Mediation is a formal meeting in which disputing parties attempt to find a solution that satisfies both parties. Trained volunteers provide guidance. The goal is to reach a written agreement that satisfies both parties. Mediators use communication techniques to keep discussions focused on a solution. Since mediators are neutral, they can help identify the real issues underlying the dispute. The final, written agreement is the only record kept from the mediation session.

Traditional approaches to disputes - such as taking a party to court, or issuing a citation - cost time and money, and do not resolve the underlying issues. As a result, the disputes continue. Mediation can break that cycle by addressing real issues that lead to a win-win resolution. For more information about mediation alternatives click here.

Nuisance Abatement

Some codes enable Cities to hire contractors to remove violations, bill the property owner, and lien the property for expenses and fees if the bill is not paid within 60-120 days. High weeds and grass, unclean premises, and nuisance vehicles are examples where this is the case. Liens are subordinate only to tax liens and previously recorded mortgage liens, and prevent a lengthy collections effort.


When abatements are necessary, ordinance allows the City to place a lien on a property for the cost of abatement and associated administrative fees.

Civil Remedies

In cases such as Dangerous Building Hearings, staff may request that the Judge assess civil penalties instead of expenses, in order to gain a property owner’s attention with higher dollar amounts. The assessment of civil penalties requires an enabling order by a judge or citizen board, as specified in the individual laws. Penalties can range up to $1,000 per day depending on the severity of the code violations and the past code compliance history of the violator.

Complaint Affidavit

Occasionally complaints are received for violations which a Code Officer does not personally observe. This can occur with violations that happen infrequently such as parking in the yard or traffic at random times of the day to a home business that is not allowed. Residents who have observed these occurrences can file a complaint affidavit with the applicable district field office and request that appropriate enforcement actions be taken. A citation may be issued based on the residents’ willingness to testify in court as to the violations existence, in place of a Code Officer.

Certificate of Occupancy Revocation

A rarely used, but available, option is the revocation by the City’s Building Official of a business’ or multi-family complex’s Certificate of Occupancy. When such a business refuses to comply with City ordinances and other enforcement actions have failed, the City can request that the Certificate of Occupancy for the building be revocated. Examples include establishments conducting business operations that are not covered by their CO, zoning violations, or businesses the operation of which constitutes a life/safety hazard.