Reasons to Condemn a House

Author: Touré Foster

Posted in: Demolition

Reasons to Condemn a House

Why condemn a house? Sometimes a house may be slated for demolition when private property is seized by a government for public use, such as widening a street or extending a highway. This is known as eminent domain.

Most often, a house would be condemned when a city or town’s building inspector determines that a space violates state or local building codes and/or the Department of Health declares it unfit for human habitation or use.

The Process to Condemn a House

In most towns and cities, the process involves citations and notices that order the original owner to arrange for repairs or for the demolition of the property. If repaired, the dwelling can then be reinspected and issued a new Certificate of Occupancy. If not repaired, the Department of Public Health will condemn the house.

Once the house has been condemned, the premises must be vacated and secured. Often local governments are hesitant to step in and use public funds to demolish private property. This is why it’s important for owners to take responsibility for a demolition whenever possible.

Reasons to Condemn a House

The reasons to condemn and/or demolish a house fall into three categories:

Obvious Signs of Damage

Reasons to Condemn a House, Demolition and Hazardous Materials
This house gutted by a fire needed a complete demolition.

Trauma caused by a fire or an extreme weather event, like a hurricane or snow storm, can often lead to a house being condemned if its structural integrity has been compromised. Likewise, severe flooding can make repair or proper cleaning impossible and thus warrant a demolition.

Bad Construction

It’s rare to condemn new buildings.  Often old buildings that were improperly constructed do not stand the test of time. In some cases, a building may have materials that have since been banned. In others, it may become apparent that the original construction team did not use the proper materials. This could have compromised structurally important parts of the house, like the foundation, pylons, support beams, or rafters.

Health Hazards

Crowded or old buildings are particularly prone to contamination or various infestations. This could create a serious enough health hazard for a public health official to condemn a house. For example:

  • Black mold warrants condemnation because it causes respiratory and other health problems.
  • Most parasitic infestations can be corrected, but a long-term rodent or termite infestation might not, and require that the building be demolished.
  • Sites where industrial toxins are still present or if illegal drugs were produced in the house, the chemical threat may still endanger the health and safety of its occupants.
  • Hygiene problems can also arise from an individual with a hoarding disorder, which may render the home unhygienic and unsafe to be cleaned.

Some issues may cause complaints from the surrounding neighbors. Prolonged vacancy, apparent dilapidation and lack of hygiene can cause property values in the areas to decrease. It also can create an overall safety hazard if it attracts squatters or other people who enter into unsafe conditions.

If a property has extensive damage beyond the point of repairs being worthwhile, it’s important to schedule its demolition for the health and safety of the community at large.

How New England Enterprises Can Help

New England Enterprises handles complete or partial demolitions of residential or commercial buildings, even in tight spaces or still attached to an existing structure. We also do safe and environmentally sound removal of heavy debris, site cleanup, backfill, and resurfacing of the area to meet the future needs of the site. Our properly licensed and insured contractors can handle the hidden hazards that arise in the demolition process. Contact us today for more information about our demolition services.