Open - Vacant - Abandoned Structure Watch

The Social and Economic Problem

Sometimes referred to as "neighborhood killers", vacant/abandoned buildings are magnets for social problems, attracting drug dealers, youth gangs, the homeless as well graffiti and trash.  Vacant/abandoned buildings drive down property values and push away new businesses, jobs and residents.  In this type of environment, arson seems to thrive.  Fires in empty buildings often grow to a dangerous proportions before discovery because there is usually no responsible person present to report the problem.  As a result, these buildings pose a greater risk than normal to adjoining property.

What Can Owners Do!

Vacant houses are often sites of illegal activities.  The cost of boarding up a house or structure prior to a problem occurring may actually save you money!  People, sometimes children and teens, go into vacant houses and kick holes in walls, graffiti, tear off fixtures and break windows, among other things.  This will cost you money to repair and you may be liable if anyone is injured while on your property.

<>Vacant houses also are potential fire hazards.  It is especially true in the winter, when vagrants will enter an unsecured house and build a fire to keep warm.  Vacant houses are sometimes also used as drug houses and sites where prostitution occurs.  Boarding up your vacant structures will help prevent these types of activities from occurring in them.

What The City Can Do!

Vacant structures discovered in dilapidated, deteriorated, or unsafe condition are a major concern.  The City oversees a program to demolish structures determined to be beyond repair.  If a structure is determined to be in a deteriorated and unsafe condition and if it is judged to be unreasonable to repair such a structure, the owner may be ordered to demolish or remove the structure at his/her own expense.

In cases where the owner fails to repair or remove the structure or where the department fails to locate the owner of such a structure after a diligent search, the City is empowered to cause the structure to be demolished.  The costs of demolishing vacant structures are placed as liens against such properties and attempts are made to recover such costs.

In cases where the Department of Inspections, Permits and Licenses determines that immediate demolition is required to prevent imminent hazards, the City may take immediate measures to demolish such structures.

What You Can Do!

To notify the City about Open Vacant/Abandoned Structures in your neighborhood contact MetroCall:

Land Line: 311

Cell Phone: 574-5000

For questions about fire safety contact one of our
Fire Prevention Inspectors at 574-3731