) or more damage or deterioration of its supporting member or members, or fifty percent (50%) damage or deterioration of its non-supporting members, or of its enclosing or outside walls or coverings;
(8) Whenever the building or structure has been so damaged by fire, wind, earthquake or flood, or has so dilapidated or deteriorated as to become (i) an attractive nuisance to children; (ii) a harbor for vagrants, criminals, or immoral persons, or vermin; (iii) a house of ill fame as described in Iowa Code Chapter 657;
(9) Whenever a building or structure, used or intended to be used for dwelling purposes, because of inadequate maintenance, including lack of paint so as to expose wood to rotting, dilapidation, decay, damage, faulty construction or arrangement, inadequate light, air, sanitation facilities, or potable water, or otherwise, is determined by the building official to be unsanitary, unfit for human habitation, or in such condition that is likely to cause sickness or disease;
(10) Whenever any building or structure, because of obsolescence, dilapidated condition, deterioration, damage, inadequate exits, lack of sufficient fire-resistive construction, faulty electric wiring, gas connections, or heating apparatus, or other cause, is determined by the state fire marshal or City building official or Fire Chief to be a fire hazard;
(11) Whenever any building or structure is in such a condition as to constitute a public nuisance, known in common law or in equity jurisprudence.
(12) Any abandoned building as defined herein.
155.06 MAINTENANCE STANDARDS GENERALLY. Every premises shall be required to be maintained in good repair. To that end enforcement action will be taken against those premises that are not properly maintained in order to protect adjoining properties from blight, safety and fire hazards and other negative impacts as a result of poorly maintained premises.
155.07 MAINTENANCE OF PROPERTY. Each and every property shall be kept free of all nuisances, health, safety, and fire hazards, unsanitary conditions, and infestation. It is the duty of the responsible party to keep the premises free of all said conditions and to promptly remove and abate same, which includes but is not limited to the following declared nuisances:
- Weeds or grasses allowed to grow to a height greater than ten (10) inches, or any accumulation of dead weeds or grass that are exposed to public view, on any non-farm property which is not within the jurisdiction of the County Weed Commissioner. This provision does not apply to prairies, wetlands or similar areas of naturalized perennial vegetation, which are certified by an enforcement officer not to constitute a nuisance. Non-platted property, having an area of more than one acre, may be exempted from this requirement, on a case-by-case basis, by the Police Chief. However, even the exempted property shall be required to maintain at least a 25-foot wide area around the exempted property in accordance with this standard.
- The accumulation of refuse.
- Any nuisance as defined herein or described as such by Chapter 657 of the Code of Iowa.
- Any inoperable vehicle which is exposed to public view, unless located on the premises of a lawfully operated junk yard, undergoing repairs in an expeditious manner at a vehicle repair business, or located at a business location in an industrial zoning district behind a fully opaque 6-foot fence. Any other inoperable vehicles shall be stored within a fully enclosed building or other location not exposed to public view, or shall be removed from the premises.
- Mud, dirt, gravel or other debris or matter, whether organic or inorganic, deposited upon public property in a quantity judged by an enforcement officer to be a threat to public safety or to cause pollution, obstruction, or siltation of drainage systems, or to violate solid waste disposal regulations.
- Failure to establish a permanent cover of perennial grasses or ornamental ground cover on any non-farm property as soon as practical after any construction, and to thereafter maintain same in such condition as to substantially bind the surface of the soil and prevent erosion, whether by sheet flow or gullying, or by wind or water. Exceptions shall be permitted for densely shaded areas, landscape beds, and gardens, provided that vegetable gardens and agricultural crops shall not be placed in the front yard of a non-farm property, unless it can be demonstrated that no other viable location exists on the premises because of topography, natural vegetation, or similar circumstances out of the resident’s control.
- Any alteration, modification, or obstruction which prevents, obstructs or impedes the normal flow of runoff from adjacent lands, or any alteration or modification which substantially concentrates or increases the flow of water onto an adjoining premises to the extent of damaging or saturating such premises.
- Conditions which are conducive to the harboring or breeding of vermin.
- Facilities for the storage or processing of sewage, such as privies, vaults, sewers, private drains, septic tanks, cesspools, and drain fields, which have failed or do not function properly, as may be evidenced by overflow, leakage, seepage, or emanation of odors, or which do not comply with the Sioux County Department of Health regulations, as applicable. Septic tanks, cisterns, and cesspools that are no longer in use shall be removed, or emptied and filled with clean dirt or sand.
- Dead or diseased trees or other woody vegetation which may lead to the spread of the disease to other specimens or pose a threat to safety or buildings; major parts thereof, such as a limb, which may be dead or broken or otherwise pose a threat to safety or buildings on adjoining premises; any vegetation located on private property which overhangs and is less than fifteen (15) feet above the traveled portion of any public street, or less than eight (8) feet vertically, or which protrudes into any public sidewalk.
- Loose, overhanging objects or accumulations of ice or snow, which by reason of location above ground level constitute a danger of falling and causing injury to people or damage to property.
155.08 MAINTENANCE OF STRUCTURES. Each and every structure shall be kept sound and free of all nuisances, health, safety, and fire hazards, and shall generally be maintained to present an overall neat and orderly appearance. Structures shall also be kept free from major aesthetic defects that otherwise can lead to the devaluation of adjoining property. All building owners shall be expected to keep their structures free of all the conditions listed below and to promptly take corrective action if such a condition is determined to exist with their structure. Structural maintenance violations include but are not limited to the following declared violations:
- Each and every building shall be maintained to be weather and water tight, and free from excessively peeling paint or other conditions suggestive of deterioration or inadequate maintenance.
- Exterior surfaces shall not have any holes or broken glass; loose, cracked, or damaged shingles or siding; missing doors or windows, or other defects in the exterior finish which admit rain, cold air, dampness, rodents, insects, or vermin.
- Basements, cellars, and crawl spaces shall be free of standing water and hazards.
- All wood, including floorboards, subfloors, joists, bridging, roof rafters and sheathing, and all other wood in any interior or exterior floor, wall, roof, or other part of the structure, shall be maintained to be free of cracks affecting structural integrity, termite damage, infestation, or rot. Any and all damaged or deteriorating materials shall be replaced. If infestation exists in any basement, cellar, or crawl space, such infestation shall be remedied in accordance with industry standards to effectuate the proper remove of such infestation.
- The construction, moving, owning, or permitting the existence of unsafe building; or any building that is defined as abandoned or a public nuisance by Chapter 657 or 657A, Code of Iowa.
- Materials and practices used in reconstruction and residing shall be of standard quality and appearance commensurate with the character of other properties in the vicinity of the premises.
- Fences or retaining walls that are not structurally sound or which are deteriorating, as may be evidenced by leaning, loose, or missing elements.
- The number on buildings as provided for in Chapter 150 of this Code of Ordinances.
155.09 SANITATION. Every building which is in whole or in part leased by the owner or agent, except hotels and other establishments licensed by the Iowa Department of Inspection and Appeals, shall comply with the following requirements. The owner or lessor shall be deemed responsible for compliance with said requirements.
- Room Size. No habitable room in a residential structure shall have a floor area of less than 80 square feet, nor shall the ceiling height be less than 7½ feet.
- Heating. Every residential building shall be equipped with heating equipment capable of maintaining every habitable room at a temperature of at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Lighting. Every residential building shall be so equipped as to provide every habitable room thereof with artificial lighting equipment reasonably uniformly distributed and of sufficient intensity to produce illumination of six foot-candles on the floor area, and at least ten foot-candles at certain points for reading, study, sewing and similar tasks. Hallways, stairways and similar passageways shall be provided with one or more foot-candles of illumination.
- Ventilation. Every habitable room located in a residential building shall be provided with an aggregate openable window area of at least four percent (4%) of the floor area for existing buildings and at least six percent (6%) for buildings and additions hereafter constructed. This provision does not apply to residential buildings having adequate provisions for artificial ventilation.
- Plumbing and Excreta Disposal. All plumbing in residential buildings shall comply with the requirements of the State Building Code. Every such building to which running water and sewage disposal are available shall be provided at least one lavatory, one water closet, one bathtub or shower, and one kitchen sink.
- Screening. Every residential building shall have all windows and doors to the outside equipped with screens of not less than 16 meshes to the inch, which are so maintained as to effectively prevent the entrance into the building of flies and mosquitoes.
- Overcrowding. If any room in any residential building is overcrowded the health officer may order the number of persons sleeping or living in said room to be so reduced that there shall not be less than 400 cubic feet of air to each adult and 200 cubic feet of air to each child under 12 years of age occupying such room.
155.10 ENFORCEMENT PROCEDURES. The objective of this code being the abatement of violations, persons violating this Code shall be allowed a reasonable amount of time to voluntarily remedy the violation before action to assess costs or penalties for a violation is undertaken. Consideration will be given to evidence of a good faith effort to correct the violation; whether an imminent health or safety hazard exists; whether the person has previously been notified of or charged with violations of a similar nature; and other factors. Violations, which are not voluntarily remedied, may be abated by any or all of the remedies provided in Section 155.12. All inspections and enforcement actions on violations, unless expressly stated to the contrary, shall be under the direction and supervision of an enforcement officer, who may appoint or designate other public officers or employees to perform duties as may be necessary to enforce this Code, including inspections. The enforcement officers are hereby authorized to abate such violations in accordance with the procedures of this Code and to serve notice to abate same, whether upon the owner or other responsible party for a premises upon which a violation is being maintained, or upon the person or persons causing, maintaining, or permitting the violation.
155.11 EMERGENCY ENFORCEMENT PROCEDURES. It is further provided by this Code that if the enforcement officer judges that an emergency exists which creates a dangerous and imminent health or safety hazard to persons, property or the general public which requires immediate action, the City may order such public abate action as may be necessary to meet the emergency without prior notice. Any orders issued pursuant to this section shall be effective immediately or in the time and manner prescribed in the order itself. The costs of such emergency public abatement shall be assessed to the property after a notice and hearing is provided to the property owner as provided under Section 155.15 of this chapter.
155.12 ENFORCEMENT REMEDIES AND PENALTIES. In the event that the violation is not abated as ordered and within the time specified, the City may abate such violation by any of the methods listed below. Any of the these methods may run concurrently:
- By issuance of a municipal infraction.
- By undertaking the public abatement of the violation and assessment of costs thereof.
- Prosecution as a misdemeanor.
- Remedied by means of civil court proceeding or any other lawful process pursuant to the Code of Iowa.
155.13 NOTICE OF ORDER TO ABATE AND CONTENTS OF NOTICE TO ABATE. Whenever an enforcement officer finds that a violation of this Code exists, said officer shall cause to be served upon the responsible party a written order (notice) to abate the violation. One notice (order) may contain and be utilized for multiple violations. The notice to abate the violation shall contain the following:
- A description of what constitutes the violation;
- The location of the violation;
- A statement of the act or acts necessary to abate the violation;
- A reasonable time within which to complete the abatement.
- The rights to a hearing.
When service of a notice (order) to abate is required, the following methods of service shall be deemed adequate: (i) by personal service upon the owner or other responsible party of the property upon which the violation exists, or upon the person or persons causing, permitting, or maintaining the violation; or (ii) if, after reasonable effort, personal service cannot be made, the following methods of service shall be utilized: (a) sending the notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the last known address as shown by the records of the County Auditor; or (b) by posting the notice in a conspicuous place on the property or building deemed in violation. The notice shall be considered given when personal service is made or when the property is posted or when the notice to abate is mailed. If the certified mail is returned refused or undeliverable, the notice shall be considered to have been provided in accordance with Iowa Law. The enforcement officer may, but shall not be required to, give notice to abate prior to issuance of municipal infraction for a repeat offense involving the same property and occurring within one year of a prior violation and notice to abate.
155.14 HEARING. Any responsible party ordered to abate a nuisance may have a hearing with the Police Chief (enforcement officer) as to whether a nuisance or prohibited condition exists. A request for a hearing must be made in writing and delivered to the police department within the time stated in the notice, or it will be conclusively presumed that a nuisance or prohibited condition exists and it must be abated. The minimum time an enforcement officer shall allow for a hearing shall be five calendar days following issuance of an order to abate a violation. At the conclusion of the hearing and after any due consideration of any information presented by the responsible party, the Police Chief or other enforcement officer shall render a written decision as to whether a nuisance or prohibited condition exists. If the Police Chief finds that a nuisance or prohibited condition does exist as originally determined, the Police Chief may maintain the original abatement schedule ordered or modify it as necessary to adjust for any information presented.
155.15 PUBLIC ABATEMENT.
- Generally. If the responsible party notified to abate a violation neglects or fails to abate the violation as directed, the City may perform the required action to abate the violation as provided in Section 155.12(2).
- Notice. Where public abatement is being pursued, a separate notice shall be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the last known address as shown by the records of the County Auditor. The notice shall meet all the minimum requirements of Section 155.13 and in addition shall contain a statement that if the nuisance or condition is not abated as directed and no request for hearing is made within the time prescribed, the City will abate the violation and assess the costs against the responsible person or property. The notice shall also indicate whether the cost of the abatement is estimated to be $1,000.00 or more. The enforcement officer may, but shall not be required to, give additional time to abate a violation proposed to be publicly abated, if reasonable time was already provided to abate the same violation under another remedy process provided for in Section 155.12 (e.g., municipal infraction).
- Hearing/Appeals Permitted. Where public abatement is being pursued, an initial hearing shall be as provided as stated in Section 155.14. At the conclusion of the hearing an appeal shall be provided if requested within five working days after the initial hearing with the Police Chief. The request shall be in writing and shall be delivered to the City Administrator/Clerk.
- For violations that are proposed to be publicly abated, that do not involve the demolition of a structure and that are estimated to be under $1,000.00 in abatement costs, an appeal from the Police Chief’s hearing decision may be made to the City Administrator. This appeal will be heard before the City Administrator at a time and place fixed by the Administrator. The Administrator shall follow the same hearing process described in Section 155.14.
- For violations that are proposed to be abated with public abatement that involve the demolition of a structure or over $1,000.00 in abatement costs, an appeal from the Police Chief’s hearing may be made to the City Council. This appeal will be heard before the City Council at a time and place fixed by the City Council. The City Council shall follow the same hearing process described as for the Police Chief in Section 155.14.
Following the exhaustion of all appeals/hearings, the hearing officer may then order the public abatement of the violation as provided herein. If so ordered the enforcement officer may then proceed on seeking the public abatement of the nuisance.
- Abatement Costs, Recording and Collecting. The enforcement officer shall be responsible for organizing such abatement actions and ensuring the submittal of abatement costs to the City Clerk. The City Clerk shall then keep an accurate account of the itemized expenses incurred. The City Clerk shall pay all such abatement expenses on behalf of the City. Once the public abatement is completed, the City Clerk shall mail a statement of the total expense incurred to the property owner who has failed to abide by the notice to abate, and if the amount shown by the statement has not been paid within one (1) month, the Clerk shall certify the costs to the County Treasurer and it shall then be collected with, and in the same manner, as general property taxes. If the amount expended to abate the nuisance or condition exceeds $500.00, the City shall permit the assessment to be paid in up to ten (10) annual installments, to be paid in the same manner and with the same interest as property being assessed for public improvements.