Special General Election April 16, 2024

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Blight Complaint FAQ

What are the different types of blight cases?

Blight violations are civil cases. Formerly processed as criminal misdemeanors, they were adjudicated at the 36th District Court. The new method of handling blight violations, under the Department of Administrative Appeals  (DAH), is designed to be more efficient. Cases that come before the DAH include violations of property maintenance, zoning, solid waste, dangerous buildings, and illegal dumping ordinances.

 

PROPERTY MAINTENANCE
Blight Violation Notices are issued by building and health inspectors and by police officers. Violations in these cases include, but are not limited to:

  • Failure to obtain certificate of compliance
  • Failure to obtain a certificate of rental registration
  • Rat harborage
  • Failure to remove snow and ice
  • Inoperable vehicles
  • Failure to maintain exterior of property
  • Failure to comply with emergency orders

ZONING
Blight Violation Notices are issued by building inspectors. Violations in these cases include, but are not limited to:

  • Violations of special land use grants
  • Change of land use without a permit
  • Change of building use without a permit
  • Failure to obtain the required certificate of maintenance of grant conditions

SOLID WASTE AND ILLEGAL DUMPING
Blight Violation Notices in these cases are issued by health and environmental inspectors, and police officers. Violations in these cases include, but are not limited to:

  • Early or late placement of courville containers at the curb
  • Improper set-out of bulk waste
  • Improper storage of solid waste
  • Animal and fowl excrement violations
  • Illegal dumping

DANGEROUS BUILDING
DETROIT CITY CODE: Sec. 8-17-12. Civil fines for Dangerous Building Violations.*
(a)     The following schedule of civil fines shall be assessed and paid at the Department of Appeals and Hearings for the specified violations of this article: 

  •  Owner has kept or maintained building or structure so that a part of the building or structure is likely to fall, become detached or dislodged, or collapse and injure persons or damage property. 
  • Owner has kept or maintained building or structure so that a building or structure, or a part of the building or structure, because of dilapidation, deterioration, decay, faulty construction, the removal or movement of some portion of the ground necessary for the support of such building or structure, or portion thereof, or for other reason, is likely to partially or completely collapse, or some portion of the foundation or underpinning of the building or structure is likely to fall or give way. 
  • Owner has kept or maintained building or structure so that a portion of the building or structure has settled to an extent that walls or other structural portions of the building or structure have materially less resistance to wind than is required in the case of new construction by the Housing Law of Michigan, being MCL 125.401 et seq., or by the Michigan Building Code that the City of Detroit has agreed to administer and enforce under Chapter 8, Article II, of the 2019 Detroit City Code, Building Code, which contains the City's additions to the Michigan Building Code. 
  • Owner has kept or maintained building or structure so that a portion of the building or structure is damaged by fire, wind, flood, deterioration, neglect, abandonment, vandalism, or other cause so that the structural strength or stability of the building or structure is appreciably less than before the damage and does not meet the minimum requirements for a new building or structure, purpose, or location under the Housing Law of Michigan, being MCL 125.401 et seq., or under the Michigan Building Code that the City of Detroit has agreed to administer and enforce under Chapter 8, Article II, of the 2019 Detroit City Code, Building Code, which contains the City's additions to the Michigan Building Code.
  • Owner has kept or maintained building or structure so that a building or structure is vacant, dilapidated, and open at door or window, leaving the interior of the building exposed to the elements or accessible to entrance by trespassers. 
  • Owner has kept or maintained building or structure so that the building or structure is damaged by fire, wind or flood, is dilapidated or deteriorated and becomes an attractive nuisance to children who might play in the building or structure to their danger, becomes a harbor for vagrants, criminals or immoral persons, or enables persons to resort to the building or structure for committing a nuisance or an unlawful or immoral act. 
  • Owner has kept or maintained building or structure so that a building or structure used or intended to be used for dwelling purposes, including the adjoining grounds, because of dilapidation, decay, damage, faulty construction or arrangement, or for other reason, is unsanitary or unfit for human habitation, is in a condition that the Director of the Health Department determines is likely to cause sickness or disease, or is likely to injure the health, safety, or general welfare of people living in the dwelling. 
  • Owner has kept or maintained building or structure so that a building or structure, or a part of the building or structure, is manifestly unsafe for the purpose for which it is used. IX.     Owner has kept or maintained building or structure so that a door, aisle, passageway, stairway or other means of exit does not conform to Chapter 18, Article I, of the 2019 Detroit City Code, Detroit Fire Prevention and Protection Code.
What are the penalties and fines?

The City will actively and aggressively pursue violators, and the collection of fines. Fines are outlined for specific violations in the Detroit City Code and listed on each Blight Violation Notice. Hearing officers cannot impose jail time for any violations. The maximum fine that can be imposed is $10,000.

If a citizen ignores a Blight Violation Notice, a decision and order of default will be issued finding the citizen responsible for the violation alleged in the Blight Violation Notice.

Failure to pay fines, fees and costs will result in collection actions being started against the violator, which may include garnishment of wages and/or judgment liens being placed upon property.

What payment methods are available?

There are various payment options for a Blight Violation Notice (BVN). Payments can be made in person at the Department of Administrative Hearings (DAH) during business hours, by mail, or via telephone for credit card payments. The DAH accepts cash, personal checks, money orders, certified checks, and VISA, Mastercard and Discovery cards. 

Online Payments: https://app.detroitmi.gov:8443/DAHOnline/

Payment discount and penalty - Timely payment is essential:

  • A FINE paid BEFORE the scheduled hearing date will be reduced by 10%
  • A FINE paid AFTER the scheduled hearing date will be increased by 10%

NOTE: The date of receipt of the payment by the DAH determines whether a discount or penalty applies.

Administrative fee mandated by law:
There is a legislatively-mandated $30 administrative fee ($20 city administrative fee and $10.00 State Justice assessment) for the processing and adjudication of this Blight Violation Notice.

How do I dispute a Blight Violation Notice (ticket)?

The Blight Violation Notice (ticket) states the specific violation, the date, time, place that the alleged violation occurred and payment options concerning the fine, and punctually attend the hearing that is scheduled by the Department of Appeals and Hearings to address your Blight Violation Ticket(s).

 An appearance at a hearing is required to contest the alleged violation. Blight Violation Notices also state the date, time and place of the scheduled hearing. Questions must be directed to the department that issued the violation. If it is believed that the citation was issued by mistake, it is strongly recommended to have all concerns addressed during the scheduled hearing. The consequences of ignoring a Blight Violation Notice may result in an uncontested decision and order of default being issued against the alleged violator.

 Contact the Buildings, Safety Engineering and Environmental Department (BSEED) and ask to speak to the Property Maintenance Division supervisor.

TO CONTACT  CUSTOMER SERVICE AT THE DEPARTMENT OF APPEALS AND HEARINGS:

(313-224-0098) 
 

What happens if a Blight Violation Notice is ignored?

If you do not appear at your hearing or ignore a Blight Violation Notice, a hearing officer will enter a decision and order of default against you, based upon the violations alleged in the notice.  A decision and order of default can be used to place a lien on your property, garnish your wages, and/or affect your credit.  The city usually requests that the maximum fine be imposed in default matters if the violation alleged in the notice was subject to a range of fines.