Questionable: Can the city force property clean-up?
Each week we answer questions our readers have asked. What do you really want to know? Drop us a line; maybe we can help.
“Does the City of Rhinelander enforce property owners to clean up and/or fix up their properties if they are junky or in bad repair?”
– Mary Lou, Rhinelander
The Star Journal asked asked Theresa Lassig with the Inspection Department in the City of Rhinelander. Lassig responded.
“We do have a public nuisance ordinance, as well as a property maintenance ordinance. If someone complains about the condition of someone else’s property, we do go and inspect that property for validity, and to get specifics on the items or issues that would be in violation of the ordinance.
“Once the complaint is verified, we would write a letter to the owners (and a copy to the renter if applicable) stating that they need to clean up, move, etc…whatever the issue is, and then give them a time frame in which to have it completed. After that time frame has passed, a re-inspection happens. If at the re-inspection the items or violations are corrected properly, the complaint is closed. If not, then we determine if an honest effort is being made to correct the situation or violations. All that would depend on if they would be given an extension or if citations would be issued immediately.
“Sometimes there are issues or circumstances when the issue cannot be resolved in the time frame that they are given, and if they call us and provide that information with a plan of action on how to resolve the issues, we would extend the time depending on the problem-I would say that 99 percent of the time we have compliance with the cleanup within a reasonable amount of time.
“We rarely issue citations compared to the number of nuisance complaints we receive. We usually have a harder time with the people who complain, because they feel the issue should be resolved in a matter of days-when it usually took years, or at least many many months to create the issue. Our goal is for compliance in getting the issue resolved-we are not looking to put a financial hardship on the owner or the tenant.”
Editor’s note: Send in your questions to Starjournal@jcpgroup.com, or mail them to the Star Journal, 24 W. Rives St., P.O.?Box 558 Rhinelander, WI?54501.