What is the difference between property maintenance regulations (code enforcement) and homeowner association requirements?
The Property Maintenance Office is a function of city government and is in place to ensure compliance with ordinance requirements and adopted regulations related to land use, zoning, sign standards, public nuisance and health and housing codes. In the City of Spearfish, one of our primary objectives is to educate Spearfish residents and businesses about city codes and requirements. Ultimately, the purpose is to ensure that all neighborhoods and properties are maintained while protecting property values, and promoting the health, safety and welfare of Spearfish residents.
Homeowner’s Associations are private organizations that receive fees paid by the residents of the designated neighborhood to oversee their particular maintenance standards, as established by written Codes, Covenants and Restrictions (CC&Rs) for the properties within that specific neighborhood. Homeowner’s Associations have the right to enforce and assess fines to members in accordance to the Home Owners Association’s CC&R’s. Typically, as part of the purchase process, each property owner within these designated neighborhoods sign documents agreeing to the standards that have been established and will abide by any penalties assessed.
A Homeowner’s Association may establish maintenance standards that require a higher standard of upkeep than the City Codes. Neighborhoods that are within homeowner association areas are still required to abide by City Code requirements.
The Property Maintenance Office enforces City Ordinances and the adopted International Property Maintenance Code standards on all properties within the City of Spearfish and adjoining county properties within the Joint Powers Agreement Area, including those properties within a Homeowner’s Association area. However, a Homeowner’s Associations enforces maintenance standards within their designated neighborhood. HOA standards can be similar to City Code requirements or more restrictive. However, if an HOA requirement or standard is less restrictive than the City Code, the City’s Code requirement remains and is required to be met.
How do I report a property maintenance violation?
Report property code violation(s) within city limits directly to the Property Maintenance Office.
Complaints may be filed using any of the following methods:
I want to report a property maintenance problem in my neighborhood but I don't want anyone to know I called. Do I have to give you my name?
Please be assured that your personal information (name, address, and phone number) remains anonymous. Unless ordered by the court, your identity is only shared with those in the property maintenance office. We only request this in the event that we need to contact you for follow-up or additional information. We may need to contact you to confirm either continuing problems or that the violation has been eliminated to your satisfaction. It is also important to be able to contact you in the event we find that the “problem” is not a violation enforceable by our office. If you are anonymous and we’re unable to let you know these circumstances, you will be left with the negative impression that we have ignored your concern.
What happens after I file my complaint/request? What do you do? How long does it take? Do you contact me afterwards?
We investigate every complaint received. The activity or alleged violation would need to be confirmed through an inspection. Generally, an investigation begins within the week received depending on the severity of the issue or the current case load in the property maintenance office. Complaints are generally prioritized by date of receipt; however, complaints are also prioritized by significance in the order of safety, health, and aesthetic matters.
If a violation exists, the property owner or tenant is contacted and informed of the violation. The time allowed to resolve a violation depends on the complexity of the situation. A correction period of 7 to 30 days is given most of the time. Please keep in mind that many violations cannot be completed in one or two days. Some things that have accumulated over several years may take a few months to eliminate. We only contact the person who filed the complaint if it is necessary to obtain additional information, or to see if there were any further issues that need to be resolved.
What are the enforcement procedures?
Generally, the enforcement of codes occurs on both a reactive (complaint from a community source) and a proactive (initiated by the inspector) basis. When a complaint is received, it is investigated; any other violations observed are also addressed. Additionally, any violations noted on neighboring properties are also addressed with the appropriate person. These include zoning ordinance, building code, and nuisance code violations. Our goal is to encourage both owners and tenants to voluntarily eliminate any violations that may exist so that Spearfish remains a city in which we can be proud to live.
When a code violation is reported, we open an incident and work towards resolving the issue through a process of education, inspection, and notices. Continued violations are followed by progressive enforcement. Each code has its own set of enforcement procedures; however, the process generally follows this sequence:
How much time do I have to correct a violation?
The amount of time allowed to correct a code violation varies depending on the violation. Once a violation is verified, it is the intent of property maintenance office to have the resident/property owner come into voluntary compliance. To accomplish this, the resident is normally given 7 to 30 days to take whatever action is necessary to correct the problem. The Inspector does have the option of requesting correction in fewer days. An example of a quicker correction period would be a vehicle parked on and blocking the public sidewalk, or a violation which presents a serious safety or health hazard. There may be a request to correct these types of violations within 24 hours.
If an extension of time is necessary, call the Property Maintenance Office at 717-1126 before the deadline. Most of the time extensions will be granted if they are within reason and the issue that needs to be corrected involves something more than just a simple fix; such as moving a vehicle, pulling weeds, or shoveling a sidewalk.
What should I do if I receive a property code warning notice?
Don’t panic! Correct the violation by the date given on the warning notice. If for any reason you are unable to come into compliance within the time given, call the Property Maintenance Office to discuss your options.
I need more time to correct the code violations on my property. What do I do?
Call the Property Maintenance Office at 717-1126 before the deadline. Most of the time extensions will be granted if they are within reason and the issue that needs to be corrected involves something more than just a simple fix; such as pulling some weeds or shoveling a sidewalk. Generally, ample time is given to correct a violation.
What can I do if I get a notice and do not understand what the violation is?
Call the property maintenance office at 717-1126. We encourage you to call; not only if you have received a violation, but to answer any question you may have regarding your neighborhood. We are here to work with you to insure that our community will remain a highly valued place to reside.
What happens if the property does not come into compliance or I refuse to comply?
We attempt to solicit voluntary compliance whenever possible. However, there are times when compliance is not achieved. When informal and formal efforts fail to get compliance, the Code Inspector will initiate an appropriate progressive enforcement step. Failure to gain compliance within a reasonable period of time may result in criminal prosecution or civil abatement. Any costs necessary to abate a violation may be filed as a lien against the property.