Top Ten Property Code ViolationsWednesday, November 10th, 2010
Property code violations, if left unresolved, can deplete the value of your real estate assets. Penalties incurred can add up over time, and small items can become big fines. Here are the top ten code violations to watch out for.
- High grass and weeds.
Heights exceeding 8-10 inches are usually considered excessive. Property owners are usually given only a few days to abate before the municipality will either levy fines or impose administrative penalties.
This is a broad category, ranging from abandoned vehicles to leaving trash receptacles at the curb. Each municipality varies in its definition of a nuisance and the desired abatement procedures.
Promptly removing graffiti reduces the risk of additional theft or damage to a property.
- Open or vacant structure.
Property owners should keep the doors and windows of a vacant structure securely closed to prevent unauthorized entry.
- Junk, trash, and debris.
Appliances, tires, auto parts, inoperable vehicles, building materials, tree trimmings, and fallen limbs are a few examples of items that are prohibited from being left in the yard. In some cases, specific disposal procedures must be followed.
- Minimum housing standards.
These standards cover the overall condition and usability of the property. Violations can occur whenever any part of the structure is not maintained in weather-tight, sound condition or in good repair.
- Substandard structure.
Detached garages, sheds, and decks that are in disrepair or are structurally unsound may require extensive repairs or removal altogether. The services of structural engineers or licensed contractors may be required by local building code. Permits may also be required prior to repair or removal.
- Unmaintained or unsecured swimming pools.
Risk of injury or death from unauthorized access occurs whenever pools are not properly secured. Most building standards have specific requirements for fencing and self-locking gates. Stagnant water contributes to mosquito infestation.
- Dead trees and landscaping.
Removing dead trees reduces the risk of injury and property damage. Many municipalities have specific ordinances that govern irrigation and landscape maintenance.
- Vacant property registration.
Many municipalities faced with the burden of vacant and abandoned properties have enacted legislation that requires property owners to notify the municipality whenever their property becomes vacant. The goal is to track vacant properties and to compel the property owners to maintain the property.