Occupancy permitting, inspections begin Aug. 5 in Owensville

Home buyers and rental property owners in Owensville will be required to have their residential properties inspected and an occupancy permit issued before the dwelling may be inhabited.

The city’s occupancy permitting code goes into effect as of Monday, Aug. 5.

Those buying a residence — or those renting a house, duplex or apartment — will be required to have the inspection conducted before city water services will be turned on. This regulation affects a “new occupant in any residence either rental or purchased,” according to the city.

The city recently contracted with Rob Mossman to serve as the city’s code inspection official. 

Those seeking to occupy a residence as of Aug. 5 will be required to go to City Hall and obtain an “Application for Home Occupancy Inspection” form. Inspections should be scheduled within four days of the application being submitted.

There is a $50 fee for the inspection which allows for one follow-up inspection within 30 days if upgrades or improvements are required.

The inspection is valid for 90 days until the resident moves in.

If that 90-day period elapses, a re-inspection will be required and that fee will be $100.

For every new tenant an inspection process will need to start over.

Enforcement of code violations by Mossman will begin on Aug. 5.

City officials cited the desire to improve public safety for its residents as the reason to adopt the occupancy inspection process.

The inspection form lists the following items which must be present in all rental properties or homes which are sold or rented out.

A): GENERAL EXTERIOR

1. Property address plainly visible from the street for emergency services. 

2. Walls are free of holes and loose or rotting boards.

3. Foundation is structurally sound and not buckling or leaning.

4. Steps, decks, patios and porches are all structurally sound.

5.  Roof is structurally sound with no holes or missing shingles.

6. Mobile Homes properly secured with anchors, tie-downs, and skirting. 

7. Exterior electrical outlets are GFCI protected.

B): GENERAL INTERIOR

1. Working smoke detectors, battery operated or wired (1 per bedroom and 1 per floor).

2. Working carbon monoxide detectors on the main living floor.

3. Cover plates on all switches and outlets.

4. Stairs and floor in good sound condition with no holes.

5. No frayed or bare wires and all visible wiring must be properly installed.

6.  Electric circuit panel is accessible without obstructions.

7. No major water leaks — leaking pipes.

8. No standing water in sinks, tubs, basements; toilets flush properly.

C): WINDOWS, DOORS, LIGHTS and VENTILATION

1. Bathrooms must be vented by a window or fan discharging directly outside. 

2. All habitable rooms have either natural or artificial ventilation.

3. All exterior windows must have opaque glass completely covering opening. 

4. All exterior doorways must have a door to completely cover the opening.

5. Safety glass in bathrooms is present and correctly labeled.

D): EMERGENCY ESCAPE & RESCUE

1. Every sleeping room has at least one operable window or door that opens to the outside without the use of keys or tools.

2. Escape windows must be at least 20 inches wide by 24 inches tall.

3. Escape doors must be at least 30 inches wide by 80 inches tall.

4. Escape window screening is removable without the use of keys or tools.

E) HANDRAILS & GUARD

1. Stairways with more than four risers shall have handrails on at least one side.

2. Handrail is firmly fastened, structurally sound and installed between 30 to 37  inches above the stair tread.

3. Guards are present on open-sided stairways, and any porches, balconies or raised floors that are 30 inches above the floor or grade below.

City officials first proposed adopting this inspection process more than two years ago. There was vocal opposition to its adoption expressed by some rental property owners during an advertised public forum held by city officials at the elementary school.

Planning and Zoning Commissioners, citing the desire for protecting the public safety and well being, advised elected officials to adopt these regulations and provide a means to inspect properties before changes in occupancy occurred. City staff told elected officials stories of people moving into a residence one day and moving out the next due to problems with items listed on the inspection list.

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