The LaPrairie City Council convened on Sept. 10, when the city’s rental ordinance was discussed after being tabled at the last meeting.
Councilor Margie Ritter presented the ordinance and said the council had several options, one of which was to enact the ordinance, but delay implementation. The council voted unanimously to accept the ordinance without changes and to begin implementation on July 1 of 2019.
The purpose of the ordinance is to ensure rental units meet city and state housing safety, health, fire, building and zoning codes. The ordinance will apply to all residential housing occupied by renters and the rental dwelling units contained therein. This includes rented single family dwellings, duplexes, manufactured homes, as well as efficiency and studio apartments. The ordinance exempts jails, hospitals, parish houses, parsonages, manses, rectories, condominiums and dormitory rooms.
All rental property owners will be required to make application and register their properties with the city. Newly acquired properties must be registered within 10 days of ownership transfer. Registration permits will not transfer with the rental unit at the time of sale. Once implemented, a registration permit will be required for all rental arrangements.
Terms of the ordinance allow representatives of the city to inspect a rental property upon a 30-day prior written notice to the owner of any rental unit. The rental unit owner is required to give occupants at least a 24-hour written notice of the inspection. If the owner or occupant of a rental refuses to allow an inspection, the city maintains the right to pursue all remedies under the city code, which may include seeking an administrative search warrant.
Terms of the ordinance require that all rental units have adequate and safe plumbing, electrical, heating and sanitary systems that are free of hazards, and conform to applicable Minnesota statutes covering building and housing law.
Some of the specifics of the ordinance include:
• The rental unit owner must supply a stove and a refrigerator that are in working order.
• Rental units must be free from dangerous air pollution levels from carbon monoxide, sewer gas, fuel gas, dust, mold and other harmful pollutants.
• Water must be tested on an annual basis.
• Bathrooms must have at least one operable window or other adequate ventilation in working order.
• Windows that are accessible from the outside must be lockable and capable of providing egress.
• Doors leading to the outside and common hallways must be equipped with a deadbolt lock.
• All rental units must have hot and cold running water, and a tub or shower as well as facilities capable of disposing human waste.
• Heating systems must be in working order.
• Handrails are required when four or more steps are present and protective railings are required when porches, balconies and stoops are thirty inches or more above the ground.
• Rental units must be free of rodents and substantial accumulations of trash or other debris that may attract vermin.
• All rental units must be served by an approved public or private water supply.
• At least one battery-operated or hard-wired smoke and carbon monoxide detector in working order must be present in each bedroom, and in each room adjoining the bedroom on each level.
• Each tenant in a rental unit must keep the unit and related premises in a clean sanitary condition.
In addition to its powers under City Code Section 6.03, terms of the ordinance allow the city to review the permitting status of a rental unit owner if the owner is not in compliance with the ordinance or if the owner misrepresents himself or herself. Permits can also come under review if tenants or their guests engage in disorderly conduct three or more times within a 36-month period. Activities of the owner or state of a rental unit that have the potential to harm the health, safety or welfare of the public may also cause a permit to come under scrutiny.
Application fees and inspection fees will be established each year at the city’s organizational meeting. Frequency of inspections will be determined at a later date.
In other business, the council sold a used lawn mower for $1,969.