Unsafe Building Hearings
Unsafe Building Commission hearings are scheduled for the second Tuesday of each month at 10:30 a.m. in the Richmond Common Council Chambers, 3rd Floor of the Municipal Building, 50 North 5th Street, Richmond, Indiana.
UNSAFE BUILDING HEARINGS HELD IN ACCORDANCE WITH INDIANA
CODE 36-7-9 AND RICHMOND CITY CODE CHAPTER 98.
The Indiana Legislature has established procedures that allow municipalities to require property owners to repair or demolish abandoned properties that are considered unsafe blights in the community. These properties create unsafe and hazardous conditions due to vermin, insects, rodents, and other animals that create nests in the abandoned structures. These properties also become targets for arson, trespassing, dumping, and vandalizing. When properties are left to deteriorate and remain in a state of disrepair, the property values of surrounding homes are negatively affected.
From time to time, the Richmond Enforcement Authority, a division of the Richmond Department of Metropolitan Development, will review properties that meet the criteria set out in the Indiana Unsafe Building Law (see also Richmond City Code Chapter 98). Properties that have generated a great number of complaints due to non-compliance with the local exterior maintenance requirements, as well as properties that the City has maintained due to overgrown weeds and vegetation continually left unaddressed by the property owners, are included in that review to determine which properties overall are of greatest concern.
Once a property has been determined by the Enforcement Authority to be an unsafe blight on the Richmond Community, the Enforcement Authority will record and issue a pre-hearing order that directs the property owner(s) and other parties who may have a substantial interest in the property to either demolish the unsafe structures or bring the property into compliance with applicable building, exterior maintenance, and weed or rank vegetation codes. Properties that have been issued pre-hearing orders are scheduled for hearings with the Richmond’s Unsafe Building Commission. These hearings are open to the public.
In the event a property is affirmed by the Unsafe Building Commission at the hearing to be an unsafe blighted property, a Continuous Enforcement Order is issued and the property owner is given a specific amount of time to either repair or remove the unsafe structures. If the property owner(s) or other interested parties do not repair or remove the structure, the City Enforcement Authority is authorized by Indiana Code to proceed with the repair or removal of the unsafe structures. Indiana Code provides that the costs incurred to repair/remove the structure and administrative costs may be recouped by the City by placing a lien against the property.
Those who wish to appeal the final action issued at an Unsafe Building Hearing may file a verified complaint for judicial review with the Wayne Circuit or Superior Courts in accordance with Indiana Code 36-7-9-8. If you have any questions or wish to know more about your rights as a property owner whose property has been identified as an unsafe and blighted property, you should contact a private attorney familiar with the Indiana Unsafe Building Law.