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Question DetailsAsked on 9/7/2017

How to report a un fit home

House is about to fall fire Hazzard floor with holes mice chewing on electric wires and their health is bad

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I am assuming you mean the health of the residents is bad, not that of the mice ?

For welfare checks on residents, generally the Health Department handles that, investigating complaints of unsafe health conditions or public health nuisances (the latter generally gets more attention, like mice/rat infestations in an apartment building) or rats all over the junk in the yard. Or Police if you are truly concerned about the immediate health of the person, like the classic wall-to-wall hoarder situation with dozens of animals' waste in the house and such, you can ask for a welfare check - though generally calls by neighbors they will not respond to unless you say you believe the person is in imminent danger - like you have not seen them for days and usually do.

For living conditions code violations larger cities and high population counties sometimes have a Housing Compliance or such title department which investigates complaints against landlords of unsanitary/unsafe living conditions. That type of complaint typically has to be filed by a resident of the building who is claiming the landlord is not maintaining the place as required by law. How much responsibility lies with landlord and with tenants depends on the apartment/condo/house rental/lease/purchase agreement setup, but ulitimately the property owner is responsible in most cases to not allow grossly unsanitary or unsafe conditions, or to throw out tenants who significantly violate safety / housing standard codes.

For structural unsafe issues, the Building Safety Officer (usually in Building Department but occasionally Fire Department) has responsibility for that, and can condemn a building which is unsafe till it is brought up to code.

For Fire safety code issues, the Fire Department - usually the Fire Marshall's Office - handles those complaints - unsafe or no legal egress, no fire doors, no fire alarms (or non-operational), no sprinklers if required, lack of required fire hoses or extinguishers, ,etc are their baliwick.

Sometimes they have integrated reporting where major deficiencies noticed by one inspector gets reported to the other applicable agencies - in others (Chicago and Baltimore and DC when I worked projects there come to mind) the left hand did not know what the right hand was doing - generally better in smaller towns and cities.

If uncertain where to start, decide first if sanitary conditions and resident health is the issue (in which Health Department is starting point) or building condition is the primary issue (in which case Building Safety would be normal starting point). If you can't find that type of department for your city or county call the mayor's or chief executive's office for direction on who to call.

Note if this is an apartment/multi-unit building with a building owner or manager getting action taken is a lot easier than if it is a privately owned home, in which case unless it is rented/leased and the tenant is the person calling in the complaint a third-party complaint is unlikely to generate action.

Generally about the only viable complaint action a third-party like a neighbor can take is either a welfare check on the occupants by Health Department (or police if felt to be a life and health emergency), saying you believe they are in danger or are impaired and can't take care of their own living conditions. Or a Public Health nuisance complaint saying the property is a health risk to the neighborhood (like if infested with rodents).

Otherwise, ignoring the conditions in the house which are not evident from a visual inspection from the street or your property, if your primary complaint (assuming here you are a neighbor) is primarily appearance and possible fire hazard, then a complaint to the Code Enforcement Officer about trash and debris laying around the yard and unmaintained property is commonly your only recourse, takes a lot of warnings typically before any action is taken, and the enforcement ranges from pretty strict in some planned communities to zilch in some cities which are basically border-to-border ghettos.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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