Vacant & Dangerous Buildings
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Vacant Building Ordinance
As part of making the City of Nampa the most livable city in the nation, the Vacant Building Ordinance is being developed to encourage vacant buildings to be maintained and occupied. Vacant buildings that are not maintained contribute to the detriment of neighborhoods, property values, and aesthetics of our city. In addition, this ordinance will promote safe living and working environments for City neighborhoods and commercial corridors by providing a high level of service to residents, businesses and visitors in the City of Nampa.
This ordinance will also address complaints for landscaping, vehicles, junk and debris related to vacant buildings
Dangerous Building Code
This City currently uses the Uniform Code For Abatement Of Dangerous Buildings , the International Fire Code, and Nampa City Ordinances to regulate any building or structure that may be a danger to life, limb, health, morals, property, safety or welfare of the general public or their occupants. The Uniform Code For Abatement of Dangerous Buildings is primarily enforced by the City of Nampa Building Department, along with the assistance of the Code Compliance Division and Nampa Fire Department. However, all dangerous buildings that are open and accessible are enforced by the Code Compliance Division. All open and accessible buildings are required to be boarded up and secured in accordance with the City of Nampa's Board Up Procedure Resolution requirements.
The City of Nampa Code Compliance and Community Relations Division enforces City and state mandated codes relating to residential and commercial structures that are dangerous, substandard, blighted, or vacant. Building owners are legally required to maintain their property to the standards set forth in the City Codes. Vacant structures shall be kept secure to prevent unlawful entry. Broken and/or missing windows or doors shall be replaced or boarded up and secured in accordance with our Board Up Procedures. Building permits and inspections are required for all persons repairing or demolishing substandard structures.
Abandoned buildings can be dangerous if the structures are old and have been neglected because they are often falling apart. They are very vulnerable to collapsing entirely and trapping you inside without anyone knowing you are there. Exploring these buildings can be dangerous because sections of the buildings, such as structural beams, pieces of the ceiling, walls, floors or staircases can collapse on you or under you at any moment. These buildings sometimes still have the electricity turned on and exposed wiring can lead to electrocution or shocks. There are also dangers of falling into open elevator shafts.
Dangerous Equipment & Supplies
Abandoned buildings sometimes contain abandoned equipment and supplies. These buildings often have a lot of rusty metal, broken glass from old windows, and rusty nails from exposed or fallen beams. They sometimes contain, or are surrounded by, abandoned vehicles or machinery that can leak gasoline, oil, or other dangerous and flammable chemicals
Abandoned buildings are often the sites of illegal activity because of how isolated the buildings are. Drug dealers and drug users are sometimes attracted to abandoned buildings to sell, make, or use drugs without being observed by anyone. Gangs often use abandoned buildings to meet in or hide stolen goods or drugs. Vagrants sometimes use abandoned buildings as shelter during bad weather or as an alternative to sleeping on the streets.
If you want to report a vacant building that is not being maintained, or a dangerous building or structure, please contact Code Compliance at (208) 468-5473, or by email, or by submitting a concern online.
- Ceilings, roofs, vertical supports, or other horizontal support that sag, split or buckle.
- Plumbing, electrical, or mechanical hazards creating a danger to human health.
- Excessive infestations of rodents, cockroaches, or other vector.
- Unsafe electrical outlets which present a clear and present danger of fire or electrocution.
- Uninhabitable buildings due to lack of care, cleanliness, or sanitary conditions.
- Defective or inadequate weather protection of exterior walls.
- Vacant buildings which are open and accessible. (broken windows, doors, etc.)
- Buildings dilapidated or deteriorated to the point that it has become an attractive nuisance to children, harbor for vagrants, criminals or immoral persons, or as to enable persons to resort thereto for the purpose of committing unlawful or immoral acts.
- Buildings determined as hazard by the fire marshal.
- Building or structure which is abandoned for a period in excess of six months so as to constitute an attractive nuisance to the public.
Not all vacant residential and commercial structures are public nuisances. In fact, a majority of vacant buildings don't come under the category of public nuisances. Only those vacant buildings that are not maintained and/or neglected can be cited as public nuisances. If one or more of these conditions exist, the structure and/or property will be cited as a public nuisance:
- Exterior not up to Code
- Structure is a neighborhood blight and may include debris or broken windows
- Structure attracts transients or crime
- Structure is neglected by owner
- Paint peeling throughout structure
- Lawn not mowed, little or no care to yard
- Junk and debris on property
Impact of Vacant Buildings
When the owner of a vacant building fails to actively maintain and manage the building, the building can become a major cause of blight in both residential and nonresidential neighborhoods. Vacant buildings that are boarded, substandard or unkempt can attract a criminal element, discourage economic development, and negatively affect appreciation of property values.
The responsibility rests with property owners to prevent structures from becoming a burden to the neighborhood and community and a threat to the public health, safety, or welfare. A vacant property that is not actively maintained and managed can be the core and cause of spreading blight.