Reuben Saltzman

Buying a vacant property in Coon Rapids? Familiarize yourself with their “Water Restoration Permit” first.

I recently had a friend go through a huge hassle to get his water turned on after buying a vacant property in Coon Rapids.  His plan was to buy the house, get the water turned back on, and live in the house while he remodeled it going room by room.

Shortly after buying the home, he contacted the city of Coon Rapids to have the water turned back on, and they told him they would need to inspect the house first.  The city ended up having a huge list of repairs that he would need to complete before moving in to the house, and he ended up moving in about two months later than his planned move-in date.

I called the building inspections department in Coon Rapid to ask about this, and as it turns out, these inspections have been required in Coon Rapids for about the last three years.  Apparently, the city of Coon Rapids will turn off the water supply to any property that is known to be vacant; they do this to reduce the risk of property damage from burst or frozen water pipes.  That’s pretty standard procedure for just about any bank owned property, but the huge difference with Coon Rapids is the water restoration permit.

Before the city of Coon Rapids will turn the water back on to a property, they need to have a Water Restoration Permit application filed, along with a $75 inspection fee.  After this permit gets filed, they’ll inspect the property for safety.  If the house passes the inspection, they’ll turn the water on.  If the house doesn’t pass the inspection, repairs will need to be completed before the water can be turned back on.  Below is a list of the items that would prevent the water from being turned on – I copied this text exactly from their Water Restoration Permit form:

  • Furnace – Furnace must be operable & providing heat to dwelling.
  • Water heater – Must be correctly installed & operable.
  • Furnace or Water heater installed without a permit or inspection – *All plumbing & mechanical work must be permitted.
  • You may be required to hire a licensed contractor to inspect and pull permits for previously installed equipment per requirements of the Minnesota State Building Code.
  • Gas or Electric service – Service must be ‘turned on’ to property.
  • Wiring/exposed wiring – *Dwelling must not have any exposed wiring.
  • Plumbing – Dwelling must meet the ‘Minimum standards of habitation’& may not have any broken or damaged water pipes.
  • ‘Minimum standard’ is defined as a functioning kitchen sink, lavatory sink, water closet, shower or bathtub & proper back flow prevention.
  • Severe mold issues- A ‘Mold Remediation’ report may be required. (Please discuss plans for mold cleanup with Bldg Dept. staff)
  • Building must be weather tight – Dwelling must not have any door or window openings that are not covered.
  • Severe structural problems – As deemed by City of Coon Rapids Building Official.
  • Other items that could be deemed as a life safety concern.
  • Dwelling ‘Not habitable’ – Any circumstances deemed by the Building Official that property is unsuitable for habitation.

I asked the Coon Rapids building inspections department if there was any type of form that needs to be provided to or signed by a potential home buyer to alert them to these requirements.  They said that the water restoration permit has nothing to do with the sale of a property, so no – there are no methods in place to inform a potential home buyer of this requirement.  They leave it up to the real estate agent or home buyer to contact the city to ask about this stuff before buying a home in Coon Rapids.

The bottom line is that if you’re buying a home in Coon Rapids, this is something you need to be aware of.  I always recommend having the water turned on to a property before the home inspection, but this is especially important in Coon Rapids.  For more information about this requirement, click here – Coon Rapids water restoration information.

Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections – Email – Minnesota Home Inspections


No responses to “Buying a vacant property in Coon Rapids? Familiarize yourself with their “Water Restoration Permit” first.”

  1. Sharon Stephenson
    December 6, 2011, 8:58 am

    Thanks for the heads up! I didn’t know this either.

  2. Reuben
    December 6, 2011, 10:36 am

    How do you know if the plumbing/sinks/toilets work if the water is turned off?

  3. Reuben Saltzman
    December 6, 2011, 2:58 pm

    Sharon – thanks.
    Reuben – you don’t. That’s just it. Some buyers plan on doing major renovation, so it’s not a big deal if some of the fixtures don’t work… but they need to know that they might have to complete a lot of other work before they even get a chance to turn the water on.

  4. Bill
    December 7, 2011, 8:05 am

    Sounds like the city wants evidence that the house is habitable before they add the last piece that lets a person move into it. The list of items are significant issues and your friend (from your own statement) wanted to live in the problem house.

    I am sure that there are a lot of houses with problems like that which people plan on moving into but would never fix the problems. I suspect that your friend is more knowledgeable (at least they know one person that is) about what they are getting into than many low income people who can get a bad house cheap.
    Your friend wanted to live in a house that the city deemed not safe for habitation.

    It is good to know that they are doing their duty to show that a house is habitable (just like they would do on a new house) instead of letting bad homes slide by in unknown condition.

    Maybe the city should allow a person to pull a repair of uninhabitable house permit that would allow them to have water (would still need to have heat if it is over winter) that would be posted outside and specificaly NOT allow a person to live there until it is brought up to habitable standards.

    There was a fire in a townhome in my building a few years ago that left my townhome undamaged except that the water supply went through the destroyed unit. I was told that lack of water made it uninhabitable. I was willing to bring water in for use (including toilet and other uses) but that would not have been allowed. Since they would not allow the water to be turned on until the destroyed unit was complete, I was out of my home for 4 months. I had hoped that they would have allowed them to rebuild and close in the utility room to have heat on the exposed water pipes but again that was not allowed – complete unit or no water.

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