Building Services

Code Enforcement Division Frequently Asked Questions

Code Enforcement Process

How do I submit a code complaint?
Housing and Property Maintenance or Zoning Code concerns can be submitted through the City's customer service portal, My CR.  If you are a tenant residing in a rental property in Cedar Rapids and have an interior rental housing concern, you should first attempt to contact the rental property owner or the property manager to resolve the issue.  We recommend you put your concern to the landlord or property manager in writing.  If, after 14 days for a non-emergency issue, the concern is still not addressed, please contact our office using the My CR portal or calling (319) 286-5197.  
What is code enforcement?
The Code Enforcement Division is responsible for the enforcement of the Housing & Property Maintenance Code and Zoning Code for all owner-occupied properties, rental properties, and commercial properties in Cedar Rapids.  The Code Enforcement Division administers the rental housing program, which includes the registration and inspections of all rental properties in the community at least every 3 years.

The Code Enforcement policy is to achieve voluntary compliance with reported and verified code violations.  However, not all violations have an equal degree of severity, or circumstances. As such, through this manual, the Cedar Rapids Housing and Nuisance Division establishes priority ranking and procedures.  The intent is to allow the level of enforcement that best fits the type and circumstance of the code violation(s), and maximize available resources.


How long do property owners have to make required repairs to be in compliance with the Municipal Code?
Code enforcement officers and rental housing inspectors provide a Notice of Violation to property owners indicating which sections of the Housing & Property Maintenance Code and/or Zoning Code that are in violation.  There will be a deadline on the Notice of Violation for compliance.  Code Enforcement Division staff will work with property owners in an effort to achieve voluntary compliance and a reasonable amount of time to correct the violations.  If violations are not corrected by a final deadline, then code enforcement officers or rental housing inspectors will seek legal action, including, but not limited to filing a Municipal Infraction.  

Rental Housing

How do I register myself as a landlord, get my property registered, and get signed up for the rental business training class?
Anyone who leases, rents, or lets for occupancy a residential rental unit in the City of Cedar Rapids is required to be register the property as part of the Rental Housing Program.  All persons or business entities who lease, rent, or otherwise allow a dwelling unit or residential rental unit to be occupied must have a Landlord Business Permit and the owner and/or property manager must complete Rental Business Training. 

For detailed information on how to obtain a Landlord Business Permit, register a rental property, and complete rental business training, visit the Rental Housing webpage.

The Rental Housing Program is part of the Code Enforcement Division in the Building Services Department.  The office is located at the City Services Center, 500 15th Avenue SW. Rental Housing Inspectors are responsible for inspections of all residential rental properties within the City of Cedar Rapids as well as investigating rental property complaints.
What are the initial fees to register a rental property, obtain a Landlord Business Permit, and complete rental business training, and what are the annual rental inspection fees?

The City of Cedar Rapids currently requires landlords to pay an annual Rental Unit Registration fee which helps cover approximately 50 percent of regular rental inspections and program costs. Cedar Rapids has one of the lowest fee requirements in the state for rental housing programs.  

There is an initial fee to obtain a Landlord Business Permit, complete Rental Business Training, and register a rental property.  

A detailed listing of fees is listed on the Rental Housing Fees webpage.

As a landlord, where can I find information about Fair Housing laws?
You may contact the Cedar Rapids Civil Rights Commission for fair housing training.
Am I considered a landlord if I own and rent one home to a relative and they do not pay rent?
Yes, regardless of whether or not you charge rent to your relative or any other individual living at the residence, you are considered a landlord.  The Housing and Property Maintenance Code requires anyone that leases, rents, or lets for occupancy to register the rental property.
How do I search to see if a specific address is listed in the City's database as rental or check to see if a person has a landlord business permit?
To learn more about the rental status of a specific property, you can search registered rental properties database.
How often do rental properties get inspected?
Regular rental housing inspections are conducted every 3 years with the inspections following the structure, not the owner.  Inspections may be conducted more frequently as needed.  

To check whether a specific address is registered as a rental property and the scheduled inspection date, please visit the Registered Rental Properties database.
How can I find out when my next inspection is for my rental property?
Inspection dates can be found by searching the registered rental properties database. The inspection date listed below should be confirmed with the Rental Housing Inspection letter that the property owner or property management company receives from Building Services housing inspection staff.  The letter from rental housing inspection staff will have the date and time of the inspection appointment.  If you have any questions, please contact (319) 286-5197.
As a landlord, how can I verify my properties have been registered as rental properties?
You may search for registered rental properties and sort by date for the next regular rental inspection on the Registered Landlords page.
Do I need to be present for the housing inspection?
Your attendance during the inspection is encouraged. An owner, property manager, or tenant of legal age must be present during the inspection. If you have questions regarding inspection scheduling, the Housing and Property Maintenance Code, or any other matters pertaining to code enforcement, please contact our office Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., or visit our website at www.cityofcr.com/rental-inspections.    
What type of items does a Housing Inspector look for when conducting an inspection?
A copy of the rental inspection checklist can be accessed on the Housing Inspections webpage.
How do I file a complaint about my landlord?

To file a complaint about your landlord, write a letter and include what violations have occurred (reference the Rental Inspection Checklist on the Housing Inspections webpage)

Sign and date the letter. Make two copies, giving the original to management or owner.  Landlord/manager has 14 calendar days to let you know what their plan of action will be or make repairs. If requests have not been completed in 14 days, send one of the copies to the Building Services Department at 500 15th Avenue SW and keep the second copy for your own record.

To file a complaint if you haven't received a response in 14 days from the owner, please use the MyCR portal to submit the complaint, which will be forwarded to a rental housing inspector.

Placarded Property

What are the reasons why my property would be placarded?
There are various reasons in which a property is placarded due to code violations including, but not limited to, a lack of required utilities such as water, gas or electricity, unsafe or unsanitary living conditions, structure is in disrepair or lacks maintenance, vermin or rat infested, contains filth and contamination, lacks ventilation or means of egress is restricted. For more information on placarded properties, please contact Building Services Department at (319) 286-5831 or visit the City Services Center at 500 15th Avenue SW.
My property is placarded. What next?
Review the Notice of Violation letter provided by our office which will detail actions that are necessary for the placard to be removed.  

You may visit the Building Services Department at the City Services Center, 500 15th Avenue SW, to obtain a Permission to Enter.  Our staff will need to know who will be entering and for what purpose. A Permission to Enter gives the owner of the placarded property and those who are listed on the Permission to Enter the ability to be on the premises and/or in the structure(s) to correct the violation(s).  

Access to a placarded property is allowed only with written approval from the code official in the form of a Permission to Enter.  When approved persons access the placarded property, those persons shall have the code official's full written approval available at the placarded property for inspection by any code official or police officer.

Vacant Property

How do I report a vacant and neglected property?
You may report a vacant and neglected property through the My CR customer service portal or contact the Code Enforcement Division at (319) 286-5831.  Once the necessary information is collected, a code enforcement officer will conduct an investigation and, as needed, notify the owner(s) or the owner’s authorized agent they shall register a vacant and neglected building with the city within thirty (30) calendar days of the code official notifying the owner that the code official has declared the structure a vacant and neglected building or within thirty (30) calendar days of the building becoming vacant and neglected.

The owner or owner's authorized agent will be required to submit a $300 Vacant and Neglected Property Registration and provide an abatement plan for correcting violations within one year.
How do I register a vacant and neglected property with the City?
All vacant and neglected buildings in Cedar Rapids must be registered with the Code Enforcement Division of the Building Service Department within 30 calendar days.  

Vacant & Neglected Buildings are Defined as: Any building or portion of a building which meets any one or more of the following conditions for more than 180 calendar days in any given year: unoccupied and unsecured, unoccupied and secured by boarding or by means other than those used in the design of the building, unoccupied and has housing and/or building code violations, unoccupied and unfit for occupancy, or unoccupied and declared dangerous or unsafe under the Housing & Property Maintenance Code.

To register a Vacant and Neglected Building, see the Property Maintenance/Code Enforcement webpage.
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