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City of Silver Lake - Ordinance #91

City of Silver Lake

ORDINANCE 91: AN ORDINANCE AMENDING SECTION 2.5 OF THE SILVER LAKE MUNICIPAL ZONING CODE REGARDING OCCUPANCY REGULATIONS FOR MULTI-UNIT HOUSING COMPLEXES.

The City Council of the City of Silver Lake, Minnesota does hereby ordain:

Section 1. Section 2.5 of the Silver Lake Municipal Zoning Code shall be amended as follows:

Section 2.5: OCCUPANCY REGULATIONS FOR MULTI-UNIT HOUSING COMPLEXES

2.51 Applicability.
The provisions of this chapter shall apply to multi-unit housing complexes used, or designed or intended to be let for human habitation.

Multi-unit housing complexes in existence at the time of the adoption of this code may have their existing use or occupancy continued, if such use or occupancy was legal at the time of the adoption of this ordinance, providing such continued use is not dangerous to life, health, property or public welfare and such use shall be re-inspected, whether or not they have been inspected prior to this ordinance. All multi-unit housing complexes structures however, regardless of their existence at the time of the adoption of this code, shall be in full compliance by July, 31, 2016.

2.52 Definitions.
For the purposes of this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings given them:
a. Dwelling. Any building or other permanent or temporary structure, including a manufactured or mobile home which is wholly or partly used, or intended to be used, for living or sleeping by human occupants.
b. Multiple dwelling. Any dwelling of two (2) or more dwelling units.
c. Occupant. Any person living, sleeping, cooking or eating in, or having actual possession of, a dwelling unit or rooming unit.
d. Occupancy Inspector. The Silver Lake Fire Chief or his or her designee.
e. Operator. A person who is in charge, care or control of a building or part thereof, in which dwelling units or rooming units are let.
f. Owner. A person, firm or corporation who, alone, jointly or severally with others own or has an ownership interest in a multi-unit housing complex within the City.
g. Premises. The dwelling and its land and all buildings thereon and areas thereof.
h. Rent. A stated return or payment for the temporary possession of a dwelling, dwelling unit or rooming unit. The return or payment may be money or service or property.
i. Rental Unit or Residential Rental Unit. Any house, apartment, condominium, townhouse, manufactured home, mobile home, mobile or manufactured home lot, room or group of rooms, constituting or located within, a dwelling and forming a habitable unit.
j. State Fire Code Standards. Standards required by the State Fire Code including all appendices sub-codes, attachments and related codes as have been adopted and promulgated by the state of Minnesota and in force and effect in the City of Silver Lake.
k. Variance. A difference between that which is required or specified and that which is permitted.

2.53 Modifications.
Whenever there is a practical difficulty involved in carrying out a provision of this chapter, the Occupancy Inspector shall grant a modification, provided the Occupancy Inspector shall first find a particular reason which makes strict application of the provision impractical, and that such modification will not lessen the life safety, structural, stability or environmental health requirements.

2.54 Right of Entry.
The Occupancy Inspector is hereby authorized and directed to enforce the State Fire Code. Whenever it is necessary to make an inspection to enforce the State Fire Code or whenever there is cause to believe that there exists a violation of the State Fire Code, the Occupancy Inspector is authorized to enter the building or premises at all reasonable times to perform any duties imposed upon the Occupancy Inspector by the chapter. The Inspector shall present proper credentials and request entry. The inspector shall make a reasonable effort to contact the owner or other persons having charge or control of the building to request entry. If entry is refused the Inspector shall have recourse to every remedy provided by law to secure entry, including the commencement of an action in District Court with necessary temporary motions and proceedings thereon to secure such entry. When the Occupancy Inspector shall have obtained a proper remedy by law to enter a building, no owner or occupant or operator of a building or premises, shall fail or neglect to permit entry for the purpose of inspection pursuant to the chapter.

2.55 Responsibilities.
a. Owner. An owner shall be responsible for maintaining the multi-unit housing complex in accordance with the State Fire Code.
b. Occupant. An occupant of a multi-unit housing complex shall be responsible for keeping it in compliance with the State Fire Code.

2.56 Inspection. The Occupancy Inspector shall inspect a unit upon receiving a legitimate complaint. That being a complaint in which the complainant provides the complainant’s name and address and specifies the complaint. Upon receipt of this complaint, the inspector shall notify the owner or tenant to correct the problem which prompted the complaint. A complaint could show cause for a complete inspection of a unit. Anonymous complaints shall not be handled. An owner may request an advisory inspection of a unit.

2.57 Housing Certificate.
a. Application. An owner of a multi-unit housing complex in which multiple dwelling units or rooming units are let or are intended to be let, shall make application for a housing certificate, unless such unit has been previously certified. An owner of such a unit shall not allow occupancy of the unit unless and until a housing certificate has been issued. The Occupancy Inspector may issue a temporary housing certificate not exceeding six months in duration in order to bring the unit into compliance with this code.
b. Issuance. The Occupancy Inspector shall issue a housing certificate for the multi-unit housing complex when upon inspection the Occupancy Inspector finds such unit meets or exceeds the minimum requirements set by the State Fire Code; such certificate shall show the number of occupants for which the dwelling, dwelling unit or rooming unit is approved and once issued shall remain valid until expiration of the certificate or until such time as the Occupancy Inspector determines that the dwelling, dwelling unit or rooming unit does not meet the minimum requirements set by this chapter.
c. Renewals. A housing certificate shall expire two (2) years after the date of issuance. Re-inspection of multi-unit housing complexes shall be required prior to issuance of a new certificate. The city will mail renewal forms to rental unit owners or their designated local property managers on or about 90 days prior to the date of renewal and shall state the date of renewal. Completed renewal forms must be delivered to the city offices no later than 60 days prior to the renewal date. Failure of the city to mail renewal forms and failure of an owner or local property manager to receive a renewal form, does not excuse or waive the renewal required by this chapter.
d. Failure to Grant Renewal of Housing Certificate. The city reserves the right not to renew a housing certificate for a rental unit unless it complies with the requirements of this chapter. Any renewal of a housing certificate under this chapter is subject to the right, which is hereby expressly reserved by the city, to deny, suspend, revoke or not renew the same should the housing certificate holder or their agents, employees, representatives or lessees directly or indirectly fail to comply with the requirements of this chapter or operate or maintain the rental dwellings contrary to the provisions of this chapter or any ordinance of the city or any special permit issued by the city, or the laws of the state; provided, however, renewal of the housing certificate shall not be denied, suspended, revoked or not renewed if the housing certificate holder complies with a compliance order or orders in a reasonably timely manner as determined by the city.
The city shall notify the applicant that the renewal for the housing certificate has been denied, or the housing certificate holder that the housing certificate is being suspended, revoked or not renewed. The suspension, revocation or non-renewal shall occur 35 days after the date of the notification order, or at such later date as set out in the notification. If a housing certificate is revoked, suspended, denied or not renewed, it shall be unlawful for the Owner or the Owner’s agent to thereafter permit the occupancy of the rental units after the 35 days, until such time as a valid housing certificate is obtained for the rental units/dwelling.
e. Certificate Fee. A fee shall be charged for each dwelling unit to be paid at the time of the application for any housing certificate. This fee shall be imposed for all new applications or in the case of renewal of certificates upon reapplication. Fees are outlined in the City’s fee schedule.
f. Special/Re-Inspection Fee. A fee shall be imposed for any inspections that are the result of receipt of a valid complaint and in cases where the Occupancy Inspector has determined the dwelling unit does not meet the minimum requirements set by this chapter. Fees are outlined in the City’s fee schedule.

2.58 Buildings Not in Compliance.
Whenever the Occupancy Inspector has inspected any multi-unit housing complex and has found and determined that it is not in compliance with the State Fire Code, the Occupancy Inspector shall serve a written notice on the owner in person or by certified mail. The notice shall describe the property, the nature of the violation, the time in which compliance must be effected, and a copy of the State Fire Code provision that is not in compliance. The notice shall also state that an appeal may be taken to the City Council and notice of the appeal must be filed 15 days from date of service or mailing of the notice. The notice may contain a compliance order stating that compliance with this chapter shall be made immediately and, in that case, the notice shall advise the housing certificate holder that the property may be re-inspected at a time to be determined by the person conducting the inspection. The notice may contain such other and different information as the Occupancy Inspector believes will help the owner to remedy the violation.
2.59 Unfit Dwellings and Condemnation. The designation of a multi-unit housing complex as unfit for human habitation and the procedure for the condemnation and placarding of such dwelling units shall be carried out in compliance with the following requirements:
a. Any dwelling or dwelling unit which shall be found to be so damaged, decayed, dilapidated, unsanitary, unsafe or vermin infested that it creates a serious hazard to the health or safety of the occupants shall be condemned as unfit for human habitation and shall be so designated and placarded by the Occupancy Inspector.
b. Any dwelling or dwelling unit condemned as unfit for human habitation, and so designated and placarded by the Occupancy Inspector, shall be vacated within a reasonable time as ordered by the Occupancy Inspector.
c.No dwelling or dwelling unit condemned and placarded as unfit for human habitation shall again be used for human habitation until written approval is secured form and such placard is removed by the Occupancy Inspector. The Occupancy Inspector shall remove such placard whenever the defect or defects upon which the condemnation and placarding action were based have been eliminated.
d. No person shall deface or remove the placard from any dwelling or dwelling unit which has been condemned as unfit for human habitation and placarded as such, except as provided in subparagraph (c) of this section.
e. Any person affected by any notice or order relating to the condemning and placarding of a dwelling or dwelling unit as unfit for human habitation may request and shall be granted a hearing on the matter.

2.60 Appeal to the City Council.
a. The City Council shall meet for the purposes of hearing the appeals as required in this ordinance within 30 days of the Notice of Appeal. The City Council shall tape record all testimony, keep evidence given to it in the course of any appeal and keep minutes as to its activities and shall prepare written findings of any of its appeals.

2.61 Appeals.
a. All appeals heard by the City Council shall be conducted in open proceedings with full opportunity of all parties to be heard including cross examination of any witness. The City Council may hear and consider any evidence it deems appropriate whether or not such evidence may properly be admitted in a Court of Law. Any part to the proceedings may be represented by an Attorney.
b. Appeals shall be commenced by filing a written request with the City Clerk no later than 15 days from the date of the issuance of any order or citation by the Occupancy Inspector. The City Clerk shall give notice of the time and date the appeal is to be heard to the appellant and the appellant’s attorney, if any, in writing at least 10 days prior to the hearing. The hearing shall be held within 30 days of the filing of the notice of appeal, and may be adjourned or continued form time to time in the discretion of the chairperson of the City Council.
c. The Chairperson of the City Council shall be in charge of the conduct of all hearings and shall have the power to insure that such hearings are conducted in an orderly fashion. It shall be the obligation of the Occupancy Inspector to set forth all of the facts and particulars of the Occupancy Inspector’s determination at said hearing and thereafter such interested parties may present such evidence and information as is relevant. The City Council shall then determine whether or not the decision of the Occupancy Inspector was justified under the circumstances.
d. Upon the close of the evidence and information presented to the City Council, the City Council shall issue a written decision in 15 days (unless waived in writing by the person making the appeal) including Findings of Fact to support the decision.

2.62 Conduct on Licenses Premises.
a. It shall be the responsibility of the Owner or their local property manager to take appropriate action, with the assistance of the local law enforcement agency, following conduct by tenants and/or their guests on the premises of the multi-dwelling rental unit which is determined to be disorderly, in violation of any of the following statutes or ordinances, to prevent further violations.
(1) Minnesota Statute 504B.171 which prohibits the following illegal activities: Prostitution, unlawful sale of controlled substances, unlawful possession, transport, sale, or use of weapons, possession of stolen property;
(2) Minnesota Statutes, Sections 609.75 through 609.76, which prohibit gambling;
(3) Minnesota Statutes, Section 340A.401, which prohibits the unlawful sale of alcoholic beverages;
(4) Minnesota Statutes, Section 609.72, which addresses disorderly conduct;
(5) Minnesota Statutes, Section 609.224, which addresses assaultive behavior;
(6) Minnesota Statutes, Section 609.33, which addresses disorderly house;
(7) Section 7 of the Silver Lake City Code, which addresses noise-related issues.
b. Upon determination by the local law enforcement agency utilizing established procedures, that a premises with a housing certificate was used in a disorderly manner, as described in Subsection (a), the local law enforcement agency shall notify the housing certificate holder by mail of the violation and direct the housing certificate holder to take appropriate action with the assistance of the local law enforcement agency to prevent further violations.
c. If another instance of disorderly use of the premises occurs within 12 months of an incident for which a notice in Subsection (b) was given, the matter shall be referred to the city and the city shall notify the housing certificate holder by mail of the violation. The housing certificate holder shall then submit a written management plan to the city within 10 days of receipt of notice of disorderly use of the premises. The written management plan shall detail all actions taken by the housing certificate holder in response to all notices of disorderly use of the premises within the preceding 12 months. The written management plan shall also detail all actions taken by the housing certificate holder to prevent further disorderly use of the premises. The notice provided to the housing certificate holder of the violation shall inform the housing certificate holder of the requirement of submitting a written management plan and that non-compliance with said requirement may result in the City Council taking action to deny, refuse to renew, remove or suspend the housing certificate.
d. If another instance of disorderly use of the premises occurs within 12 months, after the second of any 2 previous instances of disorderly use for which notices were sent to the housing certificate holder pursuant to this Section, the housing certificate for the premises may be denied, revoked, suspended, or not renewed. Any action to deny, revoke, suspend, or not renew a housing certificate under this Section shall be initiated by the city and shall proceed according to the procedures established in Section 2.57.
e. Exceptions.
(1) An “emergency call,” within the definition of Minnesota Statutes section 609.78, subd. 3, will not be considered an instance of disorderly behavior for purposes of determining whether a housing certificate will be denied, suspended, non-renewed or revoked where the victim and suspect are “Family or household members” as defined in the Domestic Abuse Act, Minnesota Statutes, Section 518B.01, Subd. 2(b) and where there is a report of “Domestic Abuse” as defined in the Domestic Abuse Act, Minnesota Statutes, Section 518B.01, Subd. 2(a).
(2) An “emergency call,” within the definition of Minnesota Statues, Section 609.78, Subd. 3, will not be considered an instance of disorderly behavior for purposes of determining whether a housing certificate will be denied, suspended, non-renewed or revoked where the call is a result of a tenant, a member of a tenant’s household, or guest taking action to seek emergency assistance that is protected by Minnesota State Statute 504B.205, Residential tenant’s right to seek police and emergency assistance.
f. No adverse housing certificate action shall be imposed where the instance of disorderly use of the premises occurred during the pendency of eviction proceedings or after proper notice is given by the housing certificate holder to a tenant to vacate the premises. Eviction proceedings shall not be a bar to adverse housing certificate action, however, unless they are diligently pursued by the housing certificate holder. A notice to vacate shall not be a bar to adverse housing certificate action unless a copy of the notice is submitted to the city within 10 days of receipt of the violation notice. Further, an action to deny, revoke, suspend, or not renew a housing certificate based upon violations of this Section may be postponed or discontinued by the city at any time if it appears that the housing certificate holder has taken appropriate action to prevent further instances of disorderly use.
g. A determination that the premises have been used in a disorderly manner as described in Subsection (a) shall be made by a preponderance of the evidence to support such a determination. It shall not be necessary that criminal charges be brought to support a determination of disorderly use, nor shall the fact of dismissal or acquittal of such a criminal charge operate as a bar to adverse housing certificate action under this Section.
h. The city shall review Section 2.62 three (3) years after the effective date of these revisions to determine its impact upon landlords and tenants, and to recommend any changes which may be appropriate. The city shall keep records of all actions and proposed actions under Section 2.62 to facilitate the committee review requires herein.

2.63 Summary Action.
As a condition of receiving a housing certificate for a rental unit, each housing certificate holder is presumed to agree and consent that when the conduct of any housing certificate holder or holder’s agent, representative, employee or lessee, or the condition of his or her rental unit, or the property in or on which it is located, is detrimental to the public health, sanitation, safety and general welfare of the community at large, or residents of the rental units so as to constitute a nuisance, fire hazard or other unsafe or dangerous condition and thus give rise to an emergency, the city shall have the authority to summarily condemn or close individual rental units or such areas of the rental dwelling as the city deems necessary. Notice of summary condemnation shall be posted at the units or areas affected and shall describe the units or areas affected. No person shall remove the posted notice, other than the Fire Chief, City Clerk or their designated representative.

2.64 Interim Housing.
As a condition of receiving a housing certificate for rental of a multiple dwelling, the housing certificate holder agrees that in the event that the renewal of the housing certificate is denied, suspended, revoked or not renewed due to the action or inaction of the housing certificate holder, all tenants or sub-tenants of the residential rental unit shall be provided, at the housing certificate holder’s expense, suitable interim housing approved by the Fire Chief or his or her designee. The housing certificate holder shall provide such interim housing until the housing certificate for the unit is restored or until the end of the lease term, whichever is shorter.

2.65 Written Notices.
Notices from the city required by this chapter shall be effective if personally delivered or if mailed to the addressee by first class mail, return receipt requested, to the address shown in the city file pertaining to the rental unit involved in the notice.

2.66 Penalty.
Any person violating any of the provisions of this chapter by doing any act or omitting to do any act which constitutes a breach of any section of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof by lawful authority, be punished by a fine not to exceed the maximum penalties for misdemeanor crimes, together with applicable fines and court costs. Each day that a violation continues shall be deemed a separate punishable offense. No provision of this chapter designating the duties of any official or employee of the city shall be so construed as to make such official or employee liable for the penalty provided in this section because of failure to perform such duty.

Section 2. This ordinance shall take force and be in effect from and after its passage and publication.

Adopted this 16th day of July, 2018.

CITY OF SILVER LAKE Seal:
By:__________________________Bruce Bebo, Its Mayor

ATTEST:
By___________________________Jon Jerabek, Its City Clerk

(Published in The McLeod County Chronicle July 25, 2018)