Property maintenance concerns come into our office quite frequently so it’s important to know how those concerns are handled. First, you should know that our property maintenance requirements are based off of the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code and the City Code. Depending on where you live, you may also have homeowner’s association requirements as well, but that does not involve the City and is separate from what we’ll talk about here. Keep in mind that just because something is unsightly, doesn’t mean it’s a code violation. Something like weathered lawn furniture or ugly bushes are not violations of City code (though you may have some issues with your HOA!)
When we receive a report about property maintenance concerns, the Department of Development & Permits sends out an inspector to see what’s going on. If the property in question is in violation, the owner will receive a notice regarding the violation and be given a specific number of days to come into compliance. The number of days differs depending on the issue. For example, tall grass gets 10 days to come into compliance, whereas a structural violation could get 30 days.
At the end of the notice period, an inspector will return to the property to re-inspect for compliance. If the property is no long in violation, the process is over! If the property remains in violation, the inspector will attempt to talk to the owner to see if an extension is needed or if they need to be connected with community resources for help. If progress towards compliance is not being made, the next step is a summons to court. The court process can be quite lengthy and, at this point, the property’s fate is in the hands of the judge. If a case is dismissed, there is a possibility that the process will start all over.
To learn more about code compliance, visit the Development & Permits page at CityofChesapeake.net or call the Customer Contact Center at 382-2489.