On July 16, 2015, the City of Edgewater passed Ordinance 2015-09. This ordinance amended the Edgewater Municipal Code by adding a new Article 7 to Chapter 7 known as the “Rental Property Maintenance Code”.
“The purpose and intent of this Rental Code is to provide minimum standards to safeguard life and limb, health, property, and public welfare by regulating and controlling the use, occupancy, and maintenance of all residential structures available for rent within the City of Edgewater. This Rental Code establishes minimum standards for basic equipment and facilities; for occupancy; for plumbing, heating and electrical systems; for fire safety; for exits; for pest control; and for the safe and sanitary maintenance of residential properties.”
On and after January 1, 2016, it shall be unlawful for any person to lease to another for occupancy any rental dwelling, or part thereof, that does not comply with a requirement of this Article.
It shall be an affirmative defense to any alleged violation of this Article that the condition constituting the alleged violation was caused by the intentional or negligent act or omission of the tenant, a member of the tenant's household, a guest or invitee of the tenant, or a person under the tenant's direction or control.
Complaint-based and owner-requested inspections only. The City Manager or his or her designee may inspect a rental dwelling to determine compliance with the requirements and limitations of this Article only after having received a written complaint of non-compliance from the tenant of the rental dwelling to be inspected, or a written request from the owner of the rental dwelling to be inspected, which written complaint or request shall be made on a form provided by the City. The scope of any inspection based upon a complaint shall be limited to the specific matter or condition complained of, except to the extent that other conditions or matters that may constitute a violation of this Article exist in the plain view of the inspector at the time of the inspection.
Requirement for tenant letter to owner. Prior to conducting any inspection pursuant to subsection (a) based upon a tenant complaint, the City Manager or his or her designee shall have received from the tenant a copy of a letter, dated not less than ten (10) days prior to the date of inspection, from the tenant to the owner of the subject dwelling unit, which letter requests that the owner correct the condition that caused the alleged violation of this Article; provided, however, that no such letter shall be required if the complaint of the tenant is about a condition that presents an imminent danger.
Requirement for tenant's written consent to inspection. Prior to conducting any inspection pursuant to subsection (a) based upon a tenant complaint, the City Manager or his or her designee shall have received from the tenant a written consent, on a form to be provided by the City, for entry upon and inspection of the subject rental dwelling for compliance with the requirements and limitations of this Article.
Requirements for owner's written request for inspection. If a rental dwelling is currently leased, prior to conducting any inspection pursuant to subsection (a) based upon an owner's request, the City Manager or his or her designee shall first present proper credentials and request permission to enter and inspect from a tenant or other person having common authority over the premise. If the leased premise is currently unoccupied, the City Manager or his or her designee shall make a reasonable effort to locate the tenant, and upon locating the tenant, shall present proper credentials and request permission to enter. If a tenant or other person having common authority over the premise cannot be located after a reasonable effort, a notice of intent to inspect shall be posted on the premises giving notice that an inspection may proceed after a court order is obtained from a Municipal Judge of the City.
Court order for entry. If entry is refused upon request made under subsection (d), or if twenty-four (24) hours have passed since the posting of the premises under subsection (d), then the City Manager or his or her designee may appear before the Municipal Court Judge and shall request, pursuant to Rule 241(b)(2) of the Municipal Court Rules of Procedure, as amended, a court order entitling the City Manager, or his or her designee, to enter upon the premises for purposes of inspection for compliance of the premises with the requirements and limitations of this Article. Upon presentation of the court order and proper credentials, or possession of the same in the case of an unoccupied premises, the City Manager or his or her designee may enter upon the premises, using such reasonable force as may be necessary to gain entry.
Unlawful resistance. It shall be unlawful for any tenant or person having common authority of a rental dwelling to deny entry to the City Manager or his or her designee when such individual is acting pursuant to a court order that has been issued according to the procedure outlined in this section.
If an owner requests an inspection of his rental dwelling(s) for compliance with the limitations and requirements of this Article, then the City shall conduct an inspection of the rental dwelling(s), pursuant to this Section. Prior to any such inspection(s), the owner shall pay a fee or fees as established in the fee schedule adopted by the City Council from time to time. If the result of any such inspection is a finding by the City Manager or his or her designee of full compliance of the rental dwelling with the Rental Property Maintenance Code, then the City shall issue a letter to the owner stating the date of inspection and the finding of full compliance. At the owner's request, a copy of the letter shall be placed on the City's website for a period of one (1) year from the date of its issuance; provided, however, that any such letter shall be removed from the City's website in the event that the City later discovers a violation of this Article. Any other provision of this Article notwithstanding, for purposes of this Section, a rental dwelling shall be deemed to include income restricted property.
Rental dwellings, buildings and structures shall not be used for any use that is in violation of any other provision of this Code, including but not limited to the limitations and requirements set forth in Chapter 16, concerning zoning. Without limitation as to any of the foregoing, no single rental unit shall be occupied by more than one (1) family.
Plumbing and Sanitary Facilities and Fixture Requirements
Each rental unit shall contain its own bathtub or shower, lavatory, toilet and kitchen sink. All kitchen sinks, lavatories, laundry facilities (if provided), bath tubs and showers shall be supplied with hot and cold running water.
All plumbing facilities and fixtures in a rental dwelling shall be properly installed and maintained in good working order, and shall be free from obstructions, leaks and defects and be capable of performing the function for which the plumbing fixtures are designed. All plumbing fixtures shall be connected to an approved public water and sewer system.
Heating and Lighting System Requirements
Interior space in a rental dwelling that is intended for human occupancy shall have space-heating systems capable of maintaining a minimum indoor temperature of sixty-eight (68) degrees Fahrenheit. No portable space heaters shall be used to achieve compliance with this section.
All fuel-burning equipment and appliances in a rental dwelling shall be connected to an approved chimney or vent, with the exception of fuel-burning equipment and appliances that are labeled by the manufacturer for unvented operation.
Light fixtures. Every habitable room, and every hallway, interior stairway, toilet room, bathroom, laundry room, boiler room and furnace room in a rental dwelling shall contain at least one (1) electric light fixture or electrical outlet which shall be maintained in good and safe working condition
Fire Safety Requirements:
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors shall be installed in each rental dwelling as set forth in the building code, or any other applicable law, and maintained in good working order at all times.
Door and window locks
Each exterior door of a rental dwelling, and each window of a rental dwelling that is designed to be opened, shall have a lock that is maintained in good working order.
Exterior maintenance, extermination and garbage receptacles:
Weather protection. Each rental dwelling, and any building that contains a rental dwelling, shall have exterior walls that are weather-tight and water-tight, and that are kept free from holes, breaks, or loose boards (or other loose wall coverings). Roof surfaces of each rental dwelling, and of any building that contains a rental dwelling, shall be free of any defects that will allow water to enter into the structure
Windows and doors. Windows and exterior glazing in a rental dwelling shall be sound and free from loose or broken glass and cracks that could cause physical injury or allow the elements to enter the structure. Windows and doors in a rental dwelling are to be maintained so that they can be secured in a closed position. Exterior doors shall be maintained so as to be weather-tight, water-tight and rodent-proof. Where window mounted cooling appliances are utilized, the opening around the appliance shall be sealed with materials resistant to weather.
Garbage and extermination. Common areas and other areas of rental dwellings that are under the control of the landlord shall be kept free from all accumulations of debris, filth, rubbish and garbage and shall have appropriate extermination in response to the infestation or rodents or vermin. Rental dwellings shall have appropriate extermination in response to the infestation of rodents or vermin. Each rental unit shall be provided an appropriate number of exterior receptacles for garbage and rubbish, which shall be maintained in good repair.
General Maintenance and Imminent Danger:
Floors, stairways and railings in rental dwellings shall be maintained in good repair.
Rental dwellings shall comply with all building, housing and health codes which, if violated, would constitute an imminent danger.