Strategic Code Enforcement

Strategic code enforcement is a powerful tool that communities dealing with vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties can use to address health and safety concerns of problem properties and stabilize neighborhoods experiencing decline.

Code enforcement includes all the elements involved in obtaining compliance from private owners of vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties. Strategic code enforcement focuses on maximizing compliance while minimizing intervention from local government. It is an approach to code enforcement that uses data and community input to make the most of limited resources to achieve a community’s goals. 

Equitable, efficient, and effective code enforcement is one of the most promising approaches to vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties.  

  • Equitable code enforcement recognizes differences in circumstances and provides the necessary support and protections to property owners in more positions. Equitable code enforcement responds to individual hardship while still working to improve property conditions. 
  • Efficient code enforcement achieves compliance in the shortest time and at the lowest public cost. 
  • Effective code enforcement results in an improved property that meets local standards. Property owners might comply voluntarily, or local governments can take action to abate the nuisance and either recover costs or compel the transfer of the problem property to a new responsible owner. 

Communities can make the most of their time and resources by responding to code violations in supportive ways, rather than just being punitive. By working in partnership with property owners, they can improve conditions for an entire neighborhood. 

A blue-painted residential structure under construction.
Download our Strategic Code Enforcement Progress Points:
Strategic Code Enforcement Resources
How Communities are Helping with Rehab and Repair

There are state, local, and national programs available to help property owners combat deferred maintenance issues, like providing supplies and discounted services, and supplying financial tools that help property owners make critical health and safety repairs, improve energy efficiency, and enhance the building quality.

Learn more about programs across the country that are helping property owners address maintenance and repair needs.

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of occupied housing units reported at least one repair need in 2017, according to the American Housing Survey

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For more information on how Community Progress can help advance your strategic code enforcement work, check out: our services and technical assistance, or send us a message to request help.