Housing Code Enforcement

Unincorporated Areas of Linn County 
Linn County Healthy Homes responds to housing complaints in the unincorporated areas of the county. The Linn County Property Maintenance Regulations ordinance provides that basis for this program. The ordinance incorporates the 2012 International Property Maintenance Code. Founded nuisance complaints are resolved through consultation and/or regulatory authority. 

Incorporated Ares of Linn County 
Linn County Healthy Homes can provide educational material for issues located in the incorporated areas of Linn County, but does not have regulatory authority in these areas. See information below about filing a housing complaint in an incorporated area of Linn County. 

​Tenant Rights
Tenants and landlords have rights and responsibilities as defined by the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act and the manufactured Home Communities or Mobile Home Parks Landlord and Tenant Law. In general, if a renter has concerns about their unit (mold, poor repair, etc.), the renter should put it in writing and give the landlord 7 days to repair. If repairs are not made, contact the local housing authority. 

For a summary of the Iowa Landlord and Tenant Act click here. 

If you need legal advice regarding a housing issue, contact Iowa Legal Aid or the attorney of your choice. 

To file a housing complaint:

If the location of your complaint is inside Cedar Rapids, Marion, or ANY incorporated town, contact your city government. See the phone contact numbers provided below. 

If you have a complaint about the rental housing in the unincorporated areas of Linn County, please call Linn County Healthy Homes at (319) 892-6000. 

If you are within the city limits of any town, you need to contact your city first with your complaint. For housing problems in a city with a housing inspection program, please contact the number for your city below. 

Cedar Rapids………... (319) 286-5197
Marion………………… (319) 743-6330
Hiawatha……………... (319) 393-1515
Center Point………….. (319) 849-1508
Lisbon…………………. (319) 455-2459
Palo………………….... (319) 851-2731

Other towns may have a Dangerous Building ordinance or similar provisions that empower City officials to respond to housing complaints. 

Alburnett...........(319) 842-2692
Bertram.............no listing
Central City........(319) 438-1713
Coggon..............(319) 435-2314
Ely.....................(319) 848-4103
Fairfax................(319) 846-2204
Mount Vernon......(319) 895-8742
Prairieburg...........(319) 437-1444
Robins.................(319) 393-0588
Springville............(319) 854-6428
Walford...............(319) 845-3103
Walker................(319) 448-4359

Housing Code Checklist

Below is a list of many of the provisions from the 2012 International Property Maintenance Code. The checklist was made in accordance with the 2012 International Property Maintenance Code, as amended and adopted. The checklist is to be used as a guide for many of the common conditions cited during a minimum housing inspection. It is not meant to be a substitute for the Code and may not include all potential violations.

  • Structure is not an “unsafe structure” – i.e., dangerour 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, healthy, 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, markings, 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 and 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 their required loads.
  • Handrails and guardrails on stairs with four or more 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 rooms work.
  • Interior of building is in good repair, structurally sound, and sanitary.
  • Interior structural members are sounds and can support the required load.
  • 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 infestation. 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% of the floor area. Stairs and halls in multi-unit apartments have light equivalent to 60 watts of incandescent light per 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% 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 dimensions (width or length) = 7 feet. Minimum bedroom size = 70 square feet, minimum total area = 50 square feet per bedroom occupant. Minimum living room area is 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 permitted in a bathroom or occupied room, a piped pressure relief valve discharge extends to within 3-6 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 outlet in each bathroom, which shall be GFCI protected if new.
  • Smoke alarms in each bedroom, the hall outside bedrooms, and on every story; wired with battery backup if new construction has taken place.
  • Mold is not present in quantities that might affect health. Mold itself is not addressed in the IPMC, but condensation, leakage, and drainage problems that contribute to mold generally are included.