Condemned House Guide

By PropertyClub Team
Jun 25th 2023
In real estate, condemnation happens when the government seizes a property. This seizure can occur for various reasons, all of which require specific criteria to be considered legitimate grounds. Read on to discover why a house can be condemned and how the process works. 

hash-markWhat Is a Condemned House?

A condemned house is a house that has been deemed uninhabitable or unfit for living. This is usually due to unsafe living conditions or abundant code violations. However, a home can also be condemned if it inhibits public improvements, such as highway expansion.

When a house is condemned, it means that no one is allowed to inhabit the property, and all previous occupants must leave the premises and find alternate housing accommodations. 

hash-markWho Can Condemn a House?

Those with the right to condemn a property are known as “condemning authorities” and include local, state, and federal governments. Additionally, a home inspector can condemn a property if they find significant code violations or safety issues during an inspection. The local Board of Health can also deem a home unfit if it poses considerable health risks, such as a black mold infestation. 

hash-markCan You Report a House That Should be Condemned

Yes, you can report a house that should be condemned. You'll need to contact the proper authorities with details about the house, including the address and its condition. They will then send someone over to inspect the property. Reporting a house that should be condemned is quite easy, and it's a good way to protect the neighborhood from a potentially hazardous or dangerous situation. 

hash-markWhat Are the Grounds To Condemn a House?

A house can be condemned for multiple reasons, which include the following: 

  • Repetitive housing code violations (improper construction)
  • Unsafe living conditions (termite damage, structural damage from natural forces)
  • Unsanitary living conditions (sewage backup, mold infestations) 
  • Abandonment
  • Eminent Domain

hash-markWhat Is Eminent Domain?

Eminent domain refers to a situation where the government condemns a property as a means to pursue public improvement. In cases of eminent domain, the homeowner must be appropriately compensated for their home, meaning that they must be paid fair market value for their property. If the condemning authority’s offer does not meet the fair market value, homeowners can contest and renegotiate it. But, in the end, the homeowner must ultimately comply with selling the property to the state and vacating the premises. Otherwise, the condemning authority will file a petition with the appropriate court to acquire possession of the property, and the homeowner will be evicted.

hash-markCan You Live in a Condemned House?

No. Apart from eminent domain, homes are usually condemned due to immense safety or sanitary concerns. No one can live in the condemned property until appropriate renovations have been made. However, it’s important to note that condemned homes tend to attract squatters. If left unattended, squatters can pose significant challenges to homeowners who wish to reclaim possession of their homes in the future.

hash-markHow Long Does it Take To Condemn a House?

How long it takes to condemn a house depends on the reason for condemnation, and formally condemning a home can take weeks, months, or even years. However, once a home has been officially deemed uninhabitable in a court hearing, occupants will have a specified period of time to vacate the premises. Depending on the condition of the property, this can range anywhere from 24 hours to 60 days.

hash-markWhat Happens When a House Gets Condemned?

Unless the property is condemned for eminent domain, a homeowner may have several opportunities to resolve sanitary, safety, or housing code issues before their home is condemned. But, if no resolution is pursued, the government will condemn and seize the house. The homeowner’s possession of the property will end shortly thereafter, and they, along with any other occupants, will be made to vacate. Signs will then be placed around the property, warning that it is uninhabitable and no one will be allowed to reinhabit the property until it is renovated. 

hash-markCan You Sell a Condemned House?

Yes, a homeowner can sell their condemned house. However, because condemned properties are not traditional real estate listings, finding the right buyer can be difficult. Condemned buildings are usually sold on an “as is” basis, meaning they are sold in their current condition. Because of this, lending institutions will not allow traditional homebuyers to borrow money for condemned properties, as they are uninhabitable and make poor collateral. Instead, a condemned house will usually be purchased by professionals or other investors who understand what it will take to make the property livable and have the liquid resources available to do so.

hash-markCondemned House FAQs

Can the Health Department Condemn a House?

Yes, the local health department or Board of Health can determine that a home is unfit for sanitary living and issue a condemnation order.

Can a House Be Condemned For Hoarding?

Yes, a house can be condemned for hoarding, however, it will require significantly deteriorated conditions. Legal action can be taken only when the situation is bad enough to put a neighborhood’s health or home values at risk. Additionally, a hoarder’s home can be condemned if significant housing code violations are found.

Can a House Be Condemned For Mold?

Absolutely! While mold spots here and there can usually be cleared up through simple remediation, large infestations can pose significant health risks. It is these large infestations that can lead to condemnation. 

What Can I Do About Living Next To a Condemned House?

Living next to a home worthy of condemnation is no small issue. These houses can cause neighboring home values to diminish and are usually an eyesore for the surrounding community. Unfortunately, apart from putting up a fence and filing formal complaints to speed up the condemnation process, neighbors of unsanitary or unsafe homes have little available recourse.