What is “Property Maintenance”?
The Property Maintenance Code establishes minimum standards for the overall maintenance of owner occupied and rental housing, vacant and abandoned buildings, commercial properties and undeveloped parcels in your municipality. The standards are designed to maintain a healthy, safe, and clean environment as well as preserve the quality of life and property values that your residents and businesses enjoy in your community.
Most municipalities adopt the International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC). Some also add provisions specific to local conditions or situations, such as prohibited exterior furniture or grass heights. The IPMC is a maintenance document intended to establish minimum maintenance standards for basic equipment, light, ventilation, heating, sanitation, and fire safety.
When does the Property Maintenance Code get enforced?
The property maintenance inspection and enforcement process can be initiated in one of several ways. An inspection can be conducted in response to a complaint by an individual, as a result of an observation of your municipality’s Council members or Supervisors, observations during a police or fire call, or as a consequence of an action, such as filing for a rental housing license or other permit. A Code Enforcement officer responds to complaints according to the impact of the violation on the community. Situations that appear to pose a serious risk to health and safety are given top priority; others are pursued in the order in which they are received.
For all types of code complaints, the first step in the follow-up procedure is personal contact by a Code Enforcement Officer to see if a code violation exists and to request compliance. If the individual responsible for the situation is not available or appears unwilling to voluntarily correct the code violation in a timely manner, a notice of violation will be issued and the situation monitored until the violation is abated. Your municipality may also take court action if the situation poses a significant risk to the community or if the individual has ignored previous notices/citations.
Some municipalities request than an officer patrols the area for a set number of hours each month, this allows the municipality to correct small issues quickly and is recommended in more heavily populated areas. Most municipalities allow the code officer to respond to resident’s complaints and concerns as needed. However, some municipalities, to keep costs down and prevent nuisance calls, require all complaints to be first directed to a supervisor or council member, who then contacts the code office if they feel it is warranted.
What does this cost my municipality?
Our fee is currently set at $66.00 per hour (as of 1/1/2021), billed to the municipality on a monthly basis. Municipalities recover these fees in various ways; most bill the property owner when a case has been resolved and others may add the fees to the annual property tax bill, or in the case of significant fees, place a lien on the property (such as those incurred for the condemnation and demolition of a vacant structure).