Reporting a House That Should Be Condemned: Navigating the Process and Protecting Your Rights

When faced with a house that poses significant safety hazards or code violations, it becomes crucial to take action and report it for condemnation. Understanding the process of reporting and the subsequent steps involved is essential for safeguarding public safety and ensuring proper resolution. This blog post aims to guide you through the process of reporting a house that should be condemned, highlighting the importance of thorough inspection, contacting local authorities, attending legal hearings, considering tenants’ rights, and seeking expert legal advice.

By following these steps and understanding your rights, you can play an active role in addressing unsafe conditions and protect the well-being of both occupants and the community.

Determine the reason for the condemnation:

When assessing the need for condemning a house, several factors should be considered:

  1. Code Violations and Safety Hazards: It is crucial to inspect the house for any violations of building codes or safety regulations. These could include structural issues, electrical or plumbing problems, inadequate fire safety measures, or other hazardous conditions.
  2. Vacancy or Abandonment: Determine whether the house is vacant or abandoned, as this can contribute to its overall deterioration and potential safety risks.
  3. Specific Hazards: An inspector should identify and document any specific hazards present in the house, such as the presence of dangerous materials (e.g., asbestos, lead paint) or unsafe locations (e.g., proximity to hazardous waste sites).

Implications of a condemned house:

If a house is condemned, certain implications arise:

  1. Termination of Lease: Condemnation typically leads to the termination of any existing lease agreements, prohibiting individuals from living or working inside the building due to safety concerns.
  2. Remediation and Reoccupation: If the violations and hazards are rectified in accordance with local government standards and documented appropriately, it may be possible to reoccupy the building. This process often involves obtaining permits and certifications to ensure compliance with safety regulations.

Contact the local authorities:

When reporting a house that should be condemned, it is essential to take the following steps:

  1. Contact Local Authorities: Get in touch with the appropriate local authorities responsible for building inspections or housing regulations. Report the unsafe or uninhabitable conditions of the house, providing the property’s address and a detailed explanation of the reasons for the condemnation.
  2. Request Inspection: Ask for an inspection of the property to assess the extent of the violations. A qualified inspector will evaluate the house’s condition and determine if it poses a threat to public health and safety.
  3. Governmental Agency Involvement: The condemnation of a property is typically handled by a governmental agency at the county, city, or state level. They will review the inspection findings and decide whether to proceed with the condemnation process.
  4. Immediate Relocation if Necessary: If the house poses an immediate and severe threat to occupants, they may be required to evacuate the premises permanently. This ensures their safety while the necessary steps are taken to address the violations.
  5. Repairs and Reinspection: If the issues can be resolved, the property owner or responsible party should undertake the required repairs or renovations. Once the repairs are completed, schedule a follow-up inspection with the local housing authority to verify compliance with safety standards.
  6. Seek Legal Advice: It is advisable to consult with a knowledgeable real estate, property rights, or eminent domain lawyer to understand your rights and obligations throughout the condemnation process. They can provide guidance, protect your interests, and ensure proper procedures are followed.

Attend the legal hearing:

When attending a legal hearing for a condemned property, it is crucial to address the following points:

  1. Discuss Reasons for Condemnation: Provide a clear explanation of why the property was condemned. Understand and be prepared to present the specific violations or issues that led to the condemnation order.
  2. Present Evidence and Justification: Present compelling evidence to demonstrate that the condemnation order is unjustified. This may include documentation, expert opinions, photographs, or any other relevant evidence that disputes the claims made against the property.
  3. Address Code Violations and Safety Concerns: If the condemnation order is based on code violations or claims of unsafe or uninhabitable conditions, take meaningful steps to rectify and repair the property. Document these efforts to showcase a good-faith attempt to comply with regulations and address the stated violations.
  4. Correct Violations Promptly: It is important to correct any stated violations within the specified timeframe, ensuring the property remains habitable. Failure to address the violations may result in the property being considered permanently uninhabitable.
  5. Exercise Right to Speak Up: As a landlord, occupant, or any affected party, voice your opposition to the condemnation during the hearing. Present witnesses and documents that support your argument against the condemnation, emphasizing reasons why the building should not be condemned.
  6. Legal Advice and Representation: Seek the guidance of a skilled real estate, property rights, or eminent domain lawyer. They can provide expert advice, represent your interests during the hearing, and ensure that proper legal procedures are followed.

Consider the tenants’ rights:

When a property is condemned, it is crucial for tenants to be aware of their rights:

  1. Lease Termination: A complete condemnation of a property will typically result in the termination of the lease agreement. This is because the property is deemed uninhabitable, and tenants cannot reside or work in a condemned building.
  2. Temporary Eviction: In cases of condemnation, tenants are generally not allowed to remain on the premises during the condemnation process. They may be required to temporarily vacate the property until the necessary repairs and compliance with local government standards are completed.
  3. Potential for Reoccupation: If all violations and issues identified during condemnation are addressed and the property meets the local government’s standards, it may be possible to reoccupy the building. Proper documentation and proof of compliance will be necessary to regain access.
  4. Compensation for Unexpired Lease Term: In certain situations, tenants whose lease is terminated due to condemnation may have a claim for compensation for the value of the unexpired lease term. However, this typically applies if the tenant can demonstrate losses resulting from being required to move out. It is important to consult with legal professionals to understand the specific laws and regulations governing such claims.
  5. Legal Advice: Seeking guidance from experienced real estate, property rights, or eminent domain lawyers is strongly recommended. They can provide valuable advice, protect tenants’ rights, and ensure appropriate legal measures are taken throughout the condemnation process.

Seek legal advice:

When seeking legal advice concerning a condemned property, it is crucial to consult with an experienced lawyer specializing in real estate, property rights, or eminent domain matters.

  1. Understanding Rights and Options: Seeking legal advice can help property owners comprehend their rights and explore available options when their property is being condemned. An experienced lawyer can provide guidance tailored to the specific circumstances.
  2. Challenging Condemnation Orders: Legal advice is invaluable in understanding the legal process involved and the steps property owners can take to challenge a condemnation order. A knowledgeable lawyer can assess the situation, identify potential defenses, and guide property owners through the necessary procedures.
  3. Clarifying Legal Aspects: Condemnations resulting from code violations or claims of unsafe conditions require a thorough understanding of legal aspects. Seeking legal assistance ensures property owners comprehend the intricacies of the condemnation process, including potential implications and relevant laws and regulations.
  4. Documenting Repair Efforts: It is crucial to maintain proper documentation of efforts made to fix and repair the property. This documentation can serve as evidence to demonstrate compliance with safety standards and good-faith attempts to rectify any violations.

What happens to a house after it has been condemned?

When a house has been condemned, it means that the government or a government entity has deemed it unfit for anyone to live in or use due to health and safety concerns. Here is what typically happens to a condemned house:

  1. Eviction: If there are occupants living in the house at the time of condemnation, they will usually be required to move out immediately. It is illegal to live in a condemned home in most cases.
  2. Repairs and Renovations: In some cases, the homeowner may have the opportunity to make the necessary repairs and renovations to bring the house up to code and make it habitable again. This can involve addressing structural damage, electrical issues, plumbing problems, or other safety concerns.
  3. Inspection and Removal of Condemnation Status: After the repairs and renovations have been completed, the house will typically undergo another inspection by the appropriate authorities. If the house meets all the necessary requirements and is deemed safe for habitation, the condemnation status may be removed.
  4. Sale or Demolition: If the homeowner is unable or unwilling to make the necessary repairs, or if the house is beyond repair, the government may take further action. This can involve seizing the property through eminent domain and compensating the owner for the property at its current market value. In some cases, the government may choose to demolish the condemned house at the owner’s expense.

It’s important to note that the specific process and outcomes can vary depending on local laws and regulations.

Can a condemned house be sold?

Yes, you can sell a condemned house in most cases, but the process and options depend on the specific reasons for condemnation and local laws/regulations.

  1. If the house was condemned due to repairable code violations (e.g. structural issues, lack of utilities, unsanitary conditions), you may be able to make the necessary repairs, get the property re-inspected/approved by local authorities, and then sell it on the regular real estate market.
  2. If the repairs are too extensive or the house is beyond repair, you may only be able to sell the land/property itself, not the actual condemned structure. In this case, the buyer would likely demolish the existing house.
  3. However, if the property was condemned through eminent domain (seized by the government for public use), you cannot sell it yourself. The government must provide you compensation by making a fair market value offer to purchase the property from you.
  4. Selling a condemned house can be challenging through traditional real estate channels, as most lenders and agents avoid these properties. Cash buyers or real estate investors may be more interested in purchasing condemned homes, either to repair and re-sell or just for the land value.


Dealing with a condemned property can be a complex and challenging process, but by being proactive and seeking the right guidance, you can navigate it more effectively. Whether you’re a property owner, tenant, or concerned citizen, understanding the reasons for condemnation, reporting procedures, legal hearings, tenants’ rights, and the importance of seeking legal advice are crucial steps in protecting your interests and ensuring a safe environment. Taking appropriate actions and seeking professional help ensures the resolution of unsafe properties, maintaining public safety standards.

See Also- Can My Neighbor Record Me on My Property?


How do you report a house that should be condemned?

To report a condemned house, reach out to local authorities responsible for inspections and housing regulations, explaining the property’s unsafe conditions. Provide a detailed account of the issues for proper action.

What is the meaning of letter of condemnation?

A letter of condemnation is an official notice declaring a property unfit for use due to violations or hazards. It often leads to restrictions or legal consequences for the property owner.

What does condemnation mean in house?

Condemnation in real estate refers to a government’s acquisition of private property through eminent domain or other governmental functions. The court determines the legality of the taking and assesses appropriate compensation for the property owner.

What are the steps of condemnation?

Condemnation involves reporting the property, inspecting for violations, and taking actions to address issues and ensure safety compliance. This includes repairs, legal measures, and working with local authorities.

Reporting a House That Should Be Condemned
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