Strategic Code Enforcement
What is code enforcement ?
Responsible property ownership and maintenance is at the heart of neighborhood stability. While property ownership confers important rights, it also confers equally important responsibilities on the owner. While most owners meet their obligations – maintaining their properties and complying with codes so they do not cause harm to their occupants, their neighbors and their communities – many do not. In those cases, local government has the task of encouraging negligent owners to carry out their responsibilities, and if they do not, take action to minimize the harm to the community. This is the role of code enforcement.
Code enforcement, defined broadly to include all of the elements involved in obtaining compliance from private owners of problem properties, is a critical element in fighting neighborhood decline, preserving sound neighborhoods and restoring distressed areas. Few public officials fully appreciate or understand the role that code enforcement plays as the first responders to vacant and foreclosed homes and the policy value that code enforcement can offer in protecting neighborhoods and stabilizing property conditions. When used proactively, code enforcement can help local governments identify, halt and reverse the negative impact of vacant, abandoned and problem properties.