Condemnation and Demolition of Unsafe Structures
The city ordinance provides authority to secure or condemn and demolish unsafe structures. The cost of these activities are assessed against the property. Because these processes can result in substantial costs, the city code requires several steps to advise the property owner of the city's pending action. Steps include notice to the owner, recording a notice of intent, and legal advertisement of the intended action.
The city's Building Official is the Person Officially Designated (POD) to condemn unsafe structures. Two Demolition Coordinators handle the notification, evidence gathering and legal condemnation process. Homes and commercial buildings can become unsafe. Usually, a structure becomes unsafe because of deterioration of major structural components which is often caused by age, water intrusion, termite infestation or fire damage.
Unsafe structures should be reported to the department immediately by calling 727-893-7373.
Property owners can appeal the Building Official's decision to condemn the structure. In this process, a Hearing Officer reviews evidence from the property owner and the city staff and ensures proper due process. The Hearing Officer has authority to approve a stipulated agreement to allow a property owner to make repairs to a condemned structure.
Securing Vacant and Open Structures
Vacant and open structures pose a hazard to the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of St. Petersburg. An unsecured structure can be an attractive nuisance, or can even harbor criminal activity. City code requires that all structures be secured against unauthorized entry. Unsecured openings (such as windows and doors) on occupied structures must be locked and maintained in good repair. Unsecured or broken windows and doors on vacant structures can be boarded. Should the property owner fail to secure any structure following the required notification, the department is authorized by code to coordinate securing of any vacant structure. Once a structure is secured by the city, it becomes part of a list of "vacant and boarded" property and is monitored for any other incipient violations approximately every 60 days.