Apartment Complex

Rental Housing Inspections

Our Purpose:

The Inspections Department requires inspections of rental properties within the City of Fargo. The purpose of the rental housing inspection program is to protect the health, safety and welfare of the citizens, tenants, and preserve the community's rental housing stock and the viability of the community's neighborhoods. The Inspections Department enforces the International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC) as adopted by the City of Fargo, Ordinance 31-0101 and the Fargo Land Development Code, Chapter 20, Fargo Municipal Code.

How Inspections are Arranged:

Rental property inspections are requested by letter to Property Owner and sent to the mailing address for the property listed on the Cass County Property Tax Records website. An initial inspection request letter is sent to the property owner requesting they schedule an appointment with the Inspections Department. If the owner does not respond to the initial request, an inspection date and time will be assigned to the property and a letter stating the date and time will be sent to the owner with a timeframe of 5 businesses days to change the scheduled inspection. All inspections are scheduled between 9:00AM and 3:00PM, Monday through Friday. Should you receive such a letter requesting an inspection, please contact the Inspections Department at 701.476.6708 to arrange an appointment. If you are a rental property owner, please ensure that your rental is recorded with The City of Fargo Inspections Department. There is no cost for this service.

If the Property Owner/Property Manager does not respond to the inspection request, an exterior inspection of the building will be done on the date scheduled on the 2nd letter. The inspector may also attempt to arrange an inspection with the tenant. The inspector will continue to work towards gaining access for an interior inspection to ensure safety codes are being met. All life, health, and safety issues must be addressed immediately. Failure to respond to appointment requests and missed inspection appointments could result in applied inspection fees and/or turning the property over to the City Attorney for legal support.

What types of things do the inspectors look for?

The main concerns are that the building is safe, that required codes and ordinances are met, and that equipment is installed correctly and in working order. The inspectors are there to enforce minimum health, safety, and maintenance codes. See commonly found rental violations below.

Rental/Tenant Complaints:

Can the Inspections Department help with problem resolution?

If a complaint is received about an urgent condition at a property, the inspector will attempt to contact the Owner or Property Manager to gain access, and arrangements may be made with the tenant to inspect the property at the earliest possible time. Only someone who has a legal right to enter the building—a tenant, property manager, or landlord—may invite the inspector into the rental.

Unfortunately, not all landlord and tenant issues can be solved using municipal or housing codes. Inspectors can help resolve concerns with your rental space as it pertains to your personal health and safety but cannot be involved civil issues dealing with leases, security deposits, or evictions. Tenants within the State of North Dakota who want to know more about their rights should view the North Dakota Attorney General Tenant Rights website or review information in the Landlord Tenant Rights and Responsibilities handbook.

To begin the complaint process, the tenant should contact the owner, landlord, or property manager in writing and give them a reasonable amount of time to respond. A tenant must contact the appropriate responsible party about their issue prior to contacting the Inspections office, even if the intended recipient does not respond. The Tenant Complaint Form is an example of what a formally written complaint to management could look like. An inspector may ask for a copy of that documentation before proceeding with assistance.

If the landlord or property manager does not follow through with resolving an issue, please contact our office to speak to a rental housing inspector at 701.476.6708, email your concerns to the Inspections Department or report an issue using Fargo One.

Commonly Found Rental Violations

704.6.1 Fire Safety; Smoke alarms – Where required
• In sleeping areas (Bedrooms)
• In every room in the path of the means of egress from the sleeping area to the door leading from the sleeping unit (Hallways)
• Each story within the sleeping unit, including basements (Each level of the house)

R315 Carbon Monoxide Alarms
R315.3 Location
• Installed outside of each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms. Where a fuel burning appliance is located within a bedroom or attached bathroom, CO2 alarm shall be installed within the bedroom (Immediate vicinity outside bedrooms or mechanical room if not attached to unit)
R315.2 Where required
• In dwelling units containing a fuel fired appliance, including wood fireplace
• In dwelling units with an attached garage

304.18.1 Doors; Deadbolts
• Doors providing access to a dwelling unit, rooming unit or housekeeping unit that is rented leased or let shall be equipped with a deadbolt lock designed to be readily openable from the side from which egress is to be made without the need for keys, special knowledge or effort and shall have a minimum lock throw of 1 inch (Doors leading directly into unit. Deadbolt on entry door of multi-unit building not sufficient)

605.4 Wiring; Extension Cords, Cover plates
• Flexible cords shall not be used for permanent wiring, or for running through doors, windows, or cabinets, or concealed within walls, floors, or ceilings. (Sump pumps, garage doors, lighting, appliances)
• Cover plates are required to be in place

R311.7.5.1 Risers; open risers, stairway guard
• At open risers, openings located more than 30 inches, as measured vertically, to the floor or grade below shall not permit the passage of a 4-inch diameter sphere (Interior and exterior stairways)

304.2 Protective Treatments; Peeling paint, weather barrier
• Exterior surfaces, including but not limited to, doors, door and window frames, cornices, porches, trim, balconies, decks, and fences, shall be maintained in good condition, Exterior wood surfaces, other than decay-resistant woods, shall be protected from the elements and decay by painting or other protective covering or treatment. Peeling, flaking, and chipped paint shall be eliminated and surfaces repainted.

403 Ventilation
• Every bathroom and toilet room shall be equipped with mechanical ventilation system unless a window is present. Exhausted air must be discharged to the outdoors and not recirculated. Mechanical ventilations systems shall be operable and not noisy
• Clothes dryer exhaust systems shall be independent of all other systems and be exhausted outside the structure in accordance with the manufacturers specifications. Ductless clothes dryers shall be listed and labeled. No plastic venting allowed.

307.1 Handrails
• Graspable handrails with returns are required on one side of every stairway with more than 4 risers
• Graspable handrails require 1 ½ inches of clearance between the wall and handrail

304.13.1 Glazing (Windows)
• Glazing materials shall be maintained free from cracks and holes.
• Windows are required to operate as designed

LDC 20-0401 Overcrowding
• The limit of unrelated tenants in Fargo is three (3)

Section 404 Bedroom requirements
• Minimum ceiling height is seven (7) feet
• Minimum stairway height is six foot eight inches
• A bedroom shall not constitute the only means of access to other bedrooms
• Minimum room dimension is seven feet
• Minimum room area is 70 square feet with an additional 50 square feet per additional occupant.
• Emergency escape and rescue opening must function as designed

***Property Owners See Below on how to view Rental Inspections:
To view rental inspections, please visit the Permit and Inspection Portal, type the address in the search bar at the top of the screen, and make sure to select the "Search" button. If the property is listed with the City as a rental, the property will be highlighted in yellow. Please register for an account to add properties to a "watch list" and view additional information. ***Remember when typing the address, type only the numbers (Example 1234 5 means is 1234 St N or Ave N)