Code Enforcement Unit Code Enforcement Unit - Home | Departments
Photo

Code Enforcement Unit Maps | Graffiti Consent Form | Housing Report by Council District | Housing Report by NIA | Important Phone Numbers | Nuisance Report by Council District | Nuisance Report by NIA | Weed Report by Council District | Weed Report by NIA

Code Enforcement Unit (CEU) is a unit of the Topeka Police Department and is located at 620 SE Madison, 3rd floor. CEU regulates and enforces City ordinances concerning housing, unsafe structures, inoperable vehicles, weeds and graffiti on private property under Title 8, Division 3 of the City of Topeka Municipal Code Oridinance which pertains to "Property Maintenance". Property owners are ultimately responsible for the care and maintenance of their properties, regardless of whether they are the actual occupant(s) or the property houses tenants. Property owners may contact CEU with specific questions.

The Code Enforcement Unit ultimately tries to make properties safer through protection against both criminal elements and personal safety, as well as safer through public health and sanitation procedures which affect everyone.

Complaints about a property can be called in anonymously to (785) 368-3161. An inspector will visit the site within 48 hours to determine if a violation exists per City ordinances.

If a violation exists, the property owner will be contacted by mail, phone or in-person as deemed appropriate by the inspector for the circumstances. Legal requirements of notification are required to property owners on all violations. Reasonable expectations of time frames for resolving a violation will vary from the time of the complaint due to legal notification requirements required by City ordinance and State statute. Possible best case scenario time lines are:

  • Graffiti - 24 hours with a signed consent
  • Inoperable vehicles - 45-60 days
  • Nuisance - 30-45 days
  • Housing - 6-12 months
  • Unsafe structures - 12 months

While the Code Enforcement Unit will continue to perform code enforcement duties, the emphasis has shifted from enforcement as the only solution, to a team approach that involves neighborhood and resident initiatives. CEU staff members will partner with neighborhood groups, individuals residents, property owners and businesses in a variety of anti-blight and crime prevention strategies. CEU will administer a number of programs including dumpsters for cleanups and graffiti removal, and will participate in community initiatives such as Keep America Beautiful, community CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) projects, NIA (Neighborhood Improvement Associations) and NA (Neighborhood Association) meetings, Citizen's Academy, Chief's Roundtable Discussions and various other presentations.

  • Trash
  • Maintenance of your property
  • Vehicles / Parking / Tires
  • Safe housing
  • Demolition
  • Weeds and Uncultivated Vegetation
  • Vacant Houses
  • Graffiti
  • Landlord - Tennant issues
  • NIA's, cleanups, volunteers
  • Next neighborhood cleanup
  • Process of City enforcement

Inspection Staff

The Code Enforcement Unit includes a Lieutenant, a Unit Manager for day to day operations, six Code Enforcement Inspectors, a two-person Abatement Crew, and three Administrative Support Staff.

Administrative Hearings

An administrative hearing officer conducts impartial hearings requested by citizens or scheduled by staff. CEU staff implements programs and participates in meetings and workshops as part of its mission to educate the public and other City employees regarding various code violations. Hearings are held on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the month beginning at 3:30 PM.

Unsafe Structures Code

The Unsafe Structures Code addresses structures that are unfit for human habitation or use and are unsafe due to dilapidation or other conditions that are injurious to the welfare of Topeka residents. Approximately 30 to 40 structures are demolished each year either by the city or by the property owner.

Housing Code

Topeka's Housing Code sets minimum standards for maintenance of all occupied and vacant residential structures to protect the health and well being of the public by correcting and preventing adverse conditions. In contrast to a "building code" which makes very specific requirements for new constriction including such things as materials and measurements, the Housing Code is a performance code which requires that more general elements be present in a property. These elements must be safe and work properly. The Housing Code gives property owners up to 60 days to make the required corrections. An extension can be applied for through the hearing process. The Code Enforcement Unit does not inspect electrical or plumbing problems, only checks to see if utilities exist. Roofing requirements, electrical and plumbing permits and information may be obtained through the Development Services Department at (785) 368-3704. Examples of items which may be considered violations include: peeling or missing paint (10% or more of outside surface), broken windows, holes in roof, dilapidated stairs, porches and foundations, unsecured vacant or abandoned properties and any items which result in a property not being weather tight or structurally sound.

Nuisance Code

Nuisance violations can include such things as trash, inoperative vehicles, unsecured vacant buildings, brush piles and other conditions that degrade neighborhood appearances. Items which are considered "nuisance" items include tires, upholstered furniture and carpeting, mattresses, box springs, cardboard boxes, scrap lumber and scrap metal, vehicle parts, appliances, stagnant water (untreated pools) and any item not intended to be outside or not weather proof. A letter will be sent notifying the recipient of the observed violation and other information. If the violation is not corrected, the City will abate it and charge the property owner for abatement costs as well as a $100 penalty fee. The property owner always has ten days from the receipt of the letter to correct the violation or request an administrative hearing.

Weed Abatement Code

From April to October, CEU conducts the weed and uncultivated vegetation abatement program. If weeds, grass or uncultivated vegetation grows higher than 12 inches, a notice is sent to the property owner who has 7 calendar days from the date of the notice to cut the vegetation. If the vegetation is not cut within the allotted time frame the property owner will receive a penalty bill. If a property is in violation more than once during the calendar year, the property owner may continue to receive penalty bills. Only one violation notice per calendar year is sent out per property. Property owners are responsible for grass/weeds/vegetation in abutting easements, ditches, alleys and right-of-ways.

Graffiti

CEU performs graffiti abatement through coverage or removal. This service is provided free to property owners who sign a consent form, which is available online and may be faxed or mailed to the office or one can also be obtained in person at 620 SE Madison, 3rd floor. Graffiti is a misdemeanor if it is not removed.

Inoperable Vehicles
Standards of measurement for inoperable vehicles include missing windshields, flat tires, no tires, up on jacks or missing mirrors. Notification is sent to the property owner initially, followed by attempts to contact the owner of the vehicle. Non-compliance may result in the vehicle being towed. There is currently no ordinance against the number of vehicles on a property and vehicles parked on private property do not necessarily have to be tagged. Problem vehicles or abandoned vehicles on public streets are a police issue and callers should contact the police deparmtnet at (785) 368-9551.

© City of Topeka