§ 160.87  PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION; NOTICE; MINIMUM HOUSING HEARING.
   (A)   Reporting a code violation. A code violation can be reported to a inspector through a petition, by a public authority, by any citizen, or discovery of a violation by the inspector on patrol of a suspected dwelling or dwelling unit that may be unfit for human habitation, contain violations of any code in this chapter. When reported, an investigation will be conducted within 48 hours, notwithstanding a public safety hazard, which will be investigated immediately.
   (B)   Preliminary investigation. The inspector will conduct a detailed investigation and document their findings. Attempt to make a face-to-face contact with the owner of record with the Rowan County Register of Deeds, heirs, parties of interest, or tenant and request to inspect the property. If access to the property is denied, seek an Administrative Inspection Warrant to investigate any possible code violations as prescribed herein.
   (C)   Filing complaint with the owner of record. Whenever it appears to the inspector, upon inspection, that any dwelling or dwelling unit contains violations of the minimum housing standards in this chapter, unfit for human habitation, or unsafe to the general public, he shall issue and cause to be served upon the owner of record, heirs, parties of interest, and tenants in such dwelling or dwelling unit, a complaint stating the sections violated and a notice of hearing that will be held before the land management director.
   (D)   Service of process.
      (1)   Complaints or orders issued by a public officer pursuant to an ordinance adopted under this chapter shall be served upon persons either personally or by registered or certified mail. When service is made by registered or certified mail, a copy of the complaint or order may also be sent by regular mail. Service shall be deemed sufficient if the registered or certified mail is unclaimed or refused, but the regular mail is not returned by the post office within ten days after the mailing. If regular mail is used, a notice of the pending proceedings shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the premises affected.
      (2)   Service by publication. If the identities of any owners or the whereabouts of persons are unknown and cannot be ascertained by the public officer in the exercise of reasonable diligence, or, if the owners are known but have refused to accept service by registered or certified mail, and the public officer makes an affidavit to that effect, then the serving of the complaint or order upon the owners or other persons may be made by publication in a newspaper having general circulation in the city at least once no later than the time at which personal service would be required under the provisions of this chapter. When service is made by publication, a notice of the pending proceedings shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the premises thereby affected.
   (E)   Minimum housing hearing. The minimum housing hearing shall occur not less than ten nor more than 30 says after serving a complaint. The owner or any party of interest shall have the right to file an answer to the complaint and to appear in person, or otherwise, and give testimony at the place and time fixed in the complaint. Notice of such hearing shall also be given to at least one of the persons which reported the violation to code enforcement relating to such dwelling. Any person desiring to do so may attend such hearing and give evidence relevant to the matter being heard. The rules of evidence prevailing in courts of law or equity shall not be controlling in hearings before the inspector.
(Ord. 16-12, passed 11-15-16)