Skip to code content (skip section selection)
(A) If a cited violation is not corrected within the designated time, and the Building Commissioner finds that the building is unsafe within the meaning of the ordinance, the Building Commissioner may issue an order requiring any of the following:
(1) Vacating of an unsafe building; refer to I.C. 36-7-9 (unsafe structure);
(2) Sealing an unsafe building against intrusion by unauthorized persons;
(3) Extermination of vermin in and about the unsafe premises;
(4) Removal of trash, debris or fire hazardous material, or a public health hazard in and about the unsafe premises;
(5) Repair or rehabilitation of an unsafe building to bring it into compliance with standards for building condition or maintenance required for human habitation, occupancy or use prescribed by a statute or this section.;
(6) Demolition and removal of part of an unsafe building;
(7) Demolition and removal of an unsafe building if:
(a) The general condition of the building warrants removal; or
(b) The building continues to require reinspection and additional abatement action after an initial abatement action was taken pursuant to notice and an order.
(8) Requiring, for an unsafe building that will be sealed for a period of more than 90 days:
(a) Sealing against intrusion by unauthorized persons and the effects of weather;
(b) Exterior improvements to make the building compatible in appearance with other buildings in the area; and
(c) Continuing maintenance and upkeep of the building and premises.
(B) The order supersedes any permit relating to the building or land use, whether that permit is obtained before or after the order is issued.
(C) The order issued pursuant to division (A) shall contain the following:
(1) The name of the person to whom the order is issued;
(2) The legal description or address of the unsafe premises that are the subject of the order;
(3) The action that the order requires;
(4) The period in which the action is required to be accomplished, measured from the time when the notice of the order is given;
(5) If a hearing is required, a statement indicating the exact time and place of the hearing, and stating that the person to whom the order was issued is entitled to appear at that hearing with or without counsel, to present evidence, to cross-examine opposing witnesses, and to present arguments;
(6) If a hearing is not required, a statement that an order under division (A)(2), (3), (4) or (5) becomes final ten days after notice is given, unless a hearing is requested in writing by a person holding a fee interest, a life estate interest or an equitable interest of a contract purchase in an unsafe premise, and the request is delivered to the Building Department before the end of the ten-day period;
(7) A statement briefly indicating what action can be taken by the Building Commissioner if the order is not complied with;
(8) A statement indicating the obligation created by the ordinance relating to the notification of subsequent interest holders and the Building Commissioner; and
(9) The name, address and telephone number of the Building Commissioner.
(D) The order must allow a sufficient time, of at least ten days from the time when the notice of the order is given, to accomplish the required action. If the order allows more than 30 days to accomplish the action, the order may require that a substantial beginning be made in accomplishing the action within 30 days.
(E) A hearing before the Board of Public Works and Safety must be held relative to each order of the Building Department, except for an order issued under division (A)(2), (3), (4) or (5). A hearing shall be conducted before the Board of Public Works and Safety for all other orders of the Building Commissioner under this section.
(F) The hearing shall be held on a business day no earlier than ten days after notice of the order is given.
(1) The Board of Public Works and Safety shall grant a continuance of the scheduled hearing, if requested in writing by a person holding a substantial property interest in the affected real estate, and if the request is received not later than five days after the notice is given. The continuance shall be for a period of not more than 14 days past the original date of the hearing.
(2) If, at a hearing, a person to whom an order has been issued requests an additional period to accomplish action required by the order and shows good cause for this request to be granted, the Board of Public Works and Safety may grant the request. However, as a condition for allowing the additional period, the Board of Public Works and Safety may require that the person post a performance bond to be forfeited if the action required by the order is not completed within the additional period.
(G) Notice to the owner and all other holders of a substantial property interest shall be deemed sufficient if the notice is given as follows.
(1) Notice of orders, notice of continued hearings without a specified date, notice of a statement that public bids are to be let, and notice of claims for payment must be given by:
(a) Sending a copy of the order or statement by registered or certified mail to the residence or place of business or employment of the person to be notified, with return receipt requested; or
(b) Delivering a copy of the order or statement personally to the person to be notified; or
(c) Leaving a copy of the order or statement at the dwelling or usual place of abode of the person to be notified, and sending by first class mail a copy of the order or statement to the last known address of the person to be notified; or
(d) Sending a copy of the order or statement by first class mail to the last known address of the person to be notified.
If a notice described in division (G)(2) is returned undelivered, a copy of the order or statement must be given in accordance with division (G)(1)(b) or (c) or (d).
(2) If service is not obtained by a means described in division (G)(1), and the hearing authority concludes that a reasonable effort has been made to obtain service, service may be made by publishing a notice of the order or statement in accordance with I.C. 5-3-1 in the county where the unsafe premises are located. However, publication may be made on consecutive days. If service of an order is made by publication, the publication must include the information required in division (C) of this section, and must also include a statement indicating generally what action is required by the order and that the exact terms of the order may be obtained from the enforcement authority. The hearing authority may make a determination about whether a reasonable effort has been made to obtain service by the means described in division (G)(1) on the basis of information provided by the department. The hearing authority is not required to make the determination at a hearing. The hearing authority must make the determination in writing.
(3) When service is made by any of the means described in this section, except by mailing or by publication, the person making service must make an affidavit stating that the person has made the service, the manner in which service was made, to whom the order or statement was issued, the nature of the order or statement, and the date of service. The affidavit must be placed on file with the enforcement authority.
(4) The date when notice of the order or statement is considered given is as follows.
(a) If the order or statement is delivered personally or left at the dwelling or usual place of abode, notice is considered given on the day when the order or statement is delivered to the person or left at the person’s dwelling or usual place of abode.
(b) If the order or statement is mailed, notice is considered given on the date shown on the return receipt, or, if no date is shown, on the date when the return receipt is received by the enforcement authority.
(c) Notice by publication is considered given on the date of the second day that publication was made.
(5) A person with a property interest in an unsafe premise who does not:
(a) Record an instrument reflecting the interest in the recorder’s office of the county where the unsafe premises are located; or
(b) If an instrument reflecting the interest is not recorded, provide to the department (or, in the case or a consolidated city, the enforcement authority), in writing, the person’s name and address and the location of the unsafe premises; is considered to consent to reasonable action taken under this chapter for which notice would be required and relinquish a claim to a notice under this chapter.
(6) The department may, for the sake of administrative convenience, publish notice under division (G)(2) of this section at the same time notice is attempted under division (G)(1) of this section. If published notice is given as described in division (G)(2), the hearing authority shall subsequently make a determination about whether a reasonable effort has been made to obtain service by the means described in division (G)(1).
(H) After having given notice of the time and place of a public hearing by publication in accordance with I.C. 5-3-1, the Board of Public Works and Safety shall adopt a schedule setting forth the maximum amount of performance bonds applicable to the various types of ordered action. The Board of Public Works and Safety shall use this schedule to fix the amount of the performance bond required under division (F)(2) of this section.
(I) At the conclusion of any hearing before the Board of Public Works and Safety, the hearing authority may make findings and take action to affirm the Building Commissioner’s order, rescind the Building Commissioner’s order, or modify the Building Commissioner’s order. However, unless the person to whom the order was issued or counsel for the person to whom the order was issued is present at the hearing, the Board of Public Works and Safety may not modify the order so that it is more stringent than the Building Commissioner’s original order.
(J) The findings made and action taken by the Board of Public Works and Safety shall be in writing, and shall be available to the public upon request. However, neither the Building Commissioner nor the Board of Public Works and Safety is required to give any person notice of the findings and action, other than those persons having a substantial property interest.
(K) If the Building Commissioner finds it necessary to take emergency action concerning an unsafe premise in order to protect life, public safety or property, he or she may take that action without issuing an order or giving notice to any person having a substantial property interest. However, this emergency action must be limited to removing any immediate danger. The action shall be taken only when it is not feasible to give notice and hold hearings as provided by division (C) of this section. Any person to whom such emergency action is directed shall comply therewith, but shall be afforded a hearing before the Board of Public Works and Safety as soon as possible.
(L) The Board of Public Works and Safety may recover the costs incurred by taking emergency action, by filing a civil action in the Circuit or Superior Court of Grant County against persons who held a fee interest, life estate interest, or equitable interest of a contract purchaser in the unsafe premises at the time the Building Commissioner found it necessary to take the emergency action.
(M) Any person required to vacate an unsafe premise under the emergency action of this section may challenge the emergency action to vacate in the Circuit or Superior Courts of Grant County by challenging the Building Commissioner’s determination that there is an immediate danger to life or safety of any person. The Building Commissioner shall have the burden of proving that an emergency action is necessary to prevent immediate danger to the life and safety of any person occupying or using nearby property.
(N) If a cited violation is not corrected within the designated time period and the Building Commissioner finds that the building is unsafe pursuant to this chapter, the city may file a complaint with the Grant County Superior Courts or Grant County Circuit Court to assess any fine provided by this chapter, to seek an injunction as provided by state statute, or any sanction allowed by this chapter or state statute.
(O) If a cited violation is not corrected within the designated time period and the Building Commissioner does not find that the building is unsafe within the meaning of this chapter, the city may file a complaint with Grant County Superior Courts or the Grant County Circuit Court to assess any fine provided by this section.
(P) Any rental unit for which the Building Department has issued an order finding the building or premises to be unsafe shall be so designated and placarded by the inspection officer.
(Q) No rental unit placarded as unsafe shall again be used for human habitation until the written approval is secured from the Building Department, the Board of Public Works and Safety, or a court of law. The inspection officer shall remove the placard whenever the defect or defects upon which the finding that the building is unsafe have been eliminated.
(R) No person shall deface or remove any notification of the inspection officer that any rental unit has been declared unsafe for human habitation.
(S) The order of the Board of Public Works and Safety expires two years after the notice of the order
is given unless one or more of the following events occurs within that two-year period.
(1) A complaint requesting judicial review is filed by any party having a substantial property interest.
(2) A contract for action required by the order is let at public bid.
(3) A civil action concerning the property is filed either by the city or any person having a substantial property interest.
(Ord. 7-2018, passed 4-3-2018; Am. Ord. 14-2018, passed 8-7-2018; Am. Ord. 12-2019, passed 10-15-2019)