The Inspections Department in Richmond Hill works every day to enforce the property maintenance and zoning codes of the City. Our job is to keep the City looking great, and to work to maintain a high quality of life for our residents.
When our inspectors are riding around town, they are looking for several things. These include, but are not limited to:
- Overgrown lots
- Littered and vacant lots
- Dilapidated houses
- Derelict vehicles
- Illegal signs
CODE ENFORCEMENT PROCEDURES
In general, the procedures for code enforcement must make certain that due process is given to every property owner. Due process is defined as "a fundamental, constitutional guarantee that all legal proceedings will be fair and that one will be given notice of the proceedings and an opportunity to be heard before the government acts to take away one’s life, liberty, or property." The downside to ensuring due process is that it slows down the actions and procedures to resolve the problem. However, correct due process measures are mandatory and avoid infringing on a property owner’s rights and potential legal consequences.
The general process for Code Enforcement in Richmond Hill includes the following:
- Building Inspectors either receive a complaint or encounter a public nuisance/code violation during daily inspections.
- Building Inspectors investigate the potential nuisance and gather evidence and facts.
- Building Inspectors will attempt to contact the owner to inform and educate about the violation. Code violations are often corrected by the property owner after initial contact.
- If initial contact is not successful, a Courtesy Notice door hanger may be left at the property which details the code violation, correction date, and contact information for the Building Inspectors. The Building Inspectors will follow-up within a short time period to see if the Courtesy Notice was received. If the property or structure appears vacant, Building Inspectors make every effort to track down the owner through property record research, certified letters, phone calls, discussions with neighboring property owners, etc. All of this is done with the goal of bringing the property into compliance as quickly as possible.
- If the violation is not corrected in the time frame outlined or the Building Inspectors cannot reach the owner, a Notice of Violation of International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC) is issued via certified mail with a compliance deadline.
- Building Inspectors follow up with the owner and remain visible during the compliance period.
- If the property or structure is occupied:
- If the violation is not resolved or the property is not brought into compliance within the specified deadline, the City can subpoena the owner or agent of the property to Richmond Hill Municipal Court. At that time, the Municipal Court Judge can fine and/or incarcerate the owner or agent of the property, as well as rule that he or she correct the violation within a timeframe the Judge sets. In some instances, the Judge may allow the City to correct the violation and charge the incurred expenses to the property owner.
- If the property or structure is vacant:
- If the property owner cannot be served with notice or summons to Municipal Court, the Building Inspector will notify the property owner by mail, directing the abatement of the nuisance to comply with section 34-34 of the City Code of Ordinances. The certified mail notice shall allow 10 days from the date of receipt or a second attempt to deliver the notice to correct the violation. After this notice and during a period of 36 months, no further written notice or warning period is required. If the owner fails to comply, the City can have the nuisance abated, assessing a fee plus a service charge for the work and charging the amount to the owner. The amount charged constitutes a lien against the lot as of the date of work. If the amount is not paid within 30 days after the work is completed, the City Clerk may file a lien against said property per section 34-41 of the City Code of Ordinances.
If you have a violation to report, please do not hesitate to contact us at 912-756-4521 or by following the link below.