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Residential Rental Inspection Program

Residential Rental Inspection Program

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The City of Altoona has a licensing and inspection program of residential rental properties. This program is designed to give property owners the benefit of knowing if their rental units meet the minimal habitability standards as set forth in the City’s Property Maintenance Code. Prospective and current tenants will benefit by knowing that their unit has been checked for health and safety violations. Additionally, ongoing inspections will provide for continued maintenance and preservation of the City’s housing stock.

Summary of the specifics of the Program:

Every owner of leased, rented or non-owner occupied residential dwelling units must secure a Conditional Housing Permit. Residential rental units do not include motels, hotels, dormitories, bed and breakfasts and boarding homes. Units must contain all the facilities for independent living, i.e. kitchen, bathroom, living and sleeping spaces.

Licenses must be renewed on or before July 31st of each year.

  • Arrangements will be made to schedule an inspection of each dwelling unit.  In most cases, units will be inspected every three years. Average inspection time is 20 to 30 minutes, and an owner and/or tenant or a designated representative must be present during the inspection.
  • Inspections will be conducted using the International Property Maintenance Code. The Code has been specifically designed to identify life-safety and routine maintenance concerns on existing structures. This Code does not contain the regulatory requirements for new structures as does the building code.
  • If violation(s) are found, owners will be given 45 days, in most instances, to complete the repairs. Extensions in 30 day increments may be granted. Potentially dangerous and life-safety conditions must be corrected immediately.
  • Once a unit passes inspection, the Conditional Housing Permit then becomes a Residential Rental Unit License. Provided annual fees are paid and barring certain circumstances that would revoke the license, the license will remain valid until the next inspection. 
  • The inspection will be conducted on the interior and exterior of the property, including living room, dining room, kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms, other rooms not lived in, and property exterior.  

Below is a SUMMARY of the items that will be inspected

  • CEILINGS must be in good condition with no large cracks or holes that allow drafts, or large amounts of loose or falling plaster. 
  • WALLS must be in good, clean and sanitary condition with no peeling paint, loose plaster, rotten wood or defective surface conditions. 
  • FLOORS must be in good condition with no holes, large cracks, missing or warped floor boards. 
  • PAINTED SURFACES must show no peeling, chipping or flaking paint. 
  • WINDOWS must be easily opened, weather tight and in sound condition. 
  • WIRING must be in working order and every habitable space in a unit shall require at least two separate and remote receptacle outlets.  Broken or frayed wiring, missing cover plates, or badly cracked outlets are not acceptable.
  • SINKS must be maintained in a sanitary, safe working condition with hot and cold running water.
  • TUB AND/OR SHOWER shall be in every dwelling unit and shall be maintained in a sanitary, safe working condition with hot and cold running water.
  • TOILETS must flush and work properly.
  • OTHER ROOMS not lived in must be free from mechanical, electrical and security hazards. There must be no large holes in the floors, ceilings or walls, and ensure all stairways are in safe condition.
  • ROOF/FLASHING must be sound, tight and without defects that admit rain. Gutters and downspouts, if installed, must be in good condition and securely attached to the building.
  • HANDRAILS  every exterior and interior flight of stairs, and any open portion of a stair, landing, porch or balcony that is more than 30” above the floor or grade, must have handrails or guards, which must all be maintained in good condition.
  • FOUNDATION must be in good condition with no large holes or cracks that would let air in.
  • WATER/SEWAGE supply must have an approved public or private water supply system and sewage disposal system.
  • CHIMNEYS must be maintained structurally safe, sound and in good repair.
  • PLUMBING must be in good condition, and there must be no signs of leaks or serious rust. Fixtures must be property installed and maintained in safe, sanitary and functional condition.
  • ELECTRICAL wiring and appliances must be properly installed and maintained in a safe and approved manner. 
  • MECHANICAL equipment, fireplaces and sold fuel burning appliances must be properly installed and maintained in a safe and approved manner.
  • WATER HEATER must be installed in good working order.
  • HEAT must be supplied from October 1 to May 15 to maintain the home comfortably warm during cold months.
  • FIRE EXITS must have a safe, continuous and unobstructed means of exit from the structure.
  • ENTRANCE must be provided from the outside or from a public hall, so that entry into the unit is not from anyone’s personal apartment.
  • LIGHTS must be maintained in proper and working order in all shared hallways and inside stairways.
  • SMOKE DETECTORS must be installed in working condition on every habitable floor in including basements and in each sleeping room.
  • CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS must be installed in working condition on each floor containing a fuel-burning device, including basements, and also installed near each sleeping room.

For full details regarding the Residential Rental Unit Inspection Program, please contact the Codes & Inspections Department at 814-949-2456 or use this Contact E-Form.