Rental Code Information

Rental Code

The City of Cedar Falls is mandated through Iowa State Code to establish a minimum acceptable standard for rental properties. The Department of Public Safety, Fire Division/Rental Housing is the local city department performing those duties. We currently have one inspector working through the Fire Chief conducting inspections on a rotational 3-year basis. The most recent update to the rental code was adopted on October 3, 2016. Here is a link to a copy of the current rental code or it may be obtained by contacting the Rental Housing Department at (319) 273-8697.

Rental Permits

Any property in the City of Cedar Falls that is to be used as a rental must first obtain a rental permit before rental occupancy can be granted. This applies to current rentals, new rentals, and rentals that are coming under new ownership. See link for New Rental/Change in Ownership Application. Rental permits must be renewed every three years by a rental inspection or the rental status of the property will expire. To find out when your next inspection is due or when your rental permit expires call (319) 273-8697. Note that rental permits are not transferable to subsequent owners. Rental property owners are required to keep updated contact information on file with the rental department.

Rental Occupancy Level Reviews

Any property can be a rental, with occupancy levels depending on the zoning district and the type of rental proposed. All rentals must obtain a permit and have a zoning review. If an occupancy of more than a family or two unrelated individuals (with any dependent children related to them) is requested for a single family or two family conversion property than the request must first be reviewed and approved by the Group Rental Committee. A rental registered prior to 8/19/14 is permitted to have four unrelated individuals. Once the property is sold or transferred, that occupancy will either:

Maintain four
(automatically) if:

  • Lot width ≥ 70’
  • Lot area ≥ 8,000 sq. ft.
  • Street width ≥ 31’
  • 4 off-street parking spaces
Or Reduce to three
(automatically) if:

  • Lot width < 70’
  • Lot area < 8,000 sq. ft.
  • Street width < 31’
  • No parking on one side
For existing rentals that wish to increase their occupancy to five or cannot meet the criteria to remain at four unrelated persons at sale/transfer but wish to keep their higher occupancy, their request will need to be reviewed by the Group Rental Committee and approved by the Board of Housing Appeals.

Rental Occupancy Review Process

The rental review process starts with submitting a New Rental/Change in Ownership Application. Supplemental materials, found on page 6 of the application, will be required for this level of review. The Group Rental Committee meets the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month at 7:00 a.m. in the Duke Young Room located at Cedar Falls City Hall, 220 Clay Street. Rental applications for higher occupancy received by noon on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month will be scheduled for the subsequent Group Rental Committee meeting. The Board of Rental Housing Appeals meets as needed.

Paving Rental Driveways/Parking Lots

All new rentals must complete this prior to use as a rental. Rentals registered prior to 8/19/14 must have a hard surface driveway and or parking area/parking lot within three years from their next inspection. Acceptable hard surfaces include: asphalt (HMA), concrete (PCC), pavers, and brick. A land use permit is needed prior to completing the work. Here are links to city requirements for driveways and parking lots. Note that the City is currently working to help coordinate collaborative paving opportunities; more information on potential collaboration efforts to come.

If you have questions please feel free to contact the Rental Housing Department at (319) 273-8697 or Planning and Community Services Division at 319-273-8600.