North Austin Civic Association

Archived from June, 2006

Code Enforcement 101:

Dangerous Buildings and Housing Violations

The City of Austin has codes and ordinances to protect the health, safety, and quality of life for Austin's citizens. Austin's Solid Waste Services Code Enforcement Division investigates reports of most code violations and ensures that the standards are met. The Division works closely with local authorities to bring properties into compliance.

Code enforcement was the focus of the April 20, 2006 NACA meeting. The main speaker was Steve Ramirez of the Code Enforcement Division. Copies of the 2006 Austin Police Resource Manual were distributed, as well as a pamphlet on the types of investigations by the Code Enforcement Division. Types of investigations include:

  • Zoning enforcement: Commercial business in a residential neighborhood, having more than two garage sales per year, and improper placement or storage of RVs, boats, or sheds
  • Dangerous buildings and housing: Vacant/dilapidated structures, fire damaged structures, and substandard or dangerous conditions at tenant-occupied residences, duplexes, and multi-family units
  • Property abatement: Illegal dumping, tall weeds and grass, stagnant water, accumulations of litter, brush, trash, or debris, and tree limbs hanging lower than 14 feet over the public right of way
The time required to resolve a code violation complaint may vary depending on the type of violation. A complaint may be made by a concerned citizen, police, fire department, or other agency. Complaints are documented and assigned to an inspector. Inspection is usually within 48 hours of the initial report to verify the code violation. If the inspector finds a code violation, a notice, warning, or citation may be issued.

A Notice of Violation includes a report of the violation, department contacts, a timeline for compliance, and consequences of non-compliance. The inspector later confirms compliance within the timeline issued. If compliance is achieved, the case is closed.

If the violation continues, resolution measures may include criminal charges in Municipal Court hearings, fines, or penalties issued by the Building and Standards Commission. If the City of Austin corrects a violation which the owner or tenant has failed to correct, the owner or tenant will be responsible for paying fees for those services (such as mowing, sign removal, clearing illegal dumping, or tree trimming)

. Whoever is in charge of a property (owners, tenants, or residents) is also responsible for keeping the property and any sidewalk, alley, or street adjacent to the property free of violations. Failure to comply may result in criminal charges being filed against the owner and a lien placed on the property.

To report code violations for investigation, call 311. Be sure to request the case number assigned to the report.

~by NACA Reporter