Ordinance No. 437
ORDINANCE PROVIDING FOR CONDEMNED PROPERTY
Sec. 1 – Condemnation of buildings by city.
The mayor and board of aldermen may condemn and cause to be demolished or removed any building or structure within the city when it is in a dilapidated and dangerous condition which endangers the public welfare.
Sec. 2 – Notice to owner.
- Report; service of notice; hearing. Before the board of aldermen may condemn any building or structure, there must be submitted to it a written report recommending the demolition or removal of the building, signed by the building inspector. The mayor shall thereupon serve notice on the owner of the building or structure requiring him to show cause at a meeting of the board of aldermen, regular or special, why the building or structure should not be condemned. The date and hour of the meeting shall be stated in the notice which shall be served at least ten days prior to the date of the hearing, except in case of grave public emergency as provided in subsection (c) of this section. The notice may be served by registered or certified mail, postage prepaid, addressed to the owner at his last known address. The notice may also be served by the chief of police or by any sheriff or deputy sheriff or constable having jurisdiction and power to serve legal process where the owner of the building or structure is found in the state. The officer shall make return of the service as in ordinary cases.
- Service upon absence of owner. If the owner is absent from the state or unrepresented therein, the notice shall be served upon the occupant of the condemned building or structure, if any, and also upon an attorney at law appointed by the mayor to represent the absentee. Domiciliary service may be made as in ordinary cases.
- Short notice in emergencies. In case of grave public emergency where the condition of the building is such as to cause possible immediate loss or damage to person or property, the board of aldermen may condemn the building after 24 hours’ notice served upon the owner or his agent or the occupant and attorney at law appointed to represent.
- Filing of notice. Any notice served pursuant to this section shall be filed with the recorder of mortgages where the property is located. Once filed, the notice shall be deemed notice to all subsequent transferees. Any transferee of such property takes the property subject to all recorded liens, mortgages, and notices thereunto pertaining.
Sec. 3 – Decision of board; order to demolish or repair.
- After the hearing, if, in the opinion of the mayor and board of aldermen, the facts justify it, an order shall be entered condemning the building and ordering that it be demolished or removed within a certain delay. If repairs will correct the dilapidated, dangerous or unsafe condition, the mayor and board of aldermen may grant the owner the option of making such repairs but, in such a case, the general nature or extent of the repairs to be made, the time thereof, and the defects to be corrected shall be specified in the mayor and board of aldermen’s decision.
- The mayor and board of aldermen’s decision and order hall be in writing and shall be final unless appealed within five days as provided in section 4.
Sec. 4 – Appeal from decision of board.
- The owner, occupant, agent or other owner’s representative may appeal the mayor and board of aldermen’s decision to the district court having jurisdiction over the property. The appeal shall be made by the filing of a suit against the city, setting forth the reasons why the mayor and board of aldermen’s decision or order is illegal or improper, and the issue shall be tried de novo and by preference in the district court. Where a grave public emergency has been declared by the mayor and board of aldermen, the building owner who desires to prevent the demolition or removal thereof must file his petition within 48 hours and must, at the time of the filing of the petition, furnish such bond as may be fixed by the district judge to cover any damage that might be caused by the building’s condition.
- Either party may appeal from the judgment of the district court as in other cases.
Sec. 5 – Compliance with decision; demolition by city where owner fails to comply; notice; assistance of National Guard.
- The owner or his designated agent may proceed to demolish and remove the building, or have it repaired, in accordance with the board of aldermen’s order, provided the owner or his agent executes a contract in writing obligating himself to have the work done within the required time and files with the mayor a copy of the contract, together with a bond to guarantee performance.
- If the owner or occupant of the building or structure fails or refuses to comply with the board of aldermen’s decision and fails to appeal within the legal delays proved in this section, then, in that event, the mayor may proceed with the demolition or removal of the condemned building, structure, or public nuisance, in which case neither the mayor nor the city shall be liable in damages.
- Prior to the demolition or removal of the building or structure by the city, the mayor or some official designated by him shall serve notice on the owner, or his agent, and on the occupant of the building, if there is any, or upon the attorney appointed to represent the minor interdict, or absentee owner, giving the time when work will begin upon the demolition or removal of the building, structure, or public nuisance.
- The board of aldermen may request, and the adjutant general may assign, subject to the approval of the governor, National Guard personnel and equipment to assist in the removal and demolition of condemned buildings, structures, or public nuisances. The provisions of this subsection shall be applicable when the budget for the demolition and removal of condemned structures has been expended by the board of aldermen. However, the request must be accompanied by documentation that all procedural protections and substantive restraints have been adhered to by the board of aldermen.
- If all procedural protections and substantive restraints have been adhered to by the board of aldermen, the city and its personnel and the National Guard and its personnel shall not be liable to the owner of the building, structure, or public nuisance for any damages sustained resulting from the demolition of the building, structure, or public nuisance.
Sec. 6 – Lien and privilege for cost of demolition, removal, and maintenance by city.
- Owner’s responsibilities. The city has a privilege and lien upon an immovable and its improvements, and the owner is personally liable for the cost to the city of:
- Maintaining the immovable or improvements; and
- Demolishing or removing, or both, a building or other structure situated upon the immovable or improvements, and all attorney fees incurred by the city in connection with such demolition or removal.
- Maintenance shall include, but not be limited to, grass cutting, weed abatement, and trash and garbage removal.
- Preserved and enforced after refusal by owner to pay costs of city. The privilege and lien shall be preserved and enforced only after the owner has refused, after notification by the city and reasonable opportunity to be heard, to pay the costs incurred by the city.
- Filing of affidavit by city. The privilege and lien shall be preserved by the filing and recording of an affidavit signed by the mayor of the city in the mortgage office of the parish in which the immovable is situated. The affidavit shall include a description of the property sufficient to reasonably identify the immovable and a statement of facts listing the approximate costs incurred by the city.
- Enforcement in district court or by assessment as tax. The privilege and lien shall be enforced by ordinary process in the district court having jurisdiction of the immovable within three years after it is perfected. Alternatively, the privilege and lien may be enforced by assessing the amount of the privilege and lien against the immovable as a tax against the immovable, to be enforced and collected as any ordinary property tax lien to be assessed against the property. The lien and privilege may be collected in the manner fixed for collection of taxes and shall be subject to the same civil penalties for delinquencies. After the city has incurred such costs as constitute the lien and privilege on the property, the mayor and/or any director of any community development department of the city may send an attested bill of the costs and expenses which constitute the lien and privilege to the director of administration, who shall add the amount of the bill to the next tax bill of the owner. The lien obtained by the city pursuant to proper notification and filing shall include not only the costs provided for in subsection (a) of this section, but shall include all attorney’s fees and/or all court costs incurred in the locating of the owner, notification of the owner, and enforcement and collection of the amount secured by the lien against the immovable and improvements. The city may also recover interest on the amounts secured by the lien. The interest shall not exceed the rate of legal interest provided in C.C. art. 2924 and shall be computed from the date of recordation of the lien until paid. The city’s privilege and lien shall prime all other liens or privileges against the property filed after the notice to the owner to show cause is filed with the recorder of mortgages pursuant to R.S. 33:4762(D), regardless of the date on which the city’s lien and privilege is perfected, except that the city’s lien and privilege will not prime other tax liens against the property.
- Cancellation of lien. The lien shall not be cancelled until after payment of all amounts, including costs, attorney fees, and interest.
Sec. 7 – Attorney appointed by city to represent absentee, minor or interdict.
If the building or structure is unoccupied and its owner is absent from the state and unrepresented therein, or if the building is owned by a minor who has no tutor or an interdict who has no curator, the mayor shall appoint an attorney to represent the absentee, minor or interdict upon whom the notices and other proceedings provided in this article may be served. The attorney shall be paid a reasonable fee to be taxed as cost.
This ordinance supersedes any other like ordinance.
Thus done and on a motion made by Peggy Adkins and seconded by Michael Corley, motion carried.