Have you recently received a letter from the City of Pittsburgh notifying you that your house has a code violation? If so, you’re not alone. There have already been 2,781 Pittsburgh code violations issued from January 1, 2019 – April 29, 2019. Some of the violations issued are easy to resolve, but many involve repairs that are very costly and time-consuming. In this post, we’ll help you understand what your Pittsburgh code violation means, what you need to do about it, and how much it could potentially cost you if you decide to ignore it.
Why did I receive a Pittsburgh code violation
A lot of people wonder how they received a code violation in the first place. Most violations are initiated by a 311 request – an anonymous system for submitting non-emergency questions or concerns to the city. The request that led to your code violation could have come from a neighbor to your property, or a concerned member of the community who happened to walk by. In either case, a city inspector gets assigned to the request and visits the property within 5 days.
What should I do about my Pittsburgh code violation?
If the inspector discovers a violation, they will issue a notice to the property owner. If you receive a notice, the first step you need to take is to understand what caused the violation. The city posted the Top 10 Most Common Code Violations, as well as a description of each violation, to help homeowners understand the most common causes for receiving a notice. Take a look to see if your violation is on this list. Some may be easy to take care of, such as overgrown hedges or weeds. Others may be more expensive, difficult, and time consuming, such as a damaged roof that needs to be replaced.
It’s important that you understand the cause of your violation quickly, as you only have 30 days to fix the issue before the inspector does a re-inspection of the property. If violations still exist, a second notice will be sent to the property owner. You then have another 30 days to comply with the violation. After this second 30-day compliance period, the inspector will look at the property for a third time. If violations still exist at this point, there are two options:
1) all relevant documents are sent to the magistrate and a hearing will take place, or
2) the property can be boarded up and lien documents will be sent to the Department of Public Works (DPW).
If the matter goes to court, the magistrate has three options:
1) dismiss the case,
2) allow additional time for compliance,
3) issue a fine.
What happens if I don’t fix my Pittsburgh code violation?
If your violation goes unresolved, you will likely face significant fines. Your initial notice of violation likely included these fines in a section called “Penalties and Fees” in your letter. They can be anywhere from $1 to $1,000 per violation, per day until the violation is corrected.
If you are a property owner in Pittsburgh and you’ve received a notice of violation from the city, get in touch with us today. We’ve helped homeowners understand what’s causing their violation, and can often offer a solution to help resolve it. Sometimes this solution involves buying your house. In fact, we can often close on your property in under 30 days – the amount of time you have to comply with the initial violation request. If you’d rather sell your property than pay for the expensive repairs required by the city, fill out our form below and somebody will call you within 24 hours to discuss how we can help.