International Property Maintenance Code

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Cleburne City Council wants to ensure residents live in safe conditions and protect Cleburne’s growth and prosperity. To achieve this, the City Council is considering adopting the International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC) that will help ensure residential and commercial properties are upheld to modern standards.

Compared to many North Texas communities, the city of Cleburne does not have the same level of property maintenance codes. This has led to some residents living in hazardous conditions or maintaining properties in ways that negatively impact the health and safety of their neighbors and the values of nearby homes and businesses.

“Cleburnites have a lot of pride in our hometown and the character of our neighborhoods. These changes ensure all properties are held to the same standard that fit the image of our Cleburne.”
– Mayor Scott Cain

These changes introduce policies that numerous municipalities around the world have already adopted and that many residents expect including addressing such items as the parking of vehicles in residential neighborhoods, noxious and invasive plants, and more. Some local communities that have adopted the IPMC include Burleson, McKinney, Coppell, Waco, and Austin, to name a few.

The City Council is also considering changes that provide city officials with more ways to monitor and respond to violations. The City has created a process to help residents meet code as our goal is compliance, not enforcement.

Timeline

The City Council could adopt the codes in fall 2018, with implementation beginning Jan. 1, 2019. Prior to consideration by the Council, the City will host public meetings to convey potential changes and receive feedback. While each meeting is geared toward a specific audience, they are open for all to attend.

  • Oct. 25, 2018
    Public Meeting – Landowners, management companies, investment property owners City Hall, 6:30 p.m.
  • Oct. 30, 2018
    Public Meeting – Homeowners/tenants City Hall, 6:30 p.m.
  • Nov. 1, 2018
    Public Meeting – Business community City Hall, 6:30 p.m.

Thank you to everyone that attended the public meetings. City staff is taking the public input and incorporating it into a presentation for City Council.

FAQs

The city has created several FAQs for various community members to learn how the proposed changes will affect them.

HomeownersProperty Manager/Rental Property OwnerTenant/Renter
Commercial Property OwnerGeneral Information

The International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC) and other Code Changes

The IPMC outlines property maintenance regulations from weeds to dilapidated housing. Municipalities all over the world have adopted the IPMC and recognize it as the global standard. The city reviewed the international codes and amended them to fit the Cleburne community.

The city would also modify other property-related codes to fit the goals for the program. The proposed changes cover a myriad of property standards that promote the community’s health and safety. This includes vegetation, junk vehicles, water pollution, public decency, driver sight obstructions, and more.

Most homeowners and business owners won’t see a difference in their daily lives because they are already meeting code. Adopting the IPMC and amending some of our existing codes raises the minimum standard of what’s acceptable for building and living conditions and provides greater opportunity to address issues at an earlier stage before they compound.

While the proposed changes address a variety of property maintenance, there are some proposed items residents may not even realize are regulated:

  • The proposed policy states outdoor storage piles in the backyard must be no greater than 6-feet high, 6-feet wide, 25-feet long and no closer than 3-feet to any fence, building, adjacent pile, property line. Additionally, the area underneath material shall be free and clear of debris or grass.
  • Another new policy aims to protect a driver’s line of sight by regulating that shrubs shall be no taller than 3-feet and no tree limbs lower than 8-feet within 15-feet of a roadway.
  • The new amendments clarify regulations on parking in residential streets. Vehicles other than passenger vehicles and motorcycles are prohibited from being parked in residential neighborhoods. This ban includes trailers, semis, boats, RV’s, campers, and more unless loading or unloading. Prolonged parking of those vehicles on residential streets could damage the roadway, make it difficult for emergency vehicles to navigate roads, and often times the large vehicles can cause sight obstructions in a residential neighborhood.
  • Residents will be prohibited from parking vehicles on unimproved surfaces such as grass and yard. Residents can use up to 25-percent of the front yard for parking as long as vehicles are on an improved surface such as concrete, asphalt, or pavers. Gravel may be used as long as there is a border to contain the material. Variances may be requested in older neighborhoods that have limited lot sizes.  The community believes parking vehicles on the yard is unsightly and adds to overcrowding of a residence.
  • Noxious and invasive plants will be prohibited because they can easily spread to neighbors’ properties. Another vegetation change is that diseased and dead trees must be removed in order to prevent the spread or remove a potential danger.

View the Property Maintenance Ordinance

View the IPMC local amendments

View the Health and Safety Ordinance

Rental Housing Ordinance and Negligent Property Programrent

Another component is a Rental Housing Ordinance, which will regulate leased housing and will work alongside the IPMC and revised Building and Standards ordinance. Many rental properties in Cleburne are well cared for and therefore are unlikely to see a difference in how they currently operate. The program will typically impact only those properties that fail to meet city codes and are not maintained in a safe condition. The new ordinance does not include a rental housing registration fee or program for compliant properties.

The changes introduce protections to ensure safe and healthy housing available for renters. This includes the introduction of the Negligent Property Program (NPP). The process begins with a complaint. Complaints against a leased/let property may be filed by any party. A complaint triggers a code official inspection, which can lead to violations if left uncorrected by the property owner. 

A property with three or more violations in a 12-month period shall be deemed a negligent property and be enrolled in the NPP. Properties in the NPP pay a yearly $100 registration fee and properties in the NPP will be re-inspected for the correction of violations. The NPP period shall be a minimum of 24-months from the date the certificate of compliance has been issued, indicating all code violations have been abated.

In addition, it will be criminal to maliciously vandalize a landlord’s property and Code Compliance can issue a fine and citation to the tenant.

View the proposed Rental Housing Ordinance and Negligent Property Program

HOPE Program

CIA

A major component of this effort is voluntary code compliance rather than code enforcement. In order to help community members meet standards, the city has created the Helping Occupants Prosper Everyday (HOPE) Community Revitalization Program. This economic development program is in partnership with local non-profit Christmas in Action (CIA) and is geared toward homeowners who do not have the financial or physical means to make the necessary repairs to their property.

There are numerous owner-occupied houses in Cleburne exhibiting various stages of decline.  This decline has a major impact on the deterioration of the real estate property tax base throughout the city.  The HOPE program will address the redevelopment of existing housing stock in the City and promote development within the City as a whole.

The city will contribute $50,000 annually to allow Christmas in Action to organize volunteer groups, churches, community leaders, and local businesses to participate in the renovation, clean-up, and maintenance of homes. CIA has led this effort in Cleburne since 1999.

Important Links

FAQs

HomeownersProperty Manager/Rental Property OwnerTenant/Renter
Commercial Property OwnerGeneral Information

View the Property Maintenance Ordinance

View the IPMC local amendments

View the Health and Safety Ordinance

View the proposed Rental Housing Ordinance and Negligent Property Program

View all proposed codes

Code Compliance

Christmas in Action