Individuals in municipalities should be alerted to the International Property Maintenance Code:
Below is printed as a letter to the editor and delivered to the Brady City Council:
On December 17, 2013, the City Council of Brady approved the 2009 International Property Maintenance Codes (IPMC) as they updated their codes regarding fire, plumbing, building, etc. codes to the 2009 International versions in City ordinance #1140. The following is information delivered to the Brady City Council on February 4, 2014 by Sheila Hemphill / 325-226-3683 when after opposition to the code was expressed by numerous citizens, the Council unanimously voted to remove the IPMC from City Ordinance #1140.
Excerpts from the 2009 International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC)http://publicecodes.cyberregs.com/icod/ipmc/2009/index.htm
What is the International Property Maintenance Code?
The International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC) is a model code that regulates the minimum maintenance requirements for existing buildings.The provisions of this code shall apply to and all existing premises and constitute minimum requirements and standards for premises, [ – added] structures, equipment and facilities for light, ventilation, space, heating, sanitation, protection from the elements, life safety, safety from fire and other hazards, and for safe and sanitary maintenance; the responsibility of owners, operators and occupants; the occupancy of existing structures and premises, and for administration, enforcement and penalties.
Unlike building, plumbing and fire codes that are invoked upon remodel or new build, the IPMC applies to ALL CURRENT RESIDENTIAL AND NONRESIDENTIAL STRUCTURES WITH NO GRANDFATHER EXEMPTIONS.
Is International Property Maintenance Code Constitutional?
101.4 Severability. If a section, subsection, sentence, clause or phrase of this code is, for any reason, held to be UNCONSTITUTIONAL, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this code.
104.3 Right of entry. Where it is necessary to make an inspection to enforce the provisions of this code, or whenever the code official has reasonable cause to believe that there exists in a structure or upon a premises a condition in violation of this code, the code official is authorized to enter the structure or premises at reasonable times to inspect or perform the duties imposed by this code, provided that if such structure or premises is occupied the code official shall present credentials to the occupant and request entry. If such structure or premises is unoccupied, the code official shall first make a reasonable effort to locate the owner or other person having charge or control of the structure or premises and request entry. If entry is refused, the code official shall have recourse to the remedies provided by law to secure entry.
We should recall the Bill of Rights 4th Amendment: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
So what constitutes a “violation of this code”?
106.1 Unlawful acts. It shall be unlawful for a person, firm or corporation to be in conflict with or in violation of any of the provisions of this code.
Examples of unlawful acts:
Two and not three wiring electrical system? Unlawful 604.2 Service
Two and not one hot and cold handles in your tub/shower bathroom? Unlawful 505.1 General in accordance with the International Plumbing Code
Ceilings not 7 feet high? Unlawful 404.3 Minimum ceiling heights
Walk through one bedroom to get to another bedroom? Unlawful 404.4.2 Access from bedrooms
Do you have peeling, chipping or flaking interior paint in your house? Unlawful 305.3 Interior surfaces.
Does your house not have fire stops in your stud walls? Unlawful - 703.1 Fire-resistance-rated assemblies.
What could happen if my home is not compliant to this code?
Each chapter under the title Responsibility has language of: ‘A person shall not occupy as owner-occupant, or permit another person to occupy, any premises that do not comply with the requirements of this chapter.”
How would I go about getting my home or business in compliance?
Effective Use of the International Property Maintenance Code:The IPMC is a maintenance document intended to establish minimum maintenance standards for basic equipment, light, ventilation, heating, sanitation and fire safety. Responsibility is fixed among owners, operators and occupants for code compliance.
101.3 Intent. This code shall be construed to secure its expressed intent, which is to ensure public health, safety and welfare insofar as they are affected by the continued occupancy and maintenance of structures and premises. Existing structures and premises that do not comply with these provisions SHALL BE altered or repaired to provide a minimum level of health and safety as required herein.
102.3 Application of other codes. Repairs, additions or alterations to a structure, or changes of occupancy, shall be done in accordance with the procedures and provisions of the International Building Code, International Fuel Gas Code, International Mechanical Code and NFPA 70. Nothing in this code shall be construed to cancel, modify or set aside any provision of the International Zoning Code.
107.6 Transfer of ownership. It shall be UNLAWFUL for the owner of any dwelling unit or structure who has received a compliance order or upon whom a notice of violation has been served to sell, transfer, mortgage, lease or otherwise dispose of such dwelling unit or structure to another until the provisions of the compliance order or notice of violation have been complied with, or until such owner shall first furnish the grantee, transferee, mortgagee or lessee a true copy of any compliance order or notice of violation issued by the code official and shall furnish to the code official a signed and notarized statement from the grantee, transferee, mortgagee or lessee, acknowledging the receipt of such compliance order or notice of violation and fully accepting the responsibility without condition for making the corrections or repairs required by such compliance order or notice of violation.6. Can certain provision be excluded or waived?
104.1 General. The code official is hereby authorized and directed to enforce the provisions of this code. The code official shall have the authority to render interpretations of this code and to adopt policies and procedures in order to clarify the application of its provisions. [Nothing about City Council’s authority to modify] Such interpretations, policies and procedures shall be in compliance with the intent and purpose of this code. Such policies and procedures shall not have the effect of waiving requirements specifically provided for in this code.
REQUEST: Per the above information regarding the overreaching aspects of the International Property Maintenance Code upon personal property right and right to privacy, I am respectfully requesting that International Property Maintenance Code be removed from City Ordinance #1140.
The City Council voluntarily removed the International Property Maintenance Code from City ordinance #1140. Had they not voluntarily removed it, a referrendum by voter petition could have been utilized to bring the issue to a ballot either in the May election or November election cycle. It should be noted that to be upon a May election, petition and certifictions of petitions have to be accomplished by March 1* for May elections and August 26* for November elections.
*Dates may vary.
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