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The City of New Orleans

Mayor Mitchell J. Landrieu

Fighting Blight: What is the Process?

Code Enforcement's Comprehensive Process to Reduce Blight

 

This is the process Code Enforcement goes through with every blighted property in the City of New Orleans. For more information on each step, click the arrows on the list below.

1. Intake

Citizens call 311 to report properties as blighted and to get updates on the status of prior complaints.  Code Enforcement inspectors also sweep their areas for buildings and lots in violation of the City’s housing code

2. Input

If an active code violations case does not already exist for a reported property, Code Enforcement creates a case in LAMA, the City’s parcel-based case management system, and citizens can follow the status of that case using BlightStatus or by calling back to 311 for updates.

3. Inspect

Code Enforcement inspectors follow a dynamic work queue in the LAMA system to perform detailed inspections of building exterior and lot conditions, with digital photography and clear lists of violations of City ordinances.  Our target for the average time from a complaint and creation of a case to inspection is 30 days.

4. Research

After an inspection is completed and violations have been documented, the Hearings Bureau performs extensive title research to identify every person who is an owner or has a legal interest in the property.  Once defendants parties are identified, further research locates possible addresses where notice must be sent.  

5. Notice

A hearing date and time is set 30 to 45 days from the completion of thorough title research, and a Notice of Hearing is sent to all interested parties at every identified address, via regular and certified mail.  In addition, the property address, case number, and the date and time of hearing are posted in the official journal of the City of New Orleans, currently the Times-Picayune.  View a calendar of upcoming hearings here.

6. Day of Hearing

On the day of the hearing, owners are commanded by law to appear at the Code Enforcement Hearings Bureau and bring printed evidence of any work in progress or completed work to bring the property into compliance with the City code.  If an owner cannot attend his or her hearing, they may appoint a representative to appear on their behalf and are advised to seek professional legal counsel. 

Concerned citizens may attend the hearings and may also bring recent photos and share testimony indicating continued conditions of public nuisance and blight.  Code Enforcement inspections and photographs will be used as evidence of violations. Hearing costs may be issued to the defendant(s) even if the violations have been corrected prior to the hearing.

Judgment

A hearing may be Reset (continued to a future hearing date) or Dismissed, but the final outcome of the hearing(s) for an individual case is usually either a Guilty Judgment or Notice of Compliance.  A property brought into FULL compliance may have minimal fees due, but is the best case outcome and closes the case without further City action.  If a property remains in violation of the City ordinances, a Notice of Judgment will be issued to the owner(s) and if not appealed, remediated and/or paid in full will be filed with the recorder of mortgages 30 days after the hearing.  This filing will constitute a lien on the property and will give the City the authority to remediate the violations and/or seize the property for Sheriff Sale.

Post-Judgment Actions

If a guilty judgment is recorded and a lien is placed on the property, Code Enforcement evaluates the property through an administrative review process to determine the best approach to remove the hazardous conditions of public nuisance and blight.  The City has three paths for abatement, and a single property may undergo more than one of these processes over time.

Lot Clearing / Abatement

In coordination with NORA, the City has launched a city-wide lot clearing program that can perform multiple cuts of identified lots with high grass and weeds and other unsafe conditions.  The City cutting the grass will not remove fines against the owner(s).

Sheriff’s Sale / Lien Foreclosure

Properties approved for lien foreclosure will have writs filed with the Civil District Court and will be subsequently turned over to the sheriff’s office to be sold at auction. Sale proceeds will first pay off liens, taxes, and sale costs and any other recorded liens to a third party.  Remaining funds, if any  will go to the original property owner(s).  The City’s larger goal in this process is to transfer blighted properties to new owners who will make repairs and abide by the City code.  View a list of upcoming sales.

Demolition

Blighted properties  may be selected by Code Enforcement for demolition.  Once a building is demolished, if the remaining lot remains in a blighted condition it may be sold at sheriff’s sale and/or could be maintained through the lot clearing program.

 
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Last updated: 2/8/2013 2:38:27 PM

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