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How to Shut Down Problem Properties
Overview
A problem property results in constant calls to get rid of the junk, intolerable behavior by occupants and guests, etc. A problem property can be a rental property, an owner-occupied property, a commercial property, a residential property, a single-family unit, a duplex, or an apartment building.

Step 1
Exhaust usual procedures such as:
  • Calling the Police for police issues
  • Calling Code Enforcement for routine code matters
  • Fill out an online Complaint Form
  • Calling Animal Control for animal control matters
  • Visiting with the problem neighbor (if not too dangerous)
  • Calling the landlord
  • Enlisting the help of your block club or district council
  • Going to the Dispute Resolution Center

Anonymous calls to the Police to come to an intersection are not as helpful as giving your name and providing a specific address that needs a response.

Step 2

If the problems persist, call (651) 266-1900.


Step 3
A Police Officer will do a preliminary investigation. We gather all the information we can on the property. We check City records, including the Police Department, the FORCE Unit, the Fire Department, Animal Control, Code Enforcement, and Rental Registration. We interview the neighbors and the local beat cops. We send an inspector to check for code issues.

Step 4
The unit meets every two weeks and decides which cases to open and which to reject. To open a case we need to tie the nuisance behavior to the occupants or owner. We need to have solid information that will stand up in court. Generally, we notify the property owner and attempt to get cooperation on solving the problem.

At any one point in time we can designate 25 problem properties to get full Police attention, whenever dispatched to that address. In other words, the Officer responding is asked to take the time to identify and interview all the individuals involved, in an attempt to tie the alleged nuisance behavior to the occupant of a specific address. Anonymous calls to come to an intersection are not as helpful as giving your name and providing a specific address that needs response.

Step 5
The unit determines which strategy to employ to stop the nuisance activity or close the property down. Is it a landlord / tenant property or owner-occupied? Are the tenants part of the problem?

If it’s an apartment building we have to work with Fire Prevention Certificate of Occupancy program. If it’s a commercial structure we have to work with the Department of Safety and Inspections.

Here are the strategies we’re currently using to stop the nuisance activity or close the property down:

For owner-occupied properties
  • Code enforcement orders to correct or abate
  • Condemnation/vacant building registration
  • Criminal charges a
  • Charging for excessive consumption b
  • Sec. 45.04 nuisance abatement order c 
  • Sec. 617.80 nuisance abatement order d
    (This law also applies to commercial properties and apartment buildings)
For rental one or two-unit properties
  • Code enforcement orders to correct or abate
  • Condemnation/vacant building registration
  • Criminal charges a
  • Charging for excessive consumption b
  • Sec. 45.04 nuisance abatement order c
  • Sec. 617.80 nuisance abatement order d
    (This law also applies to commercial properties and apartment buildings)
  • Rental Registration Revocation e
  • City Attorney initiated evictions f
    (This also applies to apartment buildings)
  • City-initiated Tenant Remedies Actions g
    (This also applies to apartment buildings and vacant former dwellings)
  • Real Estate Seizures h
    (This also applies to apartment buildings)

Step 6

The last step is going to court. Sometimes just having the inspectors and the police is sufficient testimony. Other times neighbors need to decide if the problem is serious enough to merit their coming to court, too. A community impact statement is always helpful.


Return to How to Make a Housing Complaint


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