(a) A complaint must be in writing and may be filed in person or by mail or fax.
(b) A person who files a complaint must be:
1. A party to the current rental agreement covering the property in question or an agent of the party;
2. For alleged violations of EC 8.425(14), an individual who has paid an applicant screening charge or an agent of that individual.
(c) A complaint must include the following:
1. Name of person filing the complaint and, if different, the name of the affected tenant. Complaints may not be submitted anonymously;
2. Name of the owner or the owner’s agent;
3. Address of the dwelling unit with the alleged violation;
4. A complete description of the alleged violation; and
5. A copy of the written notice of the alleged code violation that has been sent by the tenant to the owner or the owner’s agent.
(d) Complaints shall be processed by the city manager. The city manager shall adopt rules pursuant to section 2.019 of this code that specify the procedure to be followed in processing complaints. Before initiating an investigation under subsection (3) of this section, the city manager shall:
1. Confirm that the complainant has standing to file a complaint;
2. Confirm that the subject of the complaint could be a violation of this code;
3. Except for complaints regarding violations of EC 8.425(14) and complaints regarding lack of essential services, confirm that the owner or the owner’s agent has had ten days since mailing of the written notice by the tenant to respond to the complaint;
4. For complaints regarding violations of EC 8.425(14) and complaints involving lack of essential services, confirm that the owner or owner’s agent has had 48 hours from the time the tenant provided written notice to respond to the complaint; and
5. Provide notice to the owner or the owner’s agent of the complaint per written procedures.
(a) The city manager shall initiate investigations only after completion of the process in subsection (2) of this section.
(b) The city manager shall conduct an investigation to confirm the validity of the complaint.
(c) If the city manager determines that the complaint is not valid, the case shall be closed and all parties notified.
(d) If the city manager determines that the complaint is valid, the city manager shall issue a notice and order pursuant to subsection (5) of this section.
(4) Inspection and Right of Entry. When it may be necessary to inspect to enforce the provisions of sections 8.400 through 8.440 of this code, the city manager may enter the building or premises at reasonable times to inspect or to perform the duties imposed therein, provided that if such building or premises be occupied that credentials be presented to the occupant and entry requested. If such building or premises be unoccupied, the city manager shall first make a reasonable effort to locate the owner, the owner’s agent, or other person having charge or control of the building or premises and request entry. If entry is refused by the owner, the city manager shall have recourse to every remedy provided by law to secure entry, including issuance of administrative search warrants. If entry is refused by the tenant, the complaint may be dismissed and the case closed. The city shall provide notice to the owner or owner’s agent not less than 24 hours prior to a scheduled inspection of the premises in order to afford the owner or landlord the opportunity to be present during the inspection.
(5) Notices and Orders.
(a) For valid complaints, the city manager shall issue an order to the owner or the owner’s agent. The notice and order shall include the following:
1. Address and unit number if applicable;
2. A statement that the city manager has found a violation of section 8.425 of this code as alleged in the complaint;
3. A description of the violation;
4. A deadline of ten days for remedying the violation, including completion of any repairs, unless the city manager determines that:
a. Repairs are needed to remedy the lack of essential services. Upon making this determination, the city manager shall fix a deadline for completing the repairs that is reasonable in the circumstances and is within 48 hours from issuance of the notice and order. However, if the city manager determines that the repairs cannot be completed within 48 hours, the owner or owner’s agent shall, within 48 hours, submit a compliance schedule acceptable to the city; or
b. Necessary repairs of non-essential services cannot be completed within the ten day period. If the city manager makes such a determination, the owner or owner’s agent shall submit a compliance schedule acceptable to the city within ten days;
5. A statement advising the owner or the owner’s agent that if the violation is not remedied by the deadline stated in the notice and order, the city manager may:
a. Issue an administrative civil penalty, or initiate a prosecution in municipal court, or both; and
b. Initiate action to recover all city costs associated with the processing of the complaint, investigation and the resolution of the issue.
6. A statement that the owner or the owner’s agent may appeal the notice and order as specified in section 8.435 of this code; and;
7. If repairs are required to remedy the violation, the date after which a reinspection will be scheduled.
(b) The city manager shall mail the order, and any amended or supplemental notice and order, to the tenant and to the owner or the owner’s agent by first class mail. If the complaint involves lack of essential services, the city manager shall provide such notice and order by e-mail, phone, and/or personal delivery.
(6) Failure to Comply. Failure to comply with the notice and order issued under subsection (5) of this section by the specified date shall constitute a violation subject to the penalties contained in section 8.995 of this code.