Housing code checklist for tenants and landlords

What does the Linn County Property Maintenance Code cover?

The following list covers most of the provisions of the International Property Maintenance Code (2012).

  • Structure is not an “unsafe structure” – i.e., dangerous to life and health; doesn’t protect or warn occupants in the event of fire; collapse of the structure is possible.
  • No “unsafe equipment” – i.e., heating equipment, elevators, wiring, or flammable liquid containers that are in such a condition that they present a hazard to life, health, property, and safety.
  • Structure is not “unfit for human occupancy” – i.e., in disrepair, lacking maintenance, unsanitary, vermin-infested, contains filth or contamination, or lacks ventilation, illumination, sanitary or heating facilities to the point where it is not fit for human occupancy.
  • Structure is not an unlawful structure – it wasn't erected or altered illegally and it is not occupied by more persons than permitted by law.
  • Exterior is clean, safe, and sanitary.
  • Grading and drainage – No erosion or standing water in the yard. Gutters and downspouts are in good condition. Water from downspouts discharges away from the house and doesn’t cause a nuisance.
  • Sidewalks and driveways are in proper repair and free of hazardous conditions.
  • Rodent harborage – if rats and mice are present, they are promptly exterminated and precautions are taken against reinfestation.
  • Structural members are free from deterioration.
  • Outbuildings, including fences and walls, are sound and in good repair.
  • Inoperable motor vehicles – no inoperative or unlicensed motor vehicles; no vehicles in a state of major disrepair or disassembly.
  • No graffiti, marking, or carving on surfaces.
  • Swimming pools and hot tubs are in good repair and protected by a fence.
  • Building exterior is in good repair, structurally sound, and sanitary. Exterior walls are weatherproof and coated, with no peeling or chipped paint, and metal surfaces are not rusty. Joints in building material, including mortar joints, are watertight. Exterior walls are free of holes, breaks, and loose and rotting material. Decorative features & overhang extensions are in good repair; they are properly anchored, in a safe condition, and painted.
  • House number is legible from the street, with a minimum 4-inch letter height and ½-inch stroke width.
  • Foundation walls are plumb and free from cracks and breaks, and don’t have holes that allow entry of rodents or other animals.
  • Exterior stairs, deck, porch, and balcony are structurally sound, properly anchored, and are able to support the required loads.
  • Handrails and guardrails on stairs with more than 4 risers or on standing surfaces more than 30 inches high.
  • Chimneys are in good repair.
  • Windows, door frames, and skylights are in good repair and weathertight. No broken glass. Screens must be provided between April 15 and October 15.
  • Security – Doors, windows, and hatchways are secure and lockable.
  • Doors are in good condition; locks to room work.
  • Interior of building is in good repair, structurally sound, and sanitary.
  • Interior structural members are sound and can support the required loads.
  • Interior surfaces are clean and sanitary, with no peeling or chipping paint, no cracked plaster, or decayed wood.
  • Interior stairs and walking surfaces are in sound condition; handrails and guardrails are in good repair, well-fastened, and support the load.
  • Interior doors – every interior door fits reasonably well, is properly secured, and opens.
  • Rubbish and garbage – no accumulation; a disposal container is available.
  • Insects, roaches, and rodents – All interior areas are free from infestations. When an infestation occurs, it is promptly exterminated by a process that is not injurious to human health. This section will not be applied to Asian lady beetles, individual spiders, or box elder bugs.
  • Light – habitable room has natural light (windows) equal to 8 percent of the floor area. Stairs and halls in multi-unit apartments have lights equivalent to 60 watts of incandescent light 200 square feet, not more than 30 feet apart. Lighting fixtures are provided in every room except living rooms, dining rooms, and closets.
  • Ventilation - openable windows equal to 3.6 percent of the floor area in every room, except for bathrooms which may be mechanically ventilated. Bath fans shall vent outdoors.
  • Emergency egress (escape) conforms to the code in effect at the time of construction. Shall be operable without keys, special tools, or special knowledge.
  • Clothes dryer exhausts to the outside.
  • Minimum room areas – minimum 7-foot ceiling height (minimum 6 feet, 8 inches in a basement). Smallest room dimension (width or length) =7 ft. Minimum bedroom size 70 square feet; minimum total area 50 square feet per bedroom occupant, minimum living room area 120 square feet.
  • Bathroom facility is required. Access to bathroom cannot be through a bedroom.
  • Water heaters are capable of maintaining 110°F; no gas water heater is in a bathroom or occupied room; a piped relief valve discharge extends to within 3 to 6 inches of the floor.
  • Plumbing fixtures are properly connected and in working order without damaging deterioration, with no leaks, and adequate clearance for operation; proper venting and backflow prevention.
  • Electrical – 60-amp service minimum; two outlets per habitable space; one outlet in laundry, either grounded or GFCI-protected; one receptacle in each bathroom, which shall be GFCI-protected if new.
  • Smoke alarms in each bedroom and in the hall outside bedrooms, and on every story; wired with battery backup if and construction has taken place.
  • Mold is not present in quantities that might affect health. Mold itself is not addressed in the IPMC, but the condensation, leakage, and drainage problems that contribute to mold generally are included.