Single Family and Duplex Rental Inspection Criteria

The North St. Paul Fire Department inspects all  single family and duplex rental housing units in the city every two years. All rental units must:

  • Be licensed annually
  • Provide information on their solid waste and recycling hauler
  • Meet the requirements for fire protection, smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms and key boxes
  • Abide by the residential heating standards
  • Provide back flow preventer test reports if the building is heated by a boiler

All multi-family rental housing licenses must meet the following:

Smoke Detectors

City Code requires smoke detectors be provided on each floor of a dwelling, in the corridor giving access to bedrooms and in bedrooms. Detectors in new construction must receive their power from the building wiring and have a battery backup in the event power is lost. In remodeling where connection to the building wiring is difficult to achieve, battery operated detectors may be used.

An important feature of the requirement for detectors being connected into the building's electrical wiring is that there must be no disconnecting means other than the primary over current protection. This means detectors must be wired directly into the building's wiring system and that no switches, plugs or mechanical disconnects are permitted between the main fuse box and the detector.

The code also requires that smoke detectors be located in each sleeping room in newly constructed buildings and centrally located on the ceiling or wall of the corridor or area giving access to sleeping rooms.

Where sleeping rooms are on an upper floor, the code requires the detector to be placed on the ceiling in close proximity to the stairway. This requirement is based on the face that any fire initiating on the lower floors will send products of combustion up the stairway. The position above the stairway will give the earliest warning to the sleeping occupants in rooms on the upper floor.

In buildings with basements, a detector is also required in the basement. The basement detectors should be located near the base of the stairwell.

All smoke detectors, regardless of the location in the dwelling, must be audible in the sleeping areas. In a large home this can be difficult to accomplish. In this case, detectors are usually wired together so if one detects a fire, they all sound the alarm.

Follow the manufacturer's installation instructions.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas often formed in the process of incomplete combustion of organic substances, including fuels. It is dangerous because it interferes with normal oxygen uptake for humans and other living organisms needing oxygen to live. CO is a gas that can build up to dangerous concentrations indoors when fuel-burning devices are not properly vented, operated, or maintained. Because it has not odor, color or taste, CO cannot be detected by our senses. Fortunately, simple measures can be taken to prevent CO problems including installation of a CO alarm to detect potentially deadly conditions.

Minnesota State Law requires home have at least one operational CO alarm within 10 feet of every room legally used for sleeping. (See Minnesota Statute, 299F.50) Follow the manufacturer's instructions for placement of your CO alarm and also note the suggested replacement (typically 5-7 years).

General Location Requirements

  • Within 10 feet of each room lawfully used for sleeping purposes. Installed per manufacturer's instructions

Listing or Certification of Detectors

  • All CO alarms shall be certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory to conform to the latest Underwriters Laboratory (UL) Standards (also known as UL2034 Standards).


  • CO alarms must either be hardwired into the electrical wiring, directly plugged into an electrical outlet without a switch, or battery powered.

Battery Removal and Tampering Prohibited

  • No person shall remove batteries from, or in any way render inoperable, a required carbon monoxide alarm.

Escape Windows in Residential Occupancies  

Visit Escape Windows for informative diagrams on Escape Window requirements.

View the egress/escape window diagrams here

Backflow Preventer Testing Requirements

Backflow Preventers are devices that protect the water supply from contamination from substances that, if ingested, could be harmful to human health.

Minnesota State Plumbing Code outlines required backflow protection. Refer to the 2015 Minnesota Plumbing Code Parts 603.5.23 through 603.5.23.4. Review the Minnesota Plumbing Code Backflow Fact Sheet here.

These devises are required to be tested and tagged annually. Written records of testing and maintenance must be maintained and submitted to the appropriate administrative authority, in this case the City of North St. Paul.

If you have Backflow Prevention Devices, please submit copies of the required annual testing/service reports. If you do not have the records, contact the Company you had perform your testing and request the copies from them. If you are not current with the testing, the from on the reverse side must be completed by an inspector certified to perform the Backflow tests.

All property owners, residential or commercial, are held liable by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 1974 Safe Drinking Water Act for any injury resulting from a backflow incident under their control.

You must upload a current backflow preventer test report as part of this application

Find the Backflow Preventer Application and other rental housing resources here.