[HISTORY: Adopted by the Village Council of the Village of New Haven as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Article I Unsafe Buildings, Structures and Fences
Article II Abandoned and Vacant Residential Structures
[Adopted by Ord. No. 22]
[Amended 1-13-2015 by Ord. No. 333]
It shall be unlawful, after notice by the Village Council that a building, fence or structure is unsafe and liable to fall and injure persons or property, to fail to remove same within the time limited by the order of the Village Council, and any person so failing to comply with the order of the Village Council to tear down, remove or repair any unsafe building, fence or structure shall be punished upon conviction thereof by the penalties set forth in Chapter 59, Municipal Civil Infractions, of the Code of the Village of New Haven.
The Village Council shall, by notice in writing, notify the owner or occupant as to its requirements as to tearing down, removing or repairing any unsafe building, fence or structure, giving at least 10 days' notice to remedy the situation.
If any person shall neglect, after notice, to tear down, remove or repair any building, fence or structure deemed by the Village Council to be in a ruinous or unsafe condition, the Council may cause the same to be done by any officer of the Village, and any expense incurred by the Village may be charged upon the lot or premises and collected as a special assessment thereon or the Village may bring an action in debt or assumpsit against the owner or occupant of any such lot or premises for the recovery of such expense.
[Adopted 1-11-2012 by Ord. No. 313]
As used in this article, the following terms have the meaning set forth herein:
- ABANDONED STRUCTURE
- A residential structure is considered to be abandoned if it has not been legally occupied by a human continuously for 30 days or more or meets any of the following criteria:
- A. Provides a location for loitering, vagrancy, unauthorized entry or other criminal activity.
- B. Has been boarded or partially boarded restricting ingress and egress through windows and/or doors for at least 30 days.
- C. Has real estate taxes in arrears for a period of time exceeding 165 days.
- D. Has either water, sewer, electric or gas or any of the foregoing disconnected or not in use.
- E. Has not been maintained in compliance with ordinances of the Village that relate to residential structures their occupancy or use.
- VACANT STRUCTURE
- Refers to a residential structure not legally occupied by a human for 30 days or more continuously.
Any lender under a note secured by a mortgage or any person, firm, or corporation holding a mortgage on a property who has filed a complaint for foreclosure by judicial action or is publishing a notice of foreclosure by advertisement, shall within five days of either filing the complaint or publishing the notice, inspect the property subject matter of the foreclosure proceedings. If the property is vacant or shows evidence of either being abandoned or vacant, the property shall forthwith be registered within 10 days pursuant to this article. The property shall thereafter be inspected at least once monthly until any rights of the lender or party holding a mortgage no longer exists in the subject property.
A lender and/or party holding a mortgage shall undertake all reasonable and necessary steps to continue utility service to the subject parcel in order to avoid sump pump failure, backup, broken pipes, or other damage to the subject property.
Owners and holders of any mortgage on abandoned and/or vacant structures, jointly and severally, shall be responsible for registering such properties compliant with this chapter. Registration requirements do not preclude the Village from taking action pursuant to any applicable federal or state law or ordinance of the Village, or to issue notices and orders as may apply under other ordinances of the Village. Fees shall be charged to defray the Village's cost of registering such properties, as shall be determined and established periodically by resolution of the Village Council.
For each abandoned and/or vacant structure, as defined in this article, an owner of such property and any person, firm, or corporation holding a mortgage on a property as disclosed as a matter of record shall register with the Village providing the following information:
The legal name and date of birth of each owner, or mortgage holder. If ownership or the entity holding a mortgage is by means of a corporation, limited liability company partnership, or other nonnatural means, the resident agent. The resident agent, managing partner, general partners and/or shareholders names and dates of birth shall be provided.
Address of persons referred to in Subsection A(1).
Telephone number and address of an agent or representative authorized by the owner, and/or party holding a mortgage to handle affairs for the property and to act as the person for notification. Such agent or representative must be capable of traveling to the property within a one-hour driving radius of the Village.
Proof of identification of owners by way of copies of drivers' licenses, copies of Articles of Incorporation, copartnership agreements or other agreements verifying the existence of such entity.
A statement which shall set forth the estimated length of time the property is expected to remain unused, reason for nonuse and description for all plans for restoration, repair, reuse, maintenance, continuous of utility operation.
Such additional information as may be required and set forth and any registration form approved by the Village President.
In order to defray the Village's costs of monitoring abandoned and/or vacant residential structures, the Village shall charge a monthly fee in an amount as established from time to time by resolution of the Village Council. No fee shall be imposed until 60 days following transmittal by first class mail to the last known owner of record based on assessing records of a notice to register pursuant to this article.
Upon a notice to secure a residential structure being sent by first class mail to any person or entity appearing as an owner of record based on assessing records, such residential premises shall be secured within 72 hours. The Village may but is not required to secure the property, including the removal of debris, cutting of vegetation, boarding the property in whole or in part, or taking other measures to secure the property. All such costs shall be assessable against any owner of the property. Both the owner and any holder of a mortgage shall be responsible at a minimum monthly of any abandoned and/or vacant property, to determine whether the property is compliant with the requirements of this article.
If any owner or mortgage holder fails to secure the property, the Village may seek an administrative search warrant in order to permit entry upon the property in order to secure the property. All administrative expenses associated with the issuance of the search warrant shall be recoverable and assessed against any owner and/or mortgage holder of the property jointly and severally.
Each owner and/or mortgage holder of any abandoned or vacant residential structure shall be jointly and severally responsible for maintaining the structure and property in conformity with applicable law including ordinances of the Village. This includes but is not limited to exterior maintenance, vegetation cutting and maintenance, landscaping, snow removal and maintenance and repairs to the structure itself.
The property shall be kept free of weeds, dry brush, dead vegetation, trash, junk, debris, building materials and any accumulation of newspapers, circulars, flyers, notices, except those required by federal, state, or local law, discarded personal items, including but not limited to furniture, clothing, large and small appliances, printed material or any other items that give the appearance that the property is abandoned. The property shall be maintained free of graffiti, tagging, or similar markings by removal or painting over with an exterior grade paint matching the color of the exterior of the structure. Visible front and side yards shall be landscaped and maintained to the neighborhood standard at the time registration was required. Landscaping includes but is not limited to trimming grass, ground cover, bushes, shrubs, hedges or similar plantings, maintaining decorative rock or bark and mulching. Maintenance includes but is not limited to regular watering, irrigation, cutting, pruning and removal of all trimmings. Pools and spas shall be kept in working order so the water remains clear and free of pollutants and debris or drained and kept dry. Each of these requirements shall be cumulative and in addition to any and all other requirements otherwise required of the ordinances of the Village or other laws and codes.
Upon a notice to register or notice to secure being sent to any owner, such abandoned and/or vacant structure shall not be reoccupied until inspected and found to be in full compliance with the Code of the Village. All violations shall be corrected in accordance with the State Construction Code and/or any other applicable codes, including the International Property Maintenance Code, if applicable. All mechanical, electrical, plumbing and structural systems shall be certified by a licensed contractor as being in good repair. A right to occupy shall not be permitted until all outstanding cost assessments or fees owed to the Village have been paid in full.
Owners of property and holders of mortgages shall be jointly and severally liable for avoiding and/or correcting any interruption in utilities which will have the result of causing or contributing damage to the premises, including maintaining continuity of electrical power so that sump pumps will operate, maintaining heat so as to avoid broken pipes and furnishing other utilities as necessary to secure and maintain the premises.
Any and all fees or costs incur relating to this article, including but not limited to registration fees and costs incurred associated with enforcement activity, shall be fully reimbursable to the Village by the owners of the property and mortgage holders jointly and severally and shall be considered a lien upon the subject property subject to enforcement in the same manner as ad valorem real property taxes. Such method of enforcement shall be a cumulative remedy. Further examples of activities for which fees and costs shall be payable include costs for preparation of correspondence relating to this article, costs for inspection, costs for vehicle removal, costs for entry of the subject property, costs for preparation and securing of an administrative search warrant, costs for preparation of proceeding with enforcement pursuant to this article.
Any person aggrieved by any requirement of this article may appeal to the Village President of the Village, furnishing a written application filed within 20 days of the decision, notice, order or action from which an appeal is taken. Such appeal shall be based on a claim that the true intent of this article or rules adopted thereunder have been incorrectly interpreted or that the provisions of this article do not fully apply or that the requirements of this article are adequately satisfied by other means, or that the strict application of any requirement of this article would cause undue hardship.
Any violations of this article shall be deemed to be a civil infraction punishable as a civil infraction in accordance with state law and this Code. Institution of civil infraction proceedings shall not restrict the Village from pursuing further remedies.