Whenever a Building Official finds that any structure constitutes a hazard to the safety, health or welfare of the occupants or to the public because it lacks maintenance, or is in disrepair, unsanitary, vermin-infested or rodent-infested, or because it lacks sanitary facilities or equipment, or because it otherwise fails to comply with the minimum provisions of this Housing Code, but has not yet reached a state of complete disrepair so as to be condemned as a dangerous building as hereinbefore provided, he or she may declare such structure as unfit for human occupancy and order it to be vacated.
   If any structure, or any part thereof, is occupied by more occupants than permitted, or was erected or altered or is occupied contrary to law, the Building Official may cause such structure to be vacated. It shall be unlawful to again occupy such dwelling until it or its occupation, as the case may be, has been made to conform to the law. The owner shall be notified as stated herein.
   (a)   Posting of Notice. Any structure declared as unfit for human occupancy shall be posted with a placard by the Building Official. The placard shall include the following:
      (1)   The name of the City;
      (2)   The names of the authorized departments having jurisdiction; 
      (3)   The section of the chapter under which it is issued;
      (4)   An order that the structure, when vacated, must remain vacant until the provisions of the order are complied with and the order to vacate is withdrawn; 
      (5)   The date that the placard is posted; and
      (6)   A statement of the penalty for defacing or removing the placard.
   (b)   Form of Notice. Whenever the Building Official has declared a structure as unfit for human habitation, he or she shall give notice to the owner of such declaration and placarding of the structure as unfit for human occupancy. Such notice shall:
      (1)   Be in writing;
      (2)   Include a description of the real estate sufficient for identification;
      (3)   Include a statement of the reason or reasons why it is being issued;
      (4)   State the time to correct the conditions; and
      (5)   State the time occupants must vacate the structure.
   (c)   Service of Notice.  Service of notice to vacate shall be as follows:
      (1)   By delivery to the owner personally, with a signed receipt for the delivery of the same. If this notice is not successful, then:
      (2)   By certified or registered mail addressed to the owner at his or her last known address, with return receipt requested. If neither of the above is successful, then: 
      (3)   By posting, for twenty-four hours, a copy of the notice, in placard form, in a conspicuous place on the premises to be vacated.
   (d)   Defacing or Removing Placard.  No person shall deface or remove the placard from any structure which has been placarded as unfit for human habitation, except by authority, in writing, from the Building Official.
   (e)   Vacating of Unfit Buildings. Any structure which has been declared and  placarded as unfit for human occupancy by the Building Official shall be vacated within a reasonable time, not to exceed sixty days, or as required by the Building Official.  No owner or operator shall let any person, for human occupancy, into said structure, and no person shall occupy a structure which has been declared or placarded by the Building Official as unfit for human occupancy after the date set forth in the placard.
   (f)   Occupancy of Unfit Buildings.  No structure which has been declared or placarded as unfit for human occupancy shall again be used for human occupancy until written approval is secured from the Building Official. The Building Official shall remove such placard whenever the defect or defects upon which the declaration and placarding action were based have been eliminated.
   (g)   Report of Notice to Vacate. The Building Official shall furnish a copy of each notice to vacate a building to the Health Officer, the Fire Official and any other designated official of the City concerned therewith.
   (h)   Order to Demolish.  A dwelling or building which has been designated as unfit for human habitation and/or is damaged by wear and tear, deterioration, depreciation, fire, collapse or an act of God, to such an extent that the cost of repair and rehabilitation to place it in safe, sound and sanitary condition exceeds 150 percent of the State equalized valuation of the dwelling or building at the time when the repairs or rehabilitation are to be made, shall not be so repaired or rehabilitated, unless the dwelling or building is made to comply in all respects with the City code pertaining to new structures or conversions of old structures. In case such dwelling or building is not so repaired and/or rehabilitated within six months of the date on which it was designated as unfit for human habitation, it shall be ordered demolished and removed.
   (i)   Failure to Comply With Order. If the owner fails to comply with the order  to demolish, the Building Official shall notify the City Attorney, who shall  then take such action as may be necessary to effectuate the purpose of this chapter.
   (j)   Recovery of Expenses of Demolition.  The City shall be entitled to recover any costs incurred in connection with the removal of such building, or enforcement of the provisions of this Housing Code, and such costs shall be a lien against the premises and, upon resolution of the City Council, assessed and carried to the tax rolls, the same as a special assessment.
(Ord. 1996-26.  Passed 12-17-96.)