Rental License

Changes to rental housing license program

The updated rental ordinance was approved by City Council on April 5, 2022, and goes into effect June 1, 2022.

The ordinance was updated to improve the quality of our rental housing stock, clear up some outdated language, and streamline our processes to ensure efficient use of staff time and resources.

Read the Rental Housing Ordinance (PDF)

Overview of changes

Assistant City Attorney Alissa Harrington goes over the changes to the rental housing licensing program. This was recorded in December 2021.

This report was presented to the City Council in September 2021 to explain the purpose of code changes and types of changes being proposed.

Rental Housing Licensing, Nuisance and Enforcement Code Updates (PDF)

Residential rental properties

All residential rental properties within the City of Northfield must have a rental license prior to the property being occupied. To obtain a rental license, the rental units must comply with the City Rental Housing Ordinance found in Chapter 14 of the Northfield City Code.

View the City Rental Housing Ordinance

View the International Building Code

Eligible properties

Not all properties may be eligible for a rental license. Please contact the Building Inspections Division to determine if a rental license may be granted for any property being considered for residential rental. Certain areas of the community are restricted to allowing only 20% of the block to be rented. A block is defined as both sides of a street from intersection to intersection.

Obtaining a rental license

  • A rental license application is submitted by the owner
  • Payment of the appropriate fee
  • The property must comply with the minimum property standards of the ordinance verified by a property inspection. The property owner is responsible to schedule the inspection with the Building Inspection Department.

The rental license must be issued prior to occupancy of any residential rental property.

Renewing a rental license

Rental licenses are valid for two years.

The renewal process is the same as the original licensing. It requires an application, fees, and inspection of the rental property to be complete before the existing license expires.

Fees for licenses

  1. Rental licenses

    Rental License Type 1 (2 years)$110 license fee first unit;
    $25 each additional unit
    Rental License Type 2 (1 year)$230 license fee first unit;
    $25 each additional unit
    Rental License Type 3 (6 months)$290 license fee first unit;
    $25 each additional unit
    Rental License Temporary (1 year or less)$110 license fee for the first unit;
    $25 each additional unit
    Rental Housing Board of Appeals processing §14-136$100
    Rental license re-inspection fee for inspections after the first inspection (after the first inspection, canceled, or "no show")$75

    License application violation penalties

    Late rental license renewal application §14-95$250
    Renting without a rental license §14-116$250

    Fines for ordinance offenses

    ViolationFirst offenseSecond offenseSubsequent offense
    License violation$100$250$500
    Vehicle or bicycle violations$15$30$100
    Animal violation$20$75$150
    Administrative fine for failure to correct violation §3-24$100$100$250
    Administrative fine fine per day violation exists §3-24$25$25$25
    Abatement by City to correct code violations §46-11At costAt costAt cost
    All other violation of City Code not otherwise specified$25$50$100