Frequently Asked Questions

What is the penalty for a sanitation violation?
Fees are set by City ordinance. There is a $100 fee for non-compliance within the time period given. Additionally, if the City as to abate (clean) the property, there is another $140.00 administrative fee and the actual costs of the abatement.

My neighbor has vehicles all over his back yard; what can I do?
If the vehicles appear inoperable or are not licensed and we are able to view them from public access, we can send notice of violation.

How long do I have to mow my grass after I receive a violation notice?
You have 7 days from the date of the letter.

How tall can grass/weeds get before it is considered a violation?
Grass and weeds can be no longer than 12 inches. You may lodge a complaint anonymously by calling 785-368-3161. The property owner will have 14 days to comply, or risk paying fines.

Why can’t you just go on the property and pick up all the trash and junk?
Private property owners are entitled to Due Process by the Constitution and we have to notify them and give them a reasonable time frame to come into compliance. If they do not, then we need a warrant to enter onto the property to remove the violation.

Who is responsible for mowing easements, right-of-ways, alleys and ditches?
The abutting property owner is responsible for these areas.

What is considered a sanitation/nuisance violation?
The ordinance defines these items as “rubbish” and include, but are not limited to:

  • Appliances
  • Auto parts
  • Boxes
  • Cartons
  • Clothing
  • Crockery
  • Discarded or broken furniture
  • Excelsior
  • Fencing
  • Glass
  • Junk
  • Leather
  • Lumber
  • Metal objects
  • Paper
  • Plumbing fixtures
  • Rags
  • Rubber
  • Tin cans
  • Trash
  • Tree branches
  • Yard trimmings
  • The accumulation of any other similar items

My neighbor’s tree is growing into the fence or the limb is growing over my garage and I am afraid it is going to fall. Is there anything I can do?
This is a civil issue between neighbors; the city cannot intervene in such matters.

My neighbor is a hoarder; can the city inspect the inside of the house?
We do not inspect the interior of properties unless we have consent to enter from the owner or occupant.

What does IPMC stand for?
This acronym stands for International Property Maintenance Code.

My car was towed for being inoperable or not being licensed; where do I get it back from?
You will need to visit the Topeka Police Department Impound Lot and provide any required documentation and pay any fees which resulted from the tow.

How long can a house or building remain boarded?
There is currently no set length of a time a property may remain boarded so long as it is secure from entry.

Who handles landlord tenant issues?
If it is a civil matter, Housing and Credit Counseling (HCCI) can assist.