Vacant and Abandoned Dwellings
Newburgh Heights ordinance 1351.07 regulates when structures shall be registered as a vacant dwelling and 1333.05 lays out the requirements for owners who have a vacant dwelling or abandoned property.
If you need to register or renew your vacant dwelling contact the Housing and Building Department immediately. Registration forms are available online. If your property is no longer vacant contact the Housing and Building Department immediately.
The Village of Newburgh Heights is committed to identifying and assisting owners with vacant dwellings. Often, these properties are targeted by criminals, cause blight, or suffer serious consequences if not properly maintained. All property owners are required to maintain their properties and owners living outside Cuyahoga County must retain an agent or property manager with an office in-county to handle issues that may arise. Furthermore, property insurance is required as prescribed by ordinance 1333.05.
If you haven’t already, winterize your home! Read more about winterizing a vacant house, along with good tips on preventing your house from becoming a target of a break-in. If you do know that your house has been broken-in or vandalized contact the Newburgh Heights Police Department at 216-641-2117.
Selling and Point-of-Sale Inspections
If you are interested in selling your vacant dwelling, the Housing & Building Department can assist you with the process.
For a limited time, until April 1, 2022 the Point-of-Sale fee will be waived for all owners of a vacant dwelling. You must schedule and follow through with the point-of-sale inspection by April 1, 2022.
Applying for a Point of Sale is easy. Simply fill out the application and mail, email or drop it off at the Village Hall Administration Building.
The Housing & Building Department is here to assist and guide home owners. The office is open Monday-Thursday from 9am-3:30pm or by appointment. The website is helpful and has all of the information and forms you may need to conduct housing business in Newburgh Heights. We are also on Facebook. Please feel welcome to contact via phone, email or in person (masks required).
1333.05 VACANT OR ABANDONED STRUCTURES.
(1) “Vacant”: A structure shall be considered “vacant” for the purposes of this chapter if it has not been occupied for a period of six (6) consecutive months or more, except a structure shall not be considered vacant if it is only seasonally not occupied and such period is less than twelve (12) months. A structure shall be considered “vacant” for the purpose of this chapter even if it is being maintained on the exterior, and even if the owner of the property is actively attempting to sell or rent the property.
(2) “Abandoned”: An “abandoned” structure is a structure that is not occupied for any period of time during which the Village has not been able to communicate with or located an owner or party with the legal authority to be in control of the property, and after the Village has made reasonable attempts to communicate with or locate the owner or a party in control.
(3) “Occupied”: “Occupied” shall mean the presence of a person or persons either:
A. Living in a structure and using some portion of such structure as a dwelling unit, as defined in the Codified Ordinances of the Village; or
B. Working in a structure and using some portion of the structure for the operation of a business.
(4) “Property”: “Property” shall mean all portions of the real estate of a parcel in the Village, including lands and structures of every type.
(b) Any structure that contains a structure that is vacant or abandoned shall be considered a nuisance unless and until the owner, agent, lessee or party in control of the property shall, at minimum, take all actions required in this section. The exterior of a vacant or abandoned structure, including the property and structure, shall be maintained in compliance with all applicable ordinances of the Village, and the interior shall be maintained in a safe, secure and preserved manner to prevent and abate any threat to the health or safety of the public or anyone entering the structure, and to prevent and abate any threat of fire or health violation, or to its structural or historical integrity. The structure shall be winterized to prevent freezing of pipes, and all points of entry shall be kept locked and secure. Sufficient property and liability insurance shall be maintained covering the property up to an amount at least equal to the fair market value of the property. The Village shall provide the insurance carrier, if known, and any lien holder of record for the property a written notice of the requirements of this section and that the property is considered vacant or abandoned property in violation of this section or any other ordinance applicable to the property or structure to provide proof of insurance, and no owner or agent shall fail to provide such proof when so ordered.
(c) The Commissioner may take any action necessary to inspect a vacant or abandoned property, and to abate a vacant or abandoned property nuisance, as authorized in this chapter. Upon inspection of a vacant or abandoned structure, the Commissioner may take any action authorized by law to ensure that the property, including the structure, is maintained according to the requirements of all applicable ordinances.
(d) No insurance company doing business in the Village shall pay a claim of any named insured, including any lien holder, for damage to a vacant or abandoned structure, other than fire damage, unless and until the carrier follows the procedures in this section. The carrier shall request from the Village an affidavit signed by the Commissioner that states whether the Village has any unpaid costs or whether any abatement orders have been issued containing an estimated cost of work associated with the abatement of any existing nuisance condition, as defined in this chapter, at the insured property. The Village shall provide an affidavit in response to the request of a insurance carrier within thirty (30) days of receiving a request. If the affidavit states that the Village has no unpaid costs or outstanding abatement orders, the carrier may pay the claim. If the affidavit states that there are unpaid costs, the insurance carrier shall pay to the Village such costs or the full amount of the claim owed to the insured, whichever is less. If the affidavit states that there is an outstanding abatement order, the insurer shall pay into an escrow fund established for the purpose of this section the amount of the estimated cost of abatement or the full amount owed to the insured, whichever is less. Funds shall be disbursed from the escrow to the Village upon the presentation of an invoice showing the amount incurred by the Village to abate the nuisance. Funds shall be disbursed to the insured only upon the written authorization of the Clerk-Treasurer, which shall be provided after the Village is provided proof that the nuisance has been abated, or that an amount equal to the amount in escrow has been expended in the performance of work to abate the nuisance on the property.
(Ord. 2007-26. Passed 9-18-07.)
1351.07 REGISTRATION OF VACANT DWELLING STRUCTURES.
(a) The owner(s) of any dwelling structure that has become vacant, as defined in subsection (d) of this Section 1351.07, shall within sixty (60) days after the structure becomes vacant, or within thirty (30) days after the effective date of this Section 1351.07, whichever is later, register with the Building Commissioner and designate an authorized agent located in Cuyahoga County for each vacant dwelling structure. The registration shall remain valid for one year from the date of registration. The owner shall be required to annually renew the registration as long as the dwelling structure remains vacant and shall pay an annual registration fee of one hundred dollars ($100.00) for each registered dwelling structure. The owner shall notify the Building Commissioner within twenty (20) days of any change in the registration information by filing an amended registration statement on a form provided by the Building Commissioner for such purposes. The registration statement shall be deemed prima facie proof of the statements therein contained in any administrative enforcement proceeding or court proceeding instituted by the Village against the owner or owners of the dwelling structure. The failure of the owner of the vacant dwelling structure to obtain a deed for the property or to file the deed with the County Recorder shall not excuse the owner from compliance with this Section 1351.07.
(b) If a foreclosure action has been filed with respect to property containing a vacant dwelling structure, the plaintiff in the foreclosure action shall be required to comply with the provisions of this Section 1351.07 if both of the following apply:
(1) The plaintiff in the foreclosure action is a mortgagee of the property; and
(2) The plaintiff in the foreclosure action has assumed possession or control of the property.
(c) In addition to any other information required by the Building Commissioner, the registration statement shall include the name, street address and telephone number of a natural person eighteen (18) years of age or older, designated by the owner or owners as the authorized agent for receiving, on behalf of such owner or owners, notices of violations of Village ordinances and for receiving process, in any court proceeding or administrative enforcement proceeding related to the use or maintenance of the property or the dwelling structure, including but not limited to notices and processes served in connection with the enforcement of the Village Housing Maintenance Code and/or Building Code. The authorized agent must maintain a physical office in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, or must actually reside within Cuyahoga County, Ohio. An owner who is a natural person and who meets the requirements of this subsection as to location of residence or office may designate himself as agent. By designating an authorized agent under the provisions of this Section 1351.07, the owner is consenting to receive any and all notices of violations of Village ordinances and to receive process, in any court proceeding or administrative enforcement proceeding related to the use or maintenance of the property or dwelling structure, including but not limited to proceedings related to the enforcement of the Village Housing Maintenance Code and/or Building Code, by service of the notice or process on the authorized agent. Any owner who has designated an authorized agent under the provisions of this section shall be deemed to consent to the continuation of the agent’s designation for the purpose of this section until the owner notifies the Building Commissioner in writing of a change of authorized agent or until the owner files a new annual registration statement.
(d) For purposes of this Section 1351.07, “vacant” means a structure which is lacking habitual presence of human beings who have a legal right to be on the premises, or at which substantially all lawful residential occupancy has ceased, or which is substantially devoid of contents. In determining whether a dwelling structure is vacant, it is relevant to consider, among other factors, the percentage of the overall square footage of the structure or floor area to the occupied space, the condition and value of any items in the structure and the presence of rental or for sale signs on the property; provided that a dwelling structure shall not be deemed vacant if it has been used as a residence by a person entitled to possession for a period of at least three months within the previous nine month period and a person entitled to possession intends to resume residing at the property; and further provided that a dwelling structure containing more than one dwelling unit shall be considered vacant when all of the dwelling units within the structure are vacant. If an owner fails to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy for any structure for which a certificate of occupancy is required or a rental registration is required pursuant to Section 1353.03 of the Codified Ordinances, the structure will be presumed vacant.
(e) Whoever fails to comply with the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable by up to six months in jail and up to a one thousand dollar ($1,000) fine. Each and every day in violation shall constitute a separate offense.