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About the Property Maintenance Code Unit
Property Maintenance Code Unit (PMC) is located at 620 SE Madison, 3rd floor. PMC regulates and enforces the 2012 International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC) as adopted by the City of Topeka concerning housing, unsafe structures, sanitation, inoperable/unlicensed vehicles, weeds and graffiti on private property. 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 PMC with specific questions.
The broad purpose of the Property Maintenance Code Unit is to protect public health, safety and welfare and 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. A Code Official will visit the site within 48 hours to determine if a violation exists per the IMPC.
If a violation exists, the property owner will be contacted by mail, phone or in-person as deemed appropriate by the Code Official 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, City ordinances and State statute. Possible best case scenario time lines if there is not voluntary compliance on the part of the owner are:
- Graffiti – 24 hours with a signed consent
- Inoperable vehicles – 21 days
- Sanitation – 21 days
- Housing – 4-6 months
- Unsafe structures – 6-12 months
- Weeds – 14 days
The Property Maintenance Code Unit includes:
- Unit Manager for day to day operations
- 8 Code Officials
- 2-person Abatement Crew
- 2 Administrative Support Staff
An administrative hearing officer conducts impartial hearings requested by property owners after receipt of a violation notice as provided by IPMC. Hearings will be on 1st and 3rd Wednesdays in 2018.
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 30-40 structures are demolished each year either by the city or by the property owner.
The IPMC provisions apply to all existing residential and nonresidential structures and constitute the minimum requirements and standards for those premises. Standards are set for premises, structures, equipment, lighting, ventilation, space, heating, sanitation and protection from the elements. Other issues include life and fire safety, and provisions are set forth as to the responsibility of owners, operators and occupants.
Sanitation violations can include such things as garbage, rubbish, inoperative and unlicensed vehicles, unsecured vacant buildings, brush piles and other conditions that degrade neighborhood appearances and cause harborage for rats, mice and snakes. Items which are considered sanitation 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 10 days plus 3 days for mailing for a total of 13 days from the date of the notice to correct the violation or request an administrative hearing.
PMC 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 10 calendar days plus 3 calendar days for a total of 13 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. The IPMC does not include brush, bushes or trees.
PMC 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.
Standards of measurement for inoperable vehicles include missing windshields, flat tires, no tires, up on jacks, unlicensed/untagged, missing engine/motor or wrecked. Notification is sent to the property owner. Non-compliance will result in the vehicle being towed. Any vehicle on a property must be operable, tagged and parked legally. Problem vehicles or abandoned vehicles on public streets are a police issue and callers should contact the police department at (785) 368-9551.