Condemned Houses: What to Know When a House is Condemned

Most people think that when a house is condemned, it is unsafe and uninhabitable, like in a hoarder house situation or after fire damage. A condemned house is a property sometimes deemed unsuitable for habitation by the government or local housing authority. This usually happens when a house significantly damages the structure or has been poorly maintained for a long time.

While this is true most of the time, there are times when it is not. Local authorities will also condemn commercial property.

A property can also be considered condemned so that a local government entity, and in some states, private entities, acquire the property through legal actions and condemn houses under eminent domain. In this action, they obtain the property for public use, such as street expansion. A property owner does have the right to contest the condemnation process or seek fair market value during this process. If the government has deemed your house condemned, keep reading to learn more about the process and what you can do.

condemned houses Chicago Illinois sign

Common Reasons a House May Have Condemned Status

There are two common reasons that a house is condemned. There will be breakdowns in the health or sanitation of the property, or there can be safety concerns. Generally, you will see a breakdown in maintenance, cleaning, or improving the property. Throw in the occasional act of God, which will generally be why a house may end in a condemned status.

A breakdown in the maintenance of the property can cause issues. Consider how a break in the supply or drainage of your plumbing can cause moisture issues. This can lead to mold, leaving the air unsafe to breath. An inability to keep the property clean, like in a clutter issue, or hoarder houses, can lead to pest infestations and code violations. Finally, being unable to improve the property, like when a roof wears down, can lead to a ceiling collapsing and other significant structural damage, making the condemned house a safety hazard.

Acts of God, or natural disasters, are unpredictable. You will not know when you will get a house fire or storm damage. However, this can lead to severe health and safety concerns, including structural damage.

Can You Live in Condemned Houses?

Most times, you can not live in a condemned house. In housing code violations, a local government spokesperson will deem the house unsafe for human habitation and possibly unsanitary living conditions. Once a sentence condemning a house has been issued, it would it illegal for anyone to live there. In instances like this, a building inspector has cited specific hazards making the occupancy unsafe.

You can face penalties, fines, and possibly jail time if caught. A condemned house can be dangerous and have extreme health and safety concerns. A condemned property can also have serious deterioration and structural damage, making living there too dangerous.

Who is Condemning a House?

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The government condemns houses. It is typically your local city government but can also be county or state government. Sometimes the local government agencies appoint private parties to act on their behalf.

How Long Does it Take For a House to Have Condemned Status?

Two big factors help answer this. They are what is the condition of the condemned property, and why? Keep in mind that these will vary from town to town, county to county, and even state to state.

If the house is dilapidated and deemed unsafe, the owner will often be allowed to make repairs. The temporary condemnation notice will be upheld if the repairs can not be completed. This can occur in as little as three months.

If the house is being condemned for eminent domain, there is often a legal process and litigation that must occur. This can mean that condemning a property this way can be up to 18 months. It would be best to seek legal advice if facing such cases.

Eminent Domain Can Be Exercised on Non-Condemned Houses

Federal government, state, and local government can eminently acquire property through the 5th Amendment. When this occurs, the governing authority will start the proceedings to change private property for public use. They can use the once private property in a public project and will be owned by either local authorities or private parties for public use, such as the local electric company.

home condemned for eminent domain Illinois

A few things to note about eminent domain: these rarely have building code violations, and the condemning authority must provide a notice of seizure and just compensation. This can be done at any time through the process, but in the end, the government only has to offer what they believe to be fair market value. Since that requires two parties to not be under duress for a true fair market value, you may not get what you think is fair.

A tip to get closer to a value you deem fair is to get at least three professional valuations to engage the party looking to acquire the property and look for a compromise early in the process.

What Happens When a House is Condemned?

When a property is condemned, the property owner is notified. If people still live in the home, they can choose to fix the home or leave it.

Consider, though, that if the house was allowed to get into this condition, the owner may need more funds to fix the house properly to avoid any further code violations. They must apply for all proper permits with the local building authority and have the work completed up to building codes within the time frame given by local authorities.

In cases of no restoration of ruined property, government can have it demolished at your cost.

house condemnation Chicago

What are The Rights of the Owner of a Condemned Property?

The property owner of any condemned properties have the right to know the reason for it being condemned and the time of its demolishment if it is likely. Owners also have the right to be present at the sale of the condemned property and to know the sale date. There are no good reasons to want your home condemned.

Can You Sell a Condemned Building?

Selling a condemned house is technically not allowed. You can, however sell the property it sits on. For most traditional buyers, this will not be a project that will look to take on, and it will take a lot of work to get a mortgage loan. Selling with a real estate agent may be out of the question.

Selling a condemned property.

house condemned for sale Chicago

A house in condemned status will require you to sell it for much less than what it is worth. Consider that any buyer may have to tear down the whole house and remove the remnants from the land. You will most likely want to sell a condemned house to real estate investors and cash home buyers like SILT Real Estate and Investments, LLC.

We can help you sell a condemned house quickly. Not only will you sell your house fast, you’ll not have to worry about any safety hazards and doing any time consuming repairs, and we’ll cover all the closing costs.

They may also be able to give you more than a traditional buyer because they will keep it as a rental property and their purchase price isn’t fixed to property values.

Empty condemned properties make buyers believe they can offer a lower home purchase price.

Even when listed by real estate agents, an on-market sale will take a lot of work to get a fair offer for your property quickly. It is likely to sit for a long period of time and may only attract lowball offers. They will want a bargain and will not know the cost to repair the property to proper building codes because they are unlikely to find enough for a down payment and closing costs for a loan that allows mortgage payments.

Can You Repair Condemned Houses?

what does it mean when a house is condemned Chicago

Yes, you can repair a condemned house. Making repairs to condemned houses can be costly and time consuming. Usually, they have been considered unsafe already and may have major structural problems. Making the necessary repairs will need to be done by professionals.

Some condemned houses can be fixed.

Your home should come into compliance with building code for re-occupancy. Some issues resulting in condemnation are too serious and can not be fixed. Usually, the building must be demolished to create a new building from scratch.

If you feel your condemned home can be repaired, seek help immediately to get the necessary repairs started immediately.

Can You Buy a Condemned Home?

houses condemned Chicago

You will be buying something that has been deemed unsafe for human habitation. You will most likely need to be cash buyers for the condemned property.

What you should know when buying condemned houses.

Do you need some guidance in purchasing a house that’s been condemned? Buying a condemned home for sale may require a cash purchase, as most mortgage lenders won’t allow a loan on it. So, you must understand what a condemned house means.

When entering into an agreement to buy, you should know the costs of repairs and any outstanding liens. You should speak with the code enforcement officer about any lingering issues so you know exactly what you’re walking into.

Cons of buying a condemned building.

Condemned houses can be great with the forced equity you’ll acquire. As the new property owner, you’ll need to work with local authorities to fix any code violations and make all necessary repairs to the condemned home.

This can take a lot of time and be very costly, especially if facing structural issues. Buying a condemned home may not be the right option if you’re looking for a quick process and to move in right away. It may even require the home to be torn down to build a new one. Which may be difficult to find a loan and a builder if property values don’t support new builds.

Frequently Asked Questions of a Condemned Building

condemned home FAQs Illinois

How much does a condemned house cost?

As with any sale, costs vary considerably from house to house. Value in a condemned home depends mainly on what causes the condemnation.

Generally, it’s much more important when a house is restored than when it is demolished. If it has been destroyed, you only have land value. The value of condemned homes can be measured and compared just as with it in general.

What Happens To the Mortgage in Condemned Houses?

There is usually no negative effect on the mortgage or credit if the home is considered condemned. However depending on the status of condemnation, your mortgage holder may step in to try and take ownership before the whole process is played out. If the case is resolved, the property title is transferred, and the home is converted into a lien with similar priority to the contested award.

What happens to the mortgage payments when a house is condemned?

When a house is condemned, you will still be responsible for making the mortgage payments. A condemnation notice does not relieve you from paying your mortgage loan. We advise you to seek legal counsel to help you if you’re currently facing this situation.

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