Inspections Process - Health, Sanitation, and Public Nuisance Code Enforcement

Last Modified: October 24, 2013

All Raleigh residents have a responsibility to make sure their property is clean, safe and free of potential health hazards. The Raleigh City Code and North Carolina state statutes set out the procedures used to control and remove dangers to the public health, and to help ensure a clean, safe and healthy environment in the Capital City as referenced in the City Code Part 10 Sec. 10-6123 and Part 12 Sec. 12-6002.

Violations of the City's Health, Sanitation and Public Nuisance Ordinance are reported by citizens, City Agencies and Code Inspectors. (City Code Part 10 Section Sec. 10-6123 and Part 12 Sec. 12-6002)

  • The inspector will notify the property owner (as identified on the Wake County Tax Records) of any existing violations
  • The property owner has approximately ten (10) days to bring the property into compliance with the City Code
  • The property owner may be assessed an Administrative Fee and/or Civil Penalties if the violation is a repeated condition
  • Failure to correct violations could result in work being done by the City or a contractor. If abated by the City, the owner would receive a notice requesting payment for the work performed in addition to any administrative or legal fees
  • Failure to pay abatement costs could result in a lien being placed against the property

The Housing & Neighborhood Preservation Division of the City of Raleigh Inspections Department is responsible for enforcing public nuisance violations in Raleigh. Penalties are imposed against owners of property who allow these health and safety nuisances to exist on their property. Under an ordinance approved by the City Council that took effect on Jan. 1, 2007, a property owner who abates a nuisance when notified of its existence by the City will not be assessed any fees. However, if the property owner has a second nuisance code violation within 12 months of the first violation, the City will assess the owner an administrative fee of $100 for the second violation plus a minimum $250 civil penalty.

Generally, the City of Raleigh will notify a property owner of a public nuisance violation by first-class mail and possibly posting a notice of violation at the location of the public nuisance. The owner will have ten (10) days from the mailing and/or posting of the notice to correct the violation.

Per City Ordinance (Part 10 Section Sec. 10-6123 and Part 12 Sec. 12-6002) public nuisances include, among others:

  • Any area which serves as a breeding ground or harbor for rodents, harmful insects or other pests;
  • A place of dense growth of weeds or grasses, other than ornamental grasses, that are over eight (8) inches high;
  • A place of shrubs or other similar vegetation over eight (8) inches high when the vegetation encroaches on the sidewalk, parkway, curb or edge of the pavement of any abutting street;
  • A place of vines including, but not limited to, honeysuckle or other similar vegetation that encroaches on the sidewalk, parkway, curb or edge of the pavement of any abutting street, or encroaches on adjoining property;
  • A concentrated growth of kudzu, poison sumac, poison ivy, poison oak or other noxious vegetation that encroaches on any adjoining property with a dwelling or commercial building, or encroaches on the sidewalk, parkway, curb or edge of the pavement of any abutting street;
  • Any collection of stagnant standing water where mosquitoes and other insects tend to breed;
  • Any open place where there is a concentration of combustibles, such as mattresses, boxes, paper, automobile tires and tubes, trash, old clothes, rags or other items;
  • Any concentration of building materials that are not suitable for construction, including concrete, steel or masonry;
  • Any concentration of garbage, animal waste, yard waste or any putrescible matter of any kind which is not maintained for collection in accordance with the Solid Waste collection code. This does not apply to properly maintained compost piles used for agricultural or horticultural purposes;
  • Any open space where junked refrigerators, appliances or household furniture is left, including open porches;
  • Any junk or concentration of litter;
  • Flooding caused by improper or inadequate drainage from private property that interferes with the use of any street, sidewalk, park or other City-owned property;
  • Any condition including, but not limited to, stumps, brush, junk, litter or other materials that block or obstruct the natural flow of a stream, creek or a defined ditch or drain;
  • Any collection of water that has no adequate natural drainage and is or likely will become a menace to public health;
  • Any improperly operated stormwater retention or impoundment device;
  • Any visual obstruction which might constitute a traffic hazard;
  • Nuisance motor vehicles;
  • Any concentration of firewood or logs that are not free of rot and decay;
  • Any tree or tree limb or concentration of branches which have fallen or have been cut except in a heavily wooded lot or a maintained protective yard;
  • Any unhealthy plant or tree which has not been removed or altered within 15 days of notice from the City; or
  • Any other condition declared by the City Council to be a danger to the public health, safety, morals and general welfare of Raleigh residents

In addition, City ordinances (Part 12 Chapter 7) prohibit abandoned and nuisance vehicles. An abandoned motor vehicle is one that is:

  • Left on any public street or highway in violation of a traffic or parking law;
  • Left on any public street or highway longer than seven days;
  • Left on property owned or operated by the City of Raleigh for longer than 24 hours; or,
  • Left on private property without the consent of the property owner, occupant or tenant for longer than two (2) hours

A nuisance motor vehicle is one which:

  • Serves as a breeding ground or harbor for insects, rats or other pests;
  • Is surrounded by heavy growth or weeds or other vegetation over eight inches high;
  • Is being used to store combustibles, such as gasoline, oil or other explosive or flammable materials;
  • Is a collection for garbage, waste or water;
  • Is positioned in such a manner that it may fall, turn over or make an unsafe movement;
  • Is considered unsafe due to jagged metal or broken glass; or,
  • Any other vehicle that the City Council has specifically declared a health and safety hazard and a public nuisance

The City of Raleigh Police Department is responsible for the removal of abandoned or nuisance vehicles from public streets or City-owned property. No notice to the vehicle owner is required. The Housing & Neighborhood Preservation Division of the City's Inspections Department is responsible for the removal of abandoned or nuisance vehicles from private property. The vehicle owner is notified of the violation by a notice affixed to the vehicle and by certified mail. If the violation is not corrected by the date set by the City (no sooner than seven days after the notice is affixed), the vehicle will be towed away at the owner’s expense. To regain possession of the vehicle, the owner must pay storage fees owed to the towing company as well as towing charges. If payment is not made, the towing company will dispose of the vehicle.

City ordinance also prohibits the open storage of two or more vehicles that are:

  • Unlicensed;
  • Uninspected;
  • Wrecked;
  • Crushed; or
  • Partially or totally dismantled

After preliminary inspection and notification of violation by the City, the vehicle owner is given a deadline to remove the vehicle. If the vehicle is not removed by the deadline, the City inspector may issue a civil citation against the owner with an initial fine of $100 per vehicle. If the violation is not corrected after the initial citation is issued, the fine increases to $500 per day until the matter is resolved.

For more information about public nuisances, contact the Housing & Neighborhood Preservation Division of the City of Raleigh Inspections Department at 919-996-2444.

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