2017 Louisiana Laws
Revised Statutes
TITLE 13 - Courts and Judicial Procedure
RS 13:2575 - Blighted or abandoned property; public health, housing, fire code, building code and certain other ordinance violations; administrative adjudication; procedure; appeal; penalties

Universal Citation: LA Rev Stat § 13:2575 (2017)

CHAPTER 8-C. ADMINISTRATIVE ADJUDICATION OF

PUBLIC HEALTH, HOUSING, FIRE CODE, ENVIRONMENTAL,

AND HISTORIC DISTRICT VIOLATIONS

§2575. Blighted or abandoned property; public health, housing, fire code, building code and certain other ordinance violations; administrative adjudication; procedure; appeal; penalties

A.(1) Any municipality or parish may prescribe civil fines for blighted property, abandoned property, or violation of public health, housing, fire code, environmental, and historic district ordinances in the municipality or parish by owners of immovable property, their agents, tenants, or representatives pursuant to the procedures for administrative adjudication provided in this Chapter. For the purposes of this Chapter, "housing violations" shall encompass only those conditions in privately owned structures which are determined to constitute a threat or danger to the public health, safety or welfare, to the environment, or a historic district. In municipalities with a population of seventy thousand or more according to the latest federal decennial census, the term "housing violation" as used in this Chapter shall also encompass building codes, zoning, vegetation, and nuisance ordinances. However, nothing in this Section shall be construed to affect activities which occur on the premises of manufacturing facilities and which are regulated by Title 30 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes of 1950.

(2) For purposes of this Chapter, except in any parish with a population of more than three hundred thousand and less than four hundred thousand according to the latest federal decennial census, "blighted property" shall have the same meaning as provided in R.S. 33:1374(B)(1), and "abandoned property" shall have the same meaning as provided in R.S. 33:4720.59(D)(2).

B.(1) Any municipality or parish may adopt an ordinance or ordinances establishing an administrative adjudication hearing procedure under the provisions of this Chapter. The ordinance or ordinances shall provide for a time period for persons charged with owning blighted or abandoned property, or violating a public health, housing, fire code, environmental, and historic district ordinance to have a hearing under the provisions of this Chapter. The ordinance shall provide for the appointment of one or more hearing officers who may be the director of health of the municipality or parish or the health officer of the parish in which the municipality is located or the designee of such official or, in the discretion of the governing authority, who may be a person who shall have been licensed to practice law in Louisiana for two years.

(2) Except in any parish with a population of more than three hundred thousand and less than four hundred thousand according to the latest federal decennial census, any municipality or parish that adopts an ordinance establishing an administrative adjudication hearing procedure for determining property to be blighted or abandoned, shall provide notice to the property owners and to all mortgagees of record as provided in Paragraphs (D)(2) and (F)(2) of this Section.

(3) Each municipality or parish shall have the authority to empower the hearing officer with authority to:

(a) Administer oaths and affirmations.

(b) Issue orders compelling the attendance of witnesses and defendants and the production of documents.

(c) Levy fines, fees, penalties, and hearing costs, the maximum of which shall not exceed those established for the parish or municipal courts.

(d) Order violators to correct violations within a stipulated time.

(e) Take necessary and lawful measures to effect correction of the violation if the violator fails to do so within the time allocated by the hearing officer.

(f) Record orders, judgments, notices of judgments, or liens in the mortgage office of the parish in which the immovable property, or any portion thereof, in or on which the violation occurred is situated.

C.(1) The municipality or parish shall have a lien and privilege against the immovable property in or on which the violation occurred. The lien and privilege shall secure all fines, costs, and penalties which are assessed by the municipality or parish in accordance with this Section and described in the order, judgment, notice of judgment, or lien. For the lien and privilege to arise and exist, the order, judgment, notice of judgment, or lien assessing any fines, costs, and penalties shall be recorded in the mortgage office of the parish in which the immovable property, or any portion thereof, in or on which the violation occurred, is situated. The recordation shall have the effect of a judicial mortgage against the immovable property described therein and may be enforced against the immovable property described therein upon application of the municipality or parish to the clerk of the district court for issuance of a writ in accordance with Code of Civil Procedure Article 2253. The remedies established in this Chapter are nonexclusive and may be pursued independently of each other and in addition to other remedies provided by law. In order for the lien and privilege to arise, the order, judgment, notice of judgment, or lien shall be final and not subject to appeal when recorded in the mortgage office. The lien and privilege shall have ranking as provided by R.S. 9:4821(1).

(2) Any liens placed against such immovable property shall be included in the next annual ad valorem tax bill and shall be paid along with such taxes, subject, however, to any valid homestead exemption. Failure to pay the liens shall cause the immovable property in or on which the violation occurred to be subject to the same provisions of law as govern tax sales of immovable property when the immovable property has been declared blighted or a public nuisance by an administrative hearing officer acting in accordance with this Section, the property owners and other parties having interests in the property shall not have a right of redemption. However, if the immovable property has been sold for nonpayment of taxes to a tax sale purchaser other than the municipality, and if the right of redemption from the tax sale has not elapsed at least one year prior to the sale pursuant to this Section, the tax sale purchaser shall have a right of redemption from the sale pursuant to this Section until one year after the right of redemption from the tax sale elapses. In addition, failure to pay the liens shall also cause such liens and privileges to be subject to enforcement in accordance with R.S. 13:2576. Any liens placed against immovable property that has a legal homestead exemption from taxes will become payable ninety days after the death of the owner thereof or immediately upon recordation of any conventional mortgage on the immovable property or transfer of title to a new owner, whichever occurs first.

D.(1) Prior to holding an administrative hearing for public health, housing, fire code, environmental, and historic district violations, the municipality or parish shall notify the property owner at least fifteen days in advance of the date that such a hearing is scheduled. This notification shall state the time, date, and location of the hearing, the alleged violations, and it shall be sent by certified or registered United States mail to the violator or personally served on the violator at the address as listed in the assessor's office of the municipality or parish. The date of the postmark shall be deemed to be the date of delivery. Any notification so sent and returned by the United States Post Office shall be considered as having fulfilled the notification requirement. Failure of any person charged with a violation to appear at the hearing shall be considered an admission of liability for the charged violation. Any order compelling the attendance of witnesses or the production of documents may be enforced by the city or municipal court of the municipality or the parish court in whose jurisdiction the municipality is located, or in the parish court of the parish initiating the action.

(2) Except in any parish with a population of more than three hundred thousand and less than four hundred thousand according to the latest federal decennial census, prior to holding an administrative hearing for the determination of blight or abandonment of property, the municipality or parish shall notify the property owner and each mortgagee of record in the parish mortgage records, at least thirty days in advance of the date of the administrative hearing. The notification shall state the time, date, and location of the hearing, the location of the subject property, and an explanation that the hearing is for the purpose of making a determination whether the subject property is blighted or abandoned. The notice shall be sent by certified or registered United States mail or personally served on the property owner at the address listed in the assessor's office of the municipality or parish, and on each mortgagee of record at the address provided in the recorded mortgage.

E. Any administrative adjudication hearing held under the provisions of this Chapter shall be conducted in accordance with the rules of evidence of the Administrative Procedure Act. Testimony by any person shall be taken under oath. The person charged with the ordinance violation may present any relevant evidence and testimony at such hearing and may be represented by an attorney at law. However, his physical presence shall not be required at the hearing if documentary evidence, duly verified by such person, is submitted to the hearing officer prior to the date of the hearing.

F.(1) The hearing officer shall issue an order within thirty days, excluding legal holidays, of the hearing stating whether or not the person charged is liable for the violation, and the amount of any fine, penalty, costs, or fee assessed against him, and a date by which the violation shall be corrected. In addition to the enforcement procedure and authority set forth in Paragraph (B)(2) of this Section, any order assessing a fine, penalty, costs, or fee or stipulating a correction date may be enforced by the city or municipal court of the municipality or the parish court in whose jurisdiction the municipality is located, or in the parish court of the parish initiating the action.

(2) Except in any parish with a population of more than three hundred thousand and less than four hundred thousand according to the latest federal decennial census, within thirty days, excluding legal holidays, after the hearing to determine whether a property is blighted or abandoned, the hearing officer shall send written post hearing notice to the property owner and each mortgagee of record explaining whether the hearing officer determined the subject property to be blighted or abandoned and state whether any fine, penalty, costs, or fees are assessed. The post hearing notice shall be sent to the property owner and mortgagees of record in the manner provided for in Paragraph (D)(2) of this Section.

G. The ordinance shall provide for the amount and disposition of fines, penalties, costs, and fees.

H. Any property owner or mortgagee of record of property determined to be blighted or abandoned property, or any person determined by the hearing officer to be in violation of a public health, housing, fire code, environmental, or historic district ordinance may appeal this determination to the appropriate district court. Such appeal shall be instituted by filing, within thirty calendar days of the hearing officer's order, a petition with the clerk of court for the district court along with payment of such reasonable costs as may be required by the clerk. After filing a petition for appeal, the clerk of court of the district court shall schedule a hearing and notify all parties of the date, time, and place of such hearing. Service of notice of appeal under this Subsection shall not stay the enforcement and collection of the judgment unless the person who files the appeal furnishes security prior to filing notice of appeal with the agency of the municipality or parish designated by ordinance to accept such payments in the amount to be fixed by the hearing officer sufficient to assure satisfaction of the finding of the hearing officer relative to the fine, fee, penalty, costs of the hearing, and costs, if any, of correcting the violation.

Acts 1987, No. 514, §1, eff. July 9, 1987; Acts 1991, No. 289, §5; Acts 1992, No. 737, §1; Acts 1995, No. 646, §1; Acts 1995, No. 1155, §2, eff. June 29, 1995; Acts 2004, No. 209, §2, eff. June 14, 2004; Acts 2007, No. 115, §1; Acts 2007, No. 193, §1; Acts 2010, No. 449, §1; Acts 2011, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 38, §1; Acts 2013, No. 223, §1, eff. June 12, 2013.

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