A controversial Rental Housing Inspection program for the city of Oelwein is moving forward.

The city council approved the ordinance on the third and final reading during its regular meeting on Monday (Oct. 22, 2018).

The ordinance is mainly for landlords and vacant building owners in the city. Rental property owners are asked to review the Rental Inspection Policy, look over the Rental Inspection Checklist Guide, the Rental Fee Schedule, and the Rental Inspection checklist.

All of those properties must be registered with the city by March 1, 2019. Rental property owners have been resistant to establishing such an ordinance since it was first proposed by the city.

The purpose of the ordinance is to provide safe and sanitary housing conditions for renters. In doing so, the city has established minimum standards and inspections for all rental housing units in Oelwein.

Those properties will be inspected on a regular basis, which at this time, is once every three years. There is a fee for each inspection.

Inspectors will be looking at the interior and exterior, as well as the grounds on the property.

Major violations would include: a lack of operable smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, storage of flammable liquids inside the dwelling, worn electrical wiring, a heating system that does not work, and other life safety issues that would be determined by the city inspector.

There are fees for violations, and habitual violators will lose their certificate of occupancy.

Only the present tenants of a rental property may file complaints. To settle disputes with the owners, there is a Housing Appeals Board.

More detailed rules and regulations are available on the City of Oelwein web site, and also through city hall.