Taking on a condemned building these days is something akin to the old Homestead Act that the US and Australia used to have.
Back in the days when expansion was being promoted, the government wanted people taking over land to develop. Nowadays, instead of expanding into new lands, people are trying to take over condemned buildings to fix them up as investments or cheap houses to live in.
It is a complex undertaking to buy and restore a condemned building, so knowing how to navigate this world is important.
In this article, I will go over some things to be aware of when it comes to your rights regarding condemned buildings.
What does it mean when a Building is Condemned?
When a building has multiple housing code violations it is inspected. If an inspector decides that the building is not fit for human habitation, then it is condemned.
Even some buildings can be condemned even if there are not any violations, but things out of the owner’s control, like dangerous mold in a home.
Once a home is deemed condemned, it cannot be lived in at all. All the violations would have to be corrected before it could be occupied again. If you are already living in a condemned home, you will have to move out while these corrections are being made. If you have bought a condemned home then you will have to fix these violations and then have the house inspected before anybody can live there.
Eminent Domain is a Risk
There are a few potential moving parts that can complicate moving back into a house that has been condemned.
Sometimes the local or federal government has an interest in areas with lots of condemned houses and buildings. They could decide to use that blighted area to redevelop and use for something else. In this case, they could use Eminent Domain to take away these houses to use for the public good, like a highway or park.
It pays to do some research before buying a condemned house to see if the government has any interest in the land it sits on. If you already bought the house then make sure you have a good eminent domain attorney to help if there is a case.
Can you buy a condemned home?
Condemned homes are becoming increasingly popular since they offer huge discounts. Either for investment if you plan to flip the house, or for a cheap way to buy a first home, a condemned house could be a good idea.
You’ll need hard cash in hand to buy, however. Most banks don’t give mortgages on condemned homes.
If you have enough for a down payment on a livable home, then chances are that it is enough to buy a condemned home outright. Be prepared for a lot of red tape in other areas when it comes to buying one, however. The process is more complicated than buying a traditional home.