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New Rules Passed For Mitchell Rental Properties
Updated May 8, 2013 6:55 AM | Filed under: Politics
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(MITCHELL) - New rules governing the upkeep of rental units in Mitchell passed the city council Monday night.

Krystal Shetler of the Times-Mail reports that the ordinance establishes "minimum maintenance standards for rental buildings and rental units and premises," outlines the responsibilities of landlords, operators and tenants and provides for "administration, enforcement and penalties."

Enforcement of the code falls under the responsibility of Mitchell Building Commissioner Danny Baker.

The ordinance outlines that dwellings must include a kitchen sink, a toilet room with privacy and a shower area with privacy - all must be in good working condition, connected to the water and sewer system and be properly connected to hot and cold water lines.

Some of the rules outlined in the ordinance include the following:

  • Occupants of every unit must supply adequate rubbish storage, disposal or garbage storage containers.
  • Every habitable room shall have at least one window or sky light facing directly to the outdoors. The window also must be able to open to adequately ventilate the room.
  • Every dwelling shall have properly installed heating facilities in good working condition.
  • Every dwelling must contain at least 150 square feet of floor space for the first occupant and at least 100 additional square feet of floor space for every additional occupant. (This drops to 70 square feet for rooming houses.)
  • Every occupant of a dwelling containing two or more dwelling units is responsible for maintaining clean and sanitary conditions in the shared public area of the structure.
  • Each occupant must keep the area he lives in clean and sanitary, including disposing of trash and organic waste properly.

* Each unit must have electricity with at least one electrical outlet in each habitable room. All wiring and fixtures must be properly installed.

* Rooming houses and apartment building cannot operate without a valid permit, and that annual permit must be displayed in a visible location at all times.

The building commissioner is responsible for the inspections of all rental dwellings, including single-family units and rooming houses. The ordinance allows for the building commissioner to enter any structure within the city limits to allow for inspections.

If it's determined an owner or occupant is in violation, Baker is required to provide a written statement of the violation and give a reasonable time period for the violation to be corrected.

Those unfit for human habitation are those defined as being "so damaged, decayed, dilapidated, unsanitary, unsafe or vermin-infested" that it creates a serious hazard to the health or safety of the occupants or the public, or "one which lacks illumination, ventilation or sanitation facilities adequate to protect the health and safety of the occupants or the public."
Any person affected by enforcement is entitled to a hearing on the matter before the building commissioner. An appeals process also is outlined in the ordinance.

Penalties are $50 for the first violation and for each day the violation continues and $100 for the second and subsequent violation for each and every day the violation continues.

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