What Causes a House to Be Condemned

What Makes A House Condemned

Are you concerned that your house may be at risk of condemnation? Understanding the specific factors that can lead to this situation can save you from a lot of trouble. But what is a condemned home? A condemned building, house, or any private property goes beyond mere abandonment. 

It typically involves properties that are unsightly, hazardous, and pose a danger to the community. But what exactly triggers local government condemnation? Let us delve into the following insights to gain clarity on this matter. 

We will explore a condemned house’s meaning, what causes a house to be condemned when government authorities give your property a condemned status, and how to seek legal advice. 

From structural problems to health hazards, we’ll uncover the factors behind house condemnation. Join us as we unravel this topic and understand why some houses face this significant decision.

Causes of House Condemnation

Several common reasons can lead to the condemnation of a house by a government entity. These include:

Black Mold: Houses with extensive black mold growth pose serious health risks to occupants and may be condemned to protect public health.

Failing Infrastructure: Properties with failing infrastructure, such as plumbing, electrical systems, or roofing, may lead to condemned housing. They pose safety concerns and the risk of structural failure.

General Disrepair: The government can condemn a house if it is in a state of general disrepair, with significant deterioration of walls, floors, ceilings, or other structural components. If any property is deemed unsafe for occupancy, it can be condemned.

Structural Issues: Houses with structural issues, such as foundation problems, sagging floors, or compromised load-bearing walls, maybe condemned due to the risk of collapse or other safety hazards.

Termite Damage: Properties with extensive termite damage that compromises the structural integrity of the house may be condemned. It can prevent further deterioration and protect public safety.

Unsanitary Living Conditions: Houses with unsanitary living conditions, such as sewage backups, pest infestations, or accumulations of garbage or debris, may be condemned. The authorities do this to prevent the spread of disease and maintain public health standards.

Each of these issues presents severe risks to occupants and neighboring properties. Government authorities may take action to condemn houses to ensure the safety and well-being of the community.

Types of Issues That Typically Condemn a House

Many factors can lead to the condemnation of a house by local authorities. Here are some common causes:

Structural Deficiencies

The authorities can condemn houses having significant structural defects, such as foundation issues, severe structural damage, or compromised integrity due to safety concerns.

Housing Code Violations

Houses that fail to meet building code requirements or violate zoning regulations may face condemnation. It could include illegal additions, improper electrical or plumbing systems, or lack of proper permits for renovations.

Health and Sanitation Issues

Properties with severe health hazards, such as mold infestations, pest infestations, or sewage problems, may be condemned to protect public health.

Fire Damage

The government can condemn houses that have sustained extensive fire damage and are deemed uninhabitable. They take the action to prevent further risk of fire or collapse.


Houses that are left vacant and neglected for an extended period are eligible for condemnation. These real estate properties lead to deterioration and become a nuisance to the community or public use.

Environmental Hazards

Properties located in areas prone to environmental hazards, such as flooding, landslides, or contamination can take years of necessary repairs. They can be condemned to mitigate risks to occupants and neighboring properties.

Unsafe Living Conditions

Houses that pose immediate risks to occupants’ safety, such as lack of adequate heating, ventilation, or utilities are prone to condemnation to prevent injury or harm.

Public Nuisance

Properties that become havens for criminal activity, drug use, or other illegal activities may be condemned to protect public safety and community well-being.

Unpaid Fines or Taxes

Houses owned by individuals who have failed to pay property taxes or fines imposed by local authorities may face condemnation as a means of enforcement.

Court Orders

In some cases, houses may be condemned based on court orders resulting from legal disputes, eminent domain proceedings, or other judicial actions.

It’s important to note that the specific criteria for condemning a house may vary depending on local ordinances and regulations. Property owners facing condemnation have the opportunity to address the issues or contest the condemnation through legal channels.

Should You Fix Your Condemned House

Deciding whether to fix a condemned house depends on various factors, including the extent of the damage, the cost of repairs, local regulations, and your long-term plans for the property.

Assess the extent of the damage to your condemned house. If the damage is minor and primarily cosmetic, repairs may be feasible. However, if the structural integrity of the house is compromised or if there are extensive health hazards, repairs may be more challenging and costly.

Obtain estimates from qualified contractors or a realtor to determine the cost of repairing the condemned house. Compare the cost of repairs to the property value and consider whether the investment is financially viable.

You can also research local regulations and building codes to understand the requirements for repairing a condemned house. Depending on the severity of the damage, you may need to obtain permits and comply with specific guidelines for rehabilitation.

Apart from all the factors, consider your long-term plans for the property. If you intend to live in the house or use it for rental income, repairing the condemned house may be worthwhile. However, if you plan to sell your house for cash or buy a new home, it may be more practical to demolish the house.

Moreover, review your insurance policy to determine if any of the damage to your condemned house is covered. Depending on the cause of the damage, you may be eligible for insurance proceeds to offset the cost of repairs.

Main Issues You Should Fix When Your House is Condemned

Main Issues You Should Fix When Your House is Condemned

When your house is condemned, you can do minimum fixing to bring the property up to acceptable standards and ensure its safety. These issues typically include:

Structural Deficiencies

Address any structural deficiencies that pose safety risks. Repairing these issues is essential to ensure stability even if you want to resale the house.

Health Hazards

Remediate health hazards within the property, such as mold infestations, pest infestations, asbestos, lead-based paint, or other environmental contaminants. These hazards can pose serious health risks to occupants and must be properly addressed to create a safe living environment.

Safety Hazards

Fix safety hazards throughout the property, including electrical hazards, faulty wiring, inadequate ventilation, fire hazards, or trip and fall hazards. Ensuring that the property meets safety standards is critical to protect occupants from injury or harm.

Sanitation Issues

Address sanitation issues, such as sewage backups, plumbing leaks, standing water, or accumulations of garbage or debris. Proper sanitation helps to maintain a healthy living environment and prevent the spread of disease.

Code Violations

Rectify any violations of building codes, zoning regulations, or housing ordinances identified by local authorities. Bringing the property into compliance with applicable regulations is necessary to avoid further legal action and ensure its lawful occupancy.

Utility Services

Restore essential utility services, such as water, electricity, heating, and ventilation, to ensure that the property is functional and habitable. Adequate utility services are necessary for the health, safety, and well-being of occupants.


Ensure that the property is accessible and usable for individuals with disabilities, including providing accessible entrances, pathways, and facilities as required by accessibility standards.

Addressing these main issues when your house is condemned can restore the property to a habitable condition and comply with legal requirements.

Don’t Waste Time Fixing These Issues on a Condemned House

While it’s critical to address certain issues promptly when your house is condemned, there are some instances where it may not be the practical or cost-effective decision to proceed with repairs. 

In such cases, consulting with experts like Cream City Home Buyers can provide valuable guidance and alternative solutions. Cream City Home Buyers, a locally owned home-buying company based in Milwaukee, specializes in purchasing houses in various conditions, including those that are condemned. 

Serving the greater metropolitan area, including Waukesha, Ozaukee, and Racine County, Cream City Home Buyers offers a hassle-free process to sell a house that needs repairs

By turning to experts, you can avoid wasting time and resources on repairs that may not yield a satisfactory outcome. It allows you to move forward with confidence and peace of mind.

Final Thoughts

Understanding the factors that can lead to a house being condemned is necessary for homeowners and property owners. From structural deficiencies to health hazards and code violations, various issues can trigger government condemnation, posing risks to occupants and the community. 

While addressing these issues promptly can save you from further complications, it’s also important to recognize when repairs may not be the right decision. 

In such cases, consulting experts like Cream City Home Buyers can provide alternative solutions. They offer a hassle-free process for selling condemned properties. Their fair market value and precise assessment can give you a great deal.

If you need to sell your house in Shorewood, we can help. We buy properties in a lot of places. For example, we buy houses in New Berlin too.

With our expertise and assistance, homeowners can navigate the challenges of condemned properties easily. 

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