Code Enforcement works with property owners to bring their property into compliance with the International Property Maintenance Code and the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government Code of Ordinances in the shortest time frame possible to ensure both a safe and beautiful Lexington. The division:
- Addresses reported violations of local ordinances related to the maintenance of all homes, apartment complexes, businesses and all yards/lots within Fayette County.
- Provides inspections related to general structure maintenance, sidewalk serviceability, property nuisance violations and the placement of temporary signs in an illegal manner.
Code Enforcement’s operations are based on Chapter 12 of the LFUCG Code of Ordinances (housing and nuisance), Chapter 17 of the LFUCG Code of Ordinances (sidewalks) and Chapter 17 of the Lexington Zoning Ordinance (temporary signs).
How do I report a suspected violation to Code Enforcement?
You can report suspected violations by calling LexCall at (859) 425-2255 or 311 if you’re calling from the Lexington area. Citizens may also submit a service request online.
Please Note: All complaints are prioritized as they are received; therefore, public safety issues will take priority over all other matters.
What does it mean if I have received a Notice of Violation from Code Enforcement?
If you have received a Notice of Violation from Code Enforcement it means a complaint has been submitted regarding the condition of the indicated property. Additionally, an officer has inspected the property, and the officer found violations to be present.
What is a housing violation?
The LFUCG Code of Ordinance’s Chapter 12 outlines minimum acceptable standards as it pertains to the condition and appearance of all structures in Fayette County. The International Property Maintenance Code is used as the basis for these standards and violations of these ordinances may result in the issuance of a notice by Code Enforcement.
What is a nuisance violation?
Chapter 12 of the City Code of Ordinances prevents property owners from having any of the following conditions on their property:
- Grass and/or weeds 10" inches or more in height.
- Bushes, hedges and/or trees that interfere with sidewalk travel.
- The accumulation of trash and debris located in the yard.
- Furniture and appliances designed for indoor use, but located outside.
- Any junked, wrecked, non-licensed, improperly licensed or inoperable vehicle (car, truck, etc.).
There are a number of ordinances that provide relief to certain circumstances (i.e. property zoned as agricultural, licensed businesses, etc.).
Snow on Sidewalks – What I need to know.
As outlined in ordinance 12-8.4, once official notification/announcement indicating the end of a snow event has occurred, property owners must clear any accumulation of four inches or more of snow from their sidewalk within 24 hours of the notification. The notification will be indicated on the city's website and provided to media outlets for dissemination. This requirement will only apply to a property if the abutting street has been plowed.
If after 24 hours the property owner has not removed the snow, a Notice of Violation may be issued. The Notice of Violation, which will be posted at the property and mailed to the property owner, will afford the property owner an additional 24 hours to come into compliance. If after those 24 hours the sidewalk is still not in compliance then a civil penalty in the amount of $100 may be issued with additional civil penalties being issued every 24 hours thereafter until compliance is gained.
In the event of the presence of extreme weather conditions, this ordinance requirement may be held in abeyance until conditions improve. Any such announcement will be made on the city's website and in public communications as well.
Code Enforcement only responds to complaints regarding this matter and does not conduct proactive inspections.
What is a sidewalk violation?
Chapter 17-147, of the LFUCG Code of Ordinances states, “It shall be the duty of each owner of real estate abutting on any sidewalk to repair, at his own expense, all holes, uneven surfaces and other defects in the sidewalk upon which his property abuts.”
Simple cracking does not automatically place a sidewalk into non-compliance. Horizontal and/or vertical displacement, which does or could cause a safety issue, takes priority. When officers are advised of such a violation, they will mark the area of the sidewalk that needs to be repaired or replaced with pink paint. They will then provide formal notice via U.S. mail to the property owner. Owners have 90 days to make the needed repairs or provide the case officer with information which justifies a time extension. (The criteria used to determine if a sidewalk is in violation can be found on the Notice of Violation you were sent.)
Note: In most cases, the Sidewalk Replacement Grant Program, which is managed and distributed by Code Enforcement, can provide assistance to residential property owners. This grant may reimburse a reasonable amount (currently $5 per square foot) of cost related to the replacement of any residential sidewalk which has been placed under notice by Code Enforcement. Up to 100 percent of the replacement cost may be available to home owners that are considered qualified property owners, as defined in Chapter 17-162 of the Code of Ordinances, and certified as such by Adult and Tenant Services. The funds contained in the grant are allocated each fiscal year and are only available until the budgeted allocation is exhausted.
What do I do if I have been sent a Notice of Violation by Code Enforcement?
Read the notice thoroughly. If you have questions about what the cited violations are or about the process associated with the notice, you are strongly encouraged to contact the case officer. The case officer's contact information can be found on the notice.
If you are unable to reach the case officer, contact Code Enforcement (859) 258-3091.
What should I do if I have received more than one notice?
There is a possibility that you may receive more than one notice regarding a property. Since housing issues, nuisance issues and sidewalk issues are all addressed separately in the code of ordinances, each violation has a different processing requirement. Therefore, there is a possibility you could be assigned two case officers to your property, which unfortunately can cause some confusion.
If you do receive notices from two different officers, please make sure you contact each case officer listed on the notices and make sure they are aware of the situation. We try to ensure that this does not occur, but there are times when it isn’t detected. Once the officers are made aware of the issue, they will work with you to ensure you have the proper time to address all the violations and they do not provide you with inaccurate information.
How much time do I have to come into compliance before citation/fines can be issued?
A Notice of Violation provides you with the date compliance must be gained and what actions may be taken if compliance is not gained by that date.
In emergency situation when a violation is present that may endanger others, then the time frame associated with compliance may only be 24 hours or even addressed by the property owner or officers immediately. Therefore, it is very important for you to review the Notice of Violation you have been sent to determine the exact date the property must be in compliance.
However, in most cases a Notice of Violation related to housing violations have an initial period of 60 days to come into compliance, while those who receive a notice related to nuisance violations normally will have 14 days to come into compliance.
Residents who receive notices related to the sidewalks are initially afforded 90 days to repair or replace the damaged areas.
*Officers may provide additional time for the property to come into compliance if needed and warranted. Please see “What should I do if I need more time to correct these issues?"
What do I do if I want to appeal a Notice of Violation or Citation?
Housing, Sidewalk and Nuisance Violations:
A Notice of Violation related to a housing, sidewalk or nuisance violation is not appealable.
The property owner may file a written appeal of a citation based on a housing, sidewalk or nuisance violation, but must do so within seven days of the “Date of Issuance,” which is located on the civil penalty.
If an immediate family member files an appeal on the owners behalf, then they must present a written, signed document from the owner granting them permission to act on their behalf. If the subject filing the appeal is not an immediate family member, then they must present a signed and notarized limited Power of Attorney indicating they may represent the owner in the appeal process.
Appeals, which should indicate why the citation should be dismissed, may be filed via U.S. Mail or by delivering the request to the Division of Code Enforcement, C/O Secretary of Administrative Hearing Board, 101 East Vine Street, Suite 500, Lexington, KY 40507 or by faxing the appeal request to (859) 425-2274 – no emails. Failure to appeal a citation within the indicated time shall result in the determination the property owner has waived their right to appeal, the violations were present on the property, and the issuance of the citation was proper.
After I file an Appeal:
If you have filed your appeal within the legal time frame allocated, your appeal will be processed. You will receive a letter from the Secretary of Administrative Hearing Board stating what day and time your appeal hearing will be held.
All hearings related to appeals, unless otherwise noted, will take place at the Code Enforcement Office.
If your appeal request is received after the time allocated by law, then the appeal cannot be granted. you will receive a letter from the Secretary of the Administrative Board if your appeal is late and a hearing will not be granted.
What should I do if I need more time to correct these issues?
Additional time is commonly provided, but it is important for the property owner to ask for this time. No communication with the case officer could result in the issuance of unnecessary citations or abatement actions.
No additional time can be granted when violations present an immediate danger or safety risk. If you are issued an emergency notice, please contact the case officer immediately.
In general repair matters, the case officers may provide additional time for property owners to correct violations upon the submittal and approval of a schedule of compliance. A schedule of compliance, which your case officer will provide you a copy of upon request, outlines what the violations are and the reasonable approximate date you plan to have them addressed/repaired.
How do I find a contractor, repair specialist or lawn care service to assist me if I cannot fix/address the situation myself?
Code Enforcement employees do not and cannot endorse any business or person regarding the work done on your property.
However, when seeking such assistance we would recommend that you take the following information into consideration:
- The Better Business Bureau and other similar organizations have valuable information about these services, which you could use to help make your decision.
- Family members, friends and neighbors can be an excellent source of information as well.
- Get estimates from numerous businesses and don’t sign a contract until you have fully read the contract and understand what will be done by the contractor and what they expect from you. Please make sure they are addressing all the violations and your needs.
- All contractors (excluding those who provide lawn services only) are required to be registered with Building Inspection – (859) 258-3770 – as a “general contractor.” However, those contractors who address matters related to electrical issues, plumbing and/or HVAC matters, must have additional licenses and permits in those areas as well. We recommend that you confirm your contractor has all their needed permits before you enter into any agreement.
- Sidewalks: If you have neighbors that have also been cited, you and your neighbors may want to jointly contact a contractor. Many times such efforts have resulted in a reduced cost for everyone. That does not imply that neighbors should “split” costs regarding their sidewalk replacement as some may have more sidewalk area that needs to be replaced then others. However, if neighbors can agree on one contractor and when the replacements will occur, many times a lower cost is incurred by each neighbor.
What can I do if I need financial assistance?
There are also numerous community and nonprofit organizations which may be able to assist you. Ask your case officer, Grants and Special Programs or Social Services for more information.
In most cases, the Sidewalk Replacement Grant Program, which is managed and distributed by Code Enforcement, can provide assistance to residential property owners. This grant may reimburse a reasonable amount (currently $5 per square foot) of cost related to the replacement of any residential sidewalk which has been placed under notice by Code Enforcement. Up to 100 percent of the replacement cost may be available to home owners that are considered qualified property owners, as defined in Chapter 17-162 of the Code of Ordinances, and certified as such by the Adult and Tenant Services. The funds contained in the grant are allocated each fiscal year and are only available until the budgeted allocation is exhausted. (Please see the related documents in your packet for details.)
What can happen if I do not make the repairs or fix the violations before the due date?
If you do not bring your property into compliance by the "Compliance Due Date” listed on the notice and you haven’t made arrangements with the case officer to have more time to address the violations, a civil penalty may be issued.
Depending on the type of violations (housing, nuisance or sidewalk related), the number of violations and severity of the violations, citations normally can range from $100 to $2,500.
**Citations related to sidewalks violations are based on the square footage of the damaged area at a rate of $10 per square foot. (Not to exceed $500 per re-inspection).
What happens if I don't pay a citation or abatement cost that I have been issued?
If a property owner is issued a citation or invoiced property abatement costs and they do not make arrangements to pay these costs within 14 days of their issuance, then the outstanding amount may be converted to a lien on the property. The lien will accumulate at an interest rate established by ordinance until the lien is paid. An abundance of liens may also result in additional legal action being taken by the LFUCG.
How do I pay a citation or lien that has been issued on my property?
No payment can be accepted by Code Enforcement.
All payments related to citations, invoiced abatement costs, or liens should be made to the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government and mailed or delivered to the:
Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government
C/O Division of Revenue
218 East Main Street
Lexington, Kentucky 40507
Include a copy of the citation, invoice and/or documents clearly identifying the referenced property to ensure proper credit occurs.
You can contact Revenue at (859) 280-8300 or visit their office at 218 East Main Street to obtain the outstanding balance or make payment. Code Enforcement can provide you with the outstanding balance, but cannot accept payment.
**Please Note: The removal of a lien may take up to 30 days to occur.
On March 2, 2017, the Urban County Council enacted Section 14-106 of the Code of Ordinances to regulate the placement of unsolicited written materials. By definition, unsolicited written materials are written materials delivered to a premise without the express permission of the owner, occupant or lessee. Examples may include, but are not limited to, advertising circulars, coupons, pamphlets, newsletters, books or magazines left without permission.
Under the ordinance, the delivery of unsolicited written materials is restricted to the following areas:
· on a porch nearest the front door;
· securely attached to the front door;
· through a mail slot on the front door;
· between the exterior front door (if one exists and is unlocked) and interior front door;
· in a distribution box on or adjacent to the premises;
· or by personal delivery to the owner, occupant, or lessee.
If unsolicited written materials are delivered to any of these areas, no violation of the ordinance has occurred.
If you believe that a violation of the ordinance has occurred prior to June 1, you may contact LexCall at (859) 425-2255 and a warning will be issued to the potential violator. On or after this date, you may file a complaint with Code Enforcement.