Vacant Building Program Registration & Standards

The City Code (Section 1: Chapter 27, Article X) states that vacant or foreclosed buildings which are neglected and not maintained can result in the physical deterioration of a neighborhood and other health problems to the community. The purpose of this city code is to provide standards for maintaining vacant buildings and to establish a monitoring program for those that are neglected. In short . . . a neglected vacan building is a public nuisance.

Vacant Building Registration Form

Vacant Building Registration

When you are notified by the Fairfield Police Department about a neglected vacant building, the owner of the building shall register the house in the Vacant Building Monitoring Program within ten (10) days of the date of the notice.

Registering your property in the Vacant Building Monitoring Program is the first step to bring your property into compliance.

Vacant Building Standards

Each vacant house shall be maintained in accordance with the following standards:

(a)    General. Each vacant house shall be maintained in conformance with all city codes, including but not limited to, chapter 5 (Building and Housing Codes), chapter 8 (Fire protection), chapter 25 (Development Regulations) and this chapter 27 (Community Preservation). In particular, it is a public nuisance for a person responsible for property to violate section 27.401.

(b)    Structural and building standards. A vacant house shall be maintained in a structurally sound condition. All electrical, natural gas, sanitary and plumbing facilities shall be maintained in a condition which does not create a hazard to public health or safety.

(c)    Fire safety. A vacant house shall be maintained in a manner which does not create an unreasonable risk of fire. Weeds shall be removed if they may constitute a fire hazard. No vacant house or portion of it shall be used for the storage of flammable liquids or other materials which would constitute a safety or fire hazard. Heating facilities or heating equipment in vacant houses shall either be removed or maintained in accordance with applicable codes and ordinances. If heating equipment is removed, any fuel supply shall be removed or terminated in accordance with applicable codes and ordinances.

(d)    Security standards. A vacant house shall be maintained in a way which secures it from any unauthorized entry. The owner or responsible agent of a vacant house which has suffered an unauthorized entry must provide security which meets the following minimum standards:

(1)    All windows and sliding doors must have either intact glazing or resistance to entry equivalent to or greater than that of a solid sheet of 1/4-inch plywood, painted to protect it from the elements, cut to fit the opening, and securely nailed using 6D galvanized nails spaced not more than six inches on the center.

(2)    Doors and service openings with thresholds located ten feet or less above grade, stairway, landing, ramp, porch, roof or similarly accessible area must be resistant to entry equivalent to or greater than that of a closed single panel or hollow core door 1 3/8 inches thick equipped with a 1/2-inch throw deadbolt.

(3)    Exterior doors, if openable, shall be closed from the interior of the house by toenailing them to the door frame using 10D or 16D galvanized nails.

(4)    There shall be at least one operable door into each house and into each housing unit. If an existing door is operable, it may be used and secured with a suitable lock such as a hasp and padlock or a 1/2 inch deadbolt or dead-latch.

(5)    All locks shall be kept locked. When a door cannot be made operable, a door shall be constructed of 3/4-inch CDX plywood and shall be equipped with a lock as described above.

(e)    Debris removal. A vacant house and the adjoining yard areas shall be maintained free of debris, combustible materials, litter and garbage.

(f)    Appearance. A vacant house shall be maintained in a manner which minimizes the appearance of vacancy. Graffiti shall be promptly removed. All exterior surfaces, including any boarded windows or doors, shall be painted or otherwise finished to create a sufficient appearance of repair to deter unauthorized entry. The exterior of the property, including the landscaping, shall be kept in such a condition so as not to create the appearance of an unsecured, unoccupied structure or other hazard to public safety.