New WV State Law Gives More Tools for Dealing with Dilapidated, Abandoned Properties

Gazette-Mail file photo
Cities will now have more tools to deal with dilapidated houses, like this one photographed on Charleston’s West Side in 2015.

A law allowing municipalities to take new measures against owners of dilapidated, abandoned properties has gone into effect.

The law allows code enforcement agencies to obtain search warrants from a municipal judge to determine the status of a structure. If granted, the agency can inspect the property to see if it is truly dilapidated, Charleston City Attorney Paul Ellis said.

If there are significant issues with the structure, municipalities can then demolish those that are serious public safety hazards. Previously, municipalities had to get either written consent from the building’s owner, or the municipality could get an order in circuit court.

Read the full story from the Charleston Gazette-Mail here.