Ordinance Information

Many St. Louis County residents are unaware of the new ordinance that went into effect on July 1, 2007, which requires that anyone purchasing a home must obtain a re-occupancy inspection and permit from the Neighborhood Preservation department before moving in. According to the March, 2007 issue of /St. Louis County Direct/, the County newsletter, "The expansion will add approximately 94,500 condos, single family homes and duplexes to the County's re-occupancy inspection rolls."

Prior to this ordinance becoming effective, the re-occupancy program applied only to Property Conservation Districts and rental properties, both apartments and single-family homes. Under the new program, the Property Conservation Districts, all of which are in North St. Louis County, are no longer needed and thus effectively dissolved.

As noted above, the new ordinance applies to every house or condo sold in all of unincorporated St. Louis County, so this is a major change in the number of inspections that the county must now conduct each year with their limited resources. As Joe O'Connell stated in his meeting in June about the new ordinance, the County only expects to catch about 50% of those homes or condos requiring an inspection in the first year of the new program.

Therefore, subdivision trustee directors and concerned residents are encouraged to report any change in occupancy to the Neighborhood Preservation Department (615-7346 or jo'connell@stlouis.com ) so that homes sold are in compliance with the ordinance.

One of the major concerns to us and many other county residents is over-crowding and/or multiple families living in the larger homes, which this ordinance is designed to address and restrict. Under the new ordinance, St. Louis County inspectors will inspect for basic property maintenance items such as plumbing, roofing, gutters, wiring and smoke alarms, as well as the number of occupants that can reside in the home, based on the square footage of the bedrooms. Seventy (70) square feet is required for each bedroom and smoke alarms are also required in all bedrooms and in hallways accessing bedrooms, as well as in each livable area.

It should also be noted that all bedrooms in basements must have a window or door consisting of a five (5) foot seven (7) inch total area as a means of egress to the outside of the home. This is an important provision designed to prevent overcrowding since this provision applies to all basement bedrooms and denotes that basement bedrooms with the typical small rectangular basement windows cannot be used as a bedroom as there is no means of egress to the outside of the home.

The cost of the permit for a single family home, duplex or condo is $80 for the initial inspection, a re-inspection and permit, and is payable by either the seller, buyer or a representative of either. There is a $40 charge if a third inspection is required. Application for the inspection and permit can be done either online at stlouisco.com (go to the County Government dropdown link/Public Works site, then select the Re-Occupancy Permit system option) or in person at the North County Government Center, 21 Village Square (near Lindbergh & 270). Application cannot be made via telephone.

Once application is made, the applicant will be contacted by an inspector to schedule a time for the inspection. If the property passes on the first inspection, an occupancy permit is generated in 48 hours. The county allows 120 days (approximately four (4) months) from the date of compliance for the applicant to provide the names of the occupants. If this time period elapses and the names are not provided, then the process starts over, including the application fees.