What Causes a House to Become ‘Condemned’?

condemned house with torn wallpaper and broken window

You may hear the words “condemned house” and think of a property that closely resembles a haunted house. Dark, lightless windows. Missing roof shingles. Worn-down wooden posts boxed around the front porch. In reality, a house can be condemned for many reasons, one of which is disrepair.

Here are some of the most common questions about condemned houses.

What is a condemned house?

A condemned house is a property that a public authority, such as the government, took over from a private owner.

How does a house get deemed “condemned”?

According to realtor.com, some of those reasons a property gets condemned include:

  • Property has been vacant for a long time
  • Canceled utilities
  • Hazards that make the house unsafe
  • Nonpayment of taxes
  • The home is in an area designated for public use or construction

In the last scenario, local, state or federal government can seize property through the law of eminent domain. What’s eminent domain? (Great question.) It refers to the government’s power to take private property and convert it for public use. That means a house without any noteworthy problems can be condemned to make room for a highway, park, airport, or other public project.

The federal government has a constitutional right to “take” private property for public use. However, the Fifth Amendment’s Just Compensation Clause requires the government to pay just compensation (i.e. market value) to the owner of the property.

As one example, a stadium could be in the works and your property might be in the way of a network of roads that would need to be built to access it.

What happens when a house is condemned?

Once a private property or building is condemned, the owners (and any tenants) are notified in writing that they are required to vacate. Outside of the property or building, a sign will be posted to indicate that the property is not fit for human habilitation, in order to keep people out.

The owner should receive a written offer based on the property’s fair market value. The first offer made by the government is referred to as the pro-tanto award. If the owner thinks the offer doesn’t take into account characteristics of the property that increase its property value, they can dispute it. In that case, it might be advantageous to hire a lawyer who can aid in the price negotiation of your property.

At best, this process can take a considerable amount of time, work and money. At worst, it can be an absolute headache in your life.

Another alternative is selling your condemned house to The Buy Guys. We pay cash for houses “as is” in Florida, Georgia and Alabama. That means we buy them in any condition. If we’re able to make you an offer, you don’t have to make any updates to the property just to sell it. Additionally, the virtual process is quick and easy.

Give us a call at (888) 204-7603 to get a free estimate in just minutes.