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(A) On information or complaint, the Housing Inspector shall investigate complaints that a property or other structure in the city is dangerous, unsafe, unsecure or structurally defective so as to pose a danger to the safety of the inhabitants, visitors, the public, or juvenile trespassers. In performance of this function, the Housing Inspector shall acquire such expertise as the Housing Inspector may deem necessary, including, but not limited to, engineers, architects, property contractors, and/or fire inspectors. The Housing Inspector may utilize funds from the administrative appropriations for the Mayor’s office for this purpose. The Fire Chief, or other fire official, and the Law Director or any deputy thereof, shall provide advice at the Housing Inspector’s request.
(B) If the Housing Inspector finds from a preliminary investigation that any property or other structure is likely to pose a threat to the safety of persons in or around the property or structure, the Housing Inspector shall send written notice of such finding to the owners, the tenants, the lien holders, any person to whom tax notices are mailed by the County Treasurer, or any other person the Law Director discovers to have any interest in the premises upon a review of county records. The notice shall contain the nature of the defect which renders the property or structure to be unsecure, unsound, or structurally defective. In addition thereto the notice shall also contain the remedy sought whether that be repair or removal of the property or structure. The written notice shall be by certified U.S. mail or by personal service. If service is returned incomplete because of refusal or being unclaimed, ordinary U.S. mail shall be sufficient notice with proof of mailing. If service cannot be completed otherwise, notice may be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the county, and shall be complete upon publication once.
(C) Any interested person may file written objections with the Housing Inspector’s finding that a property or structure is unsecure, unsafe, or structurally defective within 30 days of receipt or of publication of the finding. All objections must be in writing. An objection is considered to be filed upon receipt in the office of the Housing Inspector by certified mail or personal service. If no objections are filed with the Housing Inspector within 30 days, the Housing Inspector may do any or all of the following:
(1) Enter the premises with the assistance of the Police Department and make a closer inspection of the premises;
(2) Abate any serious nuisance posing an immediate threat to public safety;
(3) Ban entry into the property and post notices of the same on the property, under penalty of arrest for trespassing;
(4) Solicit bids for the repair of the property and removal of any debris or dangerous parts;
(5) Solicit bids for the demolition of the property and removal of the debris; and
(6) Summon interested parties to a hearing before the Housing Inspector to acquire further facts.
(D) If objections are timely filed, the Housing Inspector shall summon all interested parties to a hearing before the Property, Maintenance and Restoration Committee to present witnesses and evidence concerning the notice and finding. All testimony shall be under oath or affirmation and the Housing Inspector shall make a complete record of the evidence and the Property, Maintenance and Restoration Committee findings with respect thereto. If a compromise is reached with the interested parties, the Housing Inspector shall reduce the compromise to writing and obtain the signature of all participating parties. This compromise agreement shall have the force and effect of a consent decree and may be enforced in any court of general jurisdiction. If the Property, Maintenance and Restoration Committee finds no basis for the original complaint or finding, the Housing Inspector shall take no action. If the Property, Maintenance and Restoration Committee finds a reasonable basis for the complaint, the Property, Maintenance and Restoration Committee shall do one the following:
(1) Immediately order the Housing Inspector to abate the nuisance by obtaining bids for either the destruction and removal of the unsecure, unsafe, or structurally defective property or structure and proceed with demolition without undue delay, or by obtaining bids for the sealing of the unsecure, unsafe or structurally defective property or structure to prevent unauthorized entry and proceed to seal the property until further order of the Property, Maintenance and Restoration Committee, or to obtain bids for the repair of the unsecure, unsafe, or structurally defective property in order to abate the immediate nuisance and make the property minimally safe; or
(2) Submit findings and conclusions to the City Council for a determination as to whether to demolish the unsecure, unsafe or structurally defective property or structure by resolution of Council, or to repair the unsecure, unsafe or structurally defective property in order to make the property minimally safe, or to seal the unsafe, unsecure, or structurally defective property to prevent unauthorized entry thereto.
(E) If any city funds are utilized to demolish, seal, or repair an unsecure, unsafe, or structurally defective properties or structures, the same shall be certified to the County Auditor for inclusion on the tax duplicate of the property.
(1982 Code, § 150.05) (Ord. 2000-19, passed 2-5-2001; Ord. 2010-7, passed 6-24-2010) Penalty, see § 150.99
Dilapidated, decayed, or filthy buildings, see § 93.04