Dangerous Buildings and Demolitions
Dangerous buildings vary in intensity and type of damage, but share the unfortunate distinction of being the most severe type of residential code violations, and pose the most risk to the surrounding areas. If you believe such a building exists nearby, please contact 311.
The causes of dangerous buildings vary from neglect and abandonment, fires (intentional or accidental), out-of-code repairs that do not result in a safe structure, or catastrophic damage from storms or vehicle accidents. Whatever the cause, the City takes these dangerous structures very seriously and pursues owners to obtain compliance where possible; however if no steps are taken by the owner, the city will have a licensed contractor demolish the structure and bill the owner for the expense to the taxpayers.
All dangerous buildings are evaluated by inspectors according to several objective criteria, including age of the case, severity of the damage to the structure, proximity to parks, schools, and major streets, and likelihood of being repaired. The total ‘score’ helps decide where limited demolition funds will be spent by the City, and is available online, updated approximately weekly. If you have questions about the score or progress on a particular case, please contact the inspector by calling 816-513-8430.
Common conditions which will lead to a building being considered dangerous are listed under Section 56-532 of the Code of Ordinances:
- Exterior walls leaning or buckling;
- Building or any portion thereof is in danger of collapse;
- Building has been damaged by fire, wind, flood, or earthquake;
- Electrical, plumbing, or other mechanical systems have become dangerous or inoperable;
- Roof or walls have holes allowing the entry of weather;
- Foundation has settled or damaged.
Open To Entry (“Board-Ups”)
Structures which are not able to be prevent unauthorized or unlawful entry (usually due to broken/missing windows or doors) are considered a dangerous emergency situation by the City. As such, while every effort is made to contact the owner, the city’s primary goal is to prevent harm and secure the structure.
- The building will be posted with a notice to secure immediately;
- A courtesy letter will be sent to the owner of record (or their agent);
- If the owner or their agent is contactable through the vacant property or rental property registrations, the inspector will do so, and give them a short time to secure the structure themselves;
- If all of these efforts fail, then the city will instruct a contractor to secure the building, and bill the property owner for the expense, plus a $180 administrative fee. This bill can become a lien against the property and a personal debt against the property owner.
- In addition, the inspector may issue a housing court summons or administrative citation against the property owner for failing to secure the structure.