Code Enforcement FAQs


Providing excellence in the delivery of City services to achieve strong, safe, healthy neighborhoods


**Neighborhood Notes is a publication of the Far East Neighborhood Pride Center

2500 Park Crescent, Columbus OH 43232 / Phone: 614-724-0100 Fax: 614-724-0111

Mark Welling Code Enforcement Officer


Code Enforcement Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the best way to submit a complaint about a property? The best way to report a property violation is to contact the City of Columbus 311 Call Center. You can go to the 311 Website and enter a complaint, or you can call (614) 645-3111.

What is an ’emergency’ Code Enforcement violation? The City of Columbus Code defines an emergency violation as a violation that causes an “imminent danger to the public health and safety or the health and safety of any person” (CC. 4509.06). For Code Enforcement, this means no heat in the winter time, no water service to an occupied dwelling, extremely unsanitary conditions in an occupied dwelling, or a vacant property that is unsecured on the ground level.

How do I report an emergency Code Enforcement Violation? If a violation is an ’emergency’, contact the 311 Call Center or call (614) 645-3111. You will be connected to the Code Enforcement Office. The Code Enforcement office is staffed from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday.


Common Code Enforcement Violations

High Grass and/or noxious weeds Code Enforcement considers grass to be high when it exceeds 12 inches in height. At that point, Code Enforcement will issue a Violation Notice. Noxious weeds are those plants that can, if not removed, cause an

unhealthy or unsafe condition. A good example of a noxious weed is poison ivy.

Inoperable motor vehicles Code Enforcement defines an inoperable vehicle as a vehicle that has an expired or missing license plate, has broken windows, more than one flat tire, or is obviously missing parts needed for the car to run.

Bare or unprotected exterior wood Bare wood means any unpainted, unstained, unsealed, or unsided wood that is part of a structure or fence. Bare wood is considered a violation because it is exposed to weathering and is vulnerable to rotting and damage by insects or rodents (mice, etc.). If the material covering the exterior wood is in bad condition (damaged siding or peeling paint), the wood is considered to be bare.

Prohibited items stored in a yard area The most commonly-cited items are tires, car parts, indoor appliances, and furniture designed to be used indoors (couches on porches, for example). In addition, storing recreational vehicles, boats, trailers, and commercial vehicles in a yard area is prohibited.

Improperly maintained vacant structure Vacant structures are to be maintained to the same standards as occupied structures, with the exception that a vacant structure needs to be secured against entry. The yard area must be cut and clean, and there can be no junk or solid waste in the yard area. The standards for properly securing a vacant structure are listed in section 4707.03 of the Columbus City Code.

Smoke Detectors Missing or inoperable Smoke detectors are considered to be an emergency violation of the City Code and must be replaced or repaired immediately. The minimum amount of smoke detectors is one per story, with one located near or outside the sleeping area(s).

Parking on Unimproved Surface Parking on dirt, grass, new gravel area, or other non-hardened area is prohibited.

Unsanitary Conditions Unsanitary conditions are defined by the City Code as “unfit for human habitation” (C.C. 4525.07). Unsanitary conditions can be caused by insect or rodent infestation, lack of bathroom facilities or water service, and general uncleanliness


Bruce Black, BCA President and Blockwatch Chair

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