Property Code Enforcement
The Property Code Enforcement Office is responsible for enforcing the property code in the City of Youngstown in order to protect the health and safety of our residents. Code enforcement is also critical to our City’s revitalization. Our focus is to make property owners responsible for their property through the inspection process.
In addition to property inspections, the Property Code Enforcement Office is also responsible for the rental and vacant property registration programs. With the exception of owner-occupied properties, ALL properties are now required to be registered with the City of Youngstown.
The City of Youngstown currently enforces the property code through both criminal and administrative means. If the property owner does not bring the property into compliance through the warning from the Property Code Enforcement Office and does not appeal the order to the Property Maintenance Appeals Board, the case is referred to the Prosecutor’s Office for possible criminal charges. The maximum penalty for non-compliance of the property code is 60 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Frequently Asked Questions
What must I do if I am issued a notice of violation or an administrative order with a penalty attached ($100, $500, $1,000 fine)?
Make the required repairs within the time specified on the notice and call or email the inspection office when the repairs are complete.
What if I disagree with the inspection report?
If you disagree with the inspection report, you may appeal a notice of violation, a raze or repair order or an administrative penalty to the Property Maintenance Appeals Board by submitting a written request for a hearing setting forth the address of the property which was the subject of the notice and order, the name, address, and telephone number of the Appellant and a brief statement of the grounds for the appeal. Requests shall be filed within fifteen (15) days after the day the notice or order is mailed, delivered or posted and shall be accompanied by a deposit of $15.00 which shall be nonrefundable or an affidavit of indigency. For your convenience you may use the Property Maintenance Appeals Board form that can be found online. All requests for appeals must be mailed to: Building Inspection Department, Youngstown City Hall - 5th Floor, 26 S. Phelps Street, Youngstown, Ohio 44503.
What happens after I send the completed Property Maintenance Appeals form to the City of Youngstown?
You will receive a notice in the mail setting forth the time and location of the Property Maintenance Appeals meeting.
What happens at a Property Maintenance Appeals Board meeting?
At the hearing, the Appellant shall be given an opportunity to be heard and to show cause why the notice or order should be modified or dismissed, or why a variance should be granted. A code enforcement official will also be present to present evidence of the property violations. The Property Maintenance Appeals Board listens to the appellant and then makes one of three decisions:
- Grant the appeal.
The appellant will not be responsible for any fine that was issued regarding the violation that was appealed. Please note, this decision relates only to the appeal and has no bearing or impact on any past or future violations.
- Deny the appeal.
The appellant’s appeal is denied and the appellant is responsible for making the repairs and paying any fines that have been issued. If the appellant does not bring the property into compliance they will be issued stiffer penalties and will face criminal prosecution.
- Reschedule the appeal hearing for a later date.
The Property Maintenance Appeals Board will set a hearing for a future date. The judgment will include orders for the owner to make property repairs by a specific date. This is often the case when an owner has started work on the property but needs more time to complete the repairs.
I received a notice in the mail requiring my presence at a prosecutor hearing regarding a property that I own. What does this mean? What will happen at the hearing?
Your property was inspected by the City of Youngstown and violations of the property code were found. You will first have received a notice from the Property Code Enforcement Office along with an inspection form explaining the violations. If you do not respond to this notice and the property is not in compliance, you will be ordered to appear at a Prosecutor hearing.
What is a Prosecutor hearing?
During a Prosecutors' hearing the property violator is given an opportunity to prove that their property is in compliance with the property code. Property owners that are ordered to attend prosecutors' hearings are encouraged to bring evidence of compliance including pictures and receipts for labor and materials. If the owner comes into compliance before the day of the prosecutors hearing, they should call the property inspection office at (330) 742-9770. Failure to appear for a prosecutors' hearing may result in a warrant for arrest.
The prosecutor will hear from both the property owner and the property code enforcement office. Both sides will be allowed the opportunity to show evidence of the condition of the property. In some cases the prosecutor will give the property owner a specific date to make repairs or demolish the structure. When the property owner complies by the date set by the prosecutor, the property owner will avoid criminal charges and the case will be closed. A prosecutor will use discretion in deciding to file criminal charges. Although criminal charges can be filed at any point in this process, if the owner is able to show significant progress, or if they can prove that they are under contract to come into compliance, the prosecutor will often allow the time to do so.
Can I file an appeal from the prosecutor hearing?
No. The Prosecutors' hearing cannot be appealed. Also, the Property Code Enforcement Office is unable to change the schedule or to grant extensions. It is mandatory for a violator to appear for Prosecutor hearings. If a violator does not appear for a Prosecutors hearing the Prosecutor may issue a warrant for their arrest.
This property is no longer my property. Do I still have to appear?
Yes. In many instances property owners are unaware that they are still the legal owners due to confusion during bankruptcy or foreclosure proceedings. Bring whatever information that you may have including correspondence from the bank. If you do not appear, a warrant may be issued for your arrest.
Why is this happening? I have never seen or heard about this before. Does this mean that I may go to jail?
The City of Youngstown is taking aggressive steps to remove blight and improve our neighborhoods through code enforcement. When an owner does not respond to a notice from the Property Code Enforcement Office, the case is taken to the next level, which is a Prosecutor hearing. If the owner does not comply in this phase of the process then criminal may be charges may be filed. Property owners face up to a $1,000 fine and up to 60 days in jail for code violations to their property.
Is there any way to avoid attending the hearings?
Yes. You can bring the property into compliance and call (330) 742-9770 at least 2 days prior to the scheduled Prosecutor hearing. A property code enforcement inspector will then inspect the property and take photographs to ensure compliance. If your property is in compliance, you will receive a return call telling you that you do not need to appear. *If you do not receive a call telling you that you do not need to appear, you must appear or a warrant may be issued for your arrest.
My notice says that I was issued a notice to Raze or Repair my structure. What should I do?
In the case of a Raze or Repair order, the property has been deemed a safety hazard that needs to be demolished or brought into full code compliance within 30 days. For a list of demolition contractors, please refer to our website, www.cityofyoungstownoh.com. You may use any demolition contractor that you choose. You will be expected to bring a signed contract with proof of down payment with a demolition contractor.
If you intend to repair the structure you must bring estimates for the repairs and the work must be completed within 30 days. Bring estimates for the repair work and proof of financials to the Prosecutor Hearing.
Do I need to hire an attorney?
You are not required to hire an attorney-but it is well within your rights to do so.
How should I prepare for a Prosecutor hearing?
You should bring a plan for the property. If you decide to repair the property, you should begin the repairs immediately. Bring photographs of any repairs that are made. Bring receipts for materials or estimates for repairs if you are hiring a contractor to do the work. The Prosecutor will consider this when deciding to file criminal charges.
If you decide to demolish the structure, you should get estimates for demolition work immediately. You should then sign a contract with a demolition contractor and put a down payment of at least 50% of the total demolition cost. *NOTE: It is your responsibility to ensure that the property is properly demolished and that the lot is properly graded. It is in your best interest to preview the demolition project once the contractor has completed the demolition before you pay the balance of the contract. If you have any questions or if we can assist you in this process, you should call the Property Code Enforcement Office at (330) 742-8888.
What if I decide to sell the property or give it away?
In the event that you decide to transfer ANY property that has been issued a notice to make repairs or a raze or repair order has been issued, the transferee must FIRST sign an affidavit stating that they are aware that code violations have been found by the City of Youngstown and that they ACCEPT FULL RESPONSIBILITY for bringing the property into compliance with the orders that you were given.
What if I decide to GIVE the property away?
The person that is receiving the property must sign an affidavit that they accept full responsibility for any code violations. Transfers of any kind are subject to this ordinance.
What should I bring with me to the Prosecutor hearing?
- If you have made repairs, you may bring pictures to prove compliance.
- Receipts for materials, equipment and/or labor to make repairs.
- Correspondence from the bank or other parties if you are uncertain of your ownership or legal responsibility regarding the property in question.
- Any estimates that you have for repairs to be completed.
- Contracts with demolition contractors if you intend to demolish the structure.
- Proof of down payment for repair or demolition projects.
City of Youngstown
Property Code Enforcement
9 West Front Street, Suite 208
Youngstown, OH 44503
|Monday thru Friday 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM
||Code Enforcement Officer
||Neighborhood Improvement Coordinator