Property owners are required to make repairs necessary to eliminate conditions that make buildings dangerous, including fire damage, neglect, storm damage, and criminal acts. They may also demolish the structure to eliminate the danger.
Inspectors in the Dangerous Buildings and Demolitions program investigate all complaints regarding structures that potentially pose a threat to the public. There is an owner compliance rate of 70%. Of the remaining 30%, 9% are demolished by the City due to emergency conditions and 21% due to non-compliance from the owner. The program continually focuses on obtaining compliance with the City ordinance and gauges success on the number of successfully closed cases, rather than the number of demolitions performed.
Chapter 56 of the code of ordinances sets the guidelines by which the Dangerous Building Demolition Program must operate.
When a structure is found to no longer be economically feasible to repair or it is structurally unsound, a dangerous building case is opened. An official notice is prepared and mailed to all parties with a financial interest in the structure. The owner may appeal this notice to the Property Maintenance Appeals Board within 10 days of the issuance of the notice. After proper notification has been made and the time for appeals has elapsed, the City will continue to process the case. This will include but is not be limited to:
- Obtaining an asbestos and hazardous materials report
- Conducting inspections
- Communicating with the owner or his representative
- Obtaining bids for demolition
- Communicating with City staff or other entities
- Proceeding with demolition or closing the case due to owner compliance.
The program has the authority to immediately demolish any structure that is so structurally unsound that it could collaspe. The program receives notification from the Fire Department regarding fires that have occurred or are still in progress. Inspectors respond to these calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week. After an emergency condition has been identified, the inspector will proceed by contacting the property owner, wrecking contractors and utility services. One of the following steps will then be taken:
- The City will proceed with the demolition of the structure;
-- or --
- The owner will take the necessary steps to demolish the structure;
-- or --
- Other action may be taken to protect public safety.
Whenever the City demolishes a structure, a demolition lien is filed against the property. The amount of the lien will include demolition costs, cost of environmental cleanup and administrative fees. A tax bill will be sent to the owner to recover these costs.
For more information about the Dangerous Building Demolition Program, contact