Ask Us: City has process for dealing with dilapidated homes

Published 12:07 am Thursday, February 23, 2023

Editor’s note: Ask Us is a feature of the Post where we’ll seek to answer your questions about items or trends in Rowan County. Have a question? Email it to

SALISBURY — A reader asked about a dilapidated mobile home in the city limits and wondered about the requirements for minimum housing standards.

All around Salisbury, it’s not hard to find homes that have fallen into disrepair. Sometimes it can get to the point where the property in question becomes more than just an eyesore. For these kinds of structures, the Salisbury Development and Code Services Division has a thorough process to deal with such houses. 

The definition of a dilapidated home according to Code Services Manager Michael Cotilla is “any property or any structure that is dilapidated more than 50% of its tax value.”

This can mean a wide variety of things depending on the property. It can be a hole in the roof or broken windows and doors.

Once the city inspects the property and deems it dilapidated, officials send the owners an order of compliance in the mail highlighting the major issues with the structure. Owners would have a notice of a hearing when they could be officially cited for ordinance violations. The owner would be required to attend a minimum housing hearing where the conditions of the property and the plans for it would be discussed. They would get an intent to repair letter, forcing them to fix the property’s conditions, sell it or tear it down within 90 days.

After the 90 days, if the owners fail to comply, Cotilla said the property is brought before city council for a demolition hearing to determine if it qualifies or not.

When the building is officially considered dilapidated, no one is allowed to live there. All buildings that are scheduled to be demolished by the city are currently vacant. Even after the demolition, the property still belongs to the registered owner. The city will put a lien on the property to cover the costs of demolition, so it can’t be sold or transferred until the lien is fulfilled.

“What we want at the end of the day is for the property owners to either sell them or bring them up to compliance,” Cotilla said.