Adoption of International Property Maintenance Code

Information on the International Property Maintenance Code:

1. What brought this about?
The City had already adopted the International Building Code and the International Fire Code in 2008. The International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC) ties into these codes and establishes minimum maintenance standards for basic equipment, light, ventilation, heating, sanitation and fire safety.

2. When did discussion occur?
The IPMC has been an agenda item and topic of discussion at Neighborhood Improvement Committee meetings since February 27, 2019. The Neighborhood Improvement Committee is a citizen-led board and this Committee recommended the forwarding of the IPMC to the Council for consideration. The matter was discussed at the Committee of the Whole meeting on May 12, 2020. The ordinance was considered for the first time at the May 26, 2020 Council meeting, the second time at the June 9, 2020 Council meeting, and for the third and final time at the June 23, 2020 Council meeting.

3. Does the City already have anything similar?
The City already had adopted the International Building Code and the International Fire Code in 2008. The IPMC would tie-together with these existing codes. There was not existing Code pertaining to maintenance of owner-occupied structures.

4. Why does the City need this?
The IPMC provides objective criteria for minimum housing standards to ensure that every resident can live in a safe and healthy environment. Without the IPMC, there is no objective criteria to utilize when complaints are received.

5. Have any other cities adopted the IPMC?
Yes, many. Ankeny, Bettendorf, Cedar Rapids, Coralville, DeWitt, Dubuque, Eldridge, Fort Dodge, Grimes, Marion, West Des Moines, and Urbandale are some of the cities that have already adopted the IPMC.

6. Can a Code Official now come into my home?
No. If a complaint is received and validated, a Code Official could request entry to your home. You always have the right to refuse entry.

7. Will low-income homeowners be faced with unnecessary building repairs that they cannot afford?
The City’s goal is to keep owners in their homes and to ensure that residents have a safe and healthy living environment. If a complaint is received and validated and the owner has the inability to pay for needed repairs, the City will make every attempt to link the homeowner to community resources, programs and grants to ensure the owner can remain in their home.

8. If I have a large family will the IPMC require some of the occupants of my home to move out?
No. The focus is on ensuring that the home is healthy and safe. Occupancy would only become a concern if a complaint was received and the number of occupants led to conditions that resulted in an unsafe and/or unhealthy environment (e.g., dozens of people in a home with no utilities).

9.  What if I feel I was wrongly issued an order to abate a nuisance at my home?
You have the right to request a hearing with the Housing Board of Appeals. The Housing Board of Appeals is a citizen-led board that hears appeals pertaining to the IPMC, as well as other City codes. You must request a hearing in writing within 20 days after the date of the postmark of notice or proof of service, whichever comes first.

Let’s continue to make Clinton a safe and healthy place for our residents!

For more discussion on this topic, please watch the CityWatch taping video: