All You Need To Know About Condemned Houses

A condemned house is a property that has been declared inhabitable either by the government or other related building authority of that particular location. A house is declared condemned due to the following reasons including:

  • Unsafe housing code violations 
  • Vacation of a house for a long period; usually 60 days and above
  • Discontinuation of utilities
  • Dilapidation
  • Hazards noticed by inspectors.

Code requirement for houses

Any house that does not have the following features working perfectly can be declared condemned by the government:

  • Hot water
  • Plumbing
  • Good ventilation
  • Lighting and electrical works
  • Heat and cooling system

Apart from all of these, the building owner must also keep the structure free of dirt and pests. This will help to keep the structure in good shape. 

Condemned houses due to the power of eminent domains

This refers to houses that are built in locations that are designated for public use. In this case, the house is located in places the government or local authorities intend to use to build airports, public facilities, highways, or other public-related projects. 

The government can exercise the power of eminent domain and request the demolition of such houses. In exchange, the house owner will receive compensation that is equivalent to the value of the house. This compensation is known as a pro-tanto award.

As a homeowner, if this compensation is not satisfactory enough, you can reject it and then go ahead to make your offer, while involving the legal authorities in the process. This can help you get monetary value for your property, and you can use it to build other structures in another location.

What happens to a condemned house?

When a house is declared condemned, a written notice is given to the occupants to vacate the property within a specific period. A sign can also be attached to the house, indicating that the house is now condemned and no longer to be inhabited by anyone. 

Once the occupants vacate the property, the authorities can winterize the property, disconnect the gas and electrical powers, and drain the plumbing features. The government can also go-ahead to do a complete demolition of the property.

What to do to a condemned house

A condemned house is most times due to several housing violations. In this case, the inspector will declare the house condemned if the violations are getting too many, and the house is now unsafe. As the homeowner, you can still correct this situation, especially if you do not have enough money to erect another property or relocate.

You can negotiate with the government and opt for repair or rehabilitation of the house instead. You will be given a certain period to get this done. It is best you fix the major damages first, such as the ones listed above before handling the minor repairs. 

Once this is done, the government will order another inspection process to check if it is code compliant. Once this has been verified, the condemnation will be lifted, and the occupant can keep living in the property or sell it instead.


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