Sunday, August 31, 2008


There has been much concern, rightfully, about unsafe houses. And there has been some confusion about the authority of the Building Inspector. I have a copy of Code 150.101 and will be posting sections here:




1. Enter premises to determine compliance.

2. Determine the identity & address of landowner

3. Send written notice by certified mail.

4. Have the city remove material & vehicles.

5. File a lien against the property with the County Recorder for all costs incurred by the city for removal.

Following is an explanation of the five steps listed above:

1. To determine compliance with this chapter, the Building Commissioner is entitled to enter upon the premises of any real property within the city.

2. If the Building Commissioner determines there is a violation of this section, he or she shall send by mail, a written notice to the owner(s) of the real estate, and to all other persons holding a substantial interest in the real estate (hereinafter "landowner"), requiring removal of the material and vehicles within 20 days.

3. The notice must also inform the landowner that failure to comply will result in the city removing and disposing of the material and vehicles at the landowner's expense.

4. The notice must also inform the landowner of his or her right to appeal the Building Commissioner's determination, according to the procedures set forth herein.

5. The Building Commissioner will determine the landowner's identity from the duplicate records of the County Auditor.

I was once in favor of rental inspections but after further research I realized that we already have the laws on the books and all we need to do is enforce them. We must keep in mind that unsafe houses are not just rental properties but owner occupied homes as well.


shirley baird said...

I was told that anyone can enter Barbara Silling's office and look up any address in the city and determine the owner on record.

This should help with the problem of determining the identity of many of these homes.

I know some people go to a lot of trouble to hide behind corporations but many people do not have the knowlege or resources to do so.

The New Albanian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The New Albanian said...

Please see if the state of Indiana (alcohol police) and the local health department will refrain from inspecting my business at whim.

Why should they be able to come inside and inspect when I'm not doing anything wrong, anyway?

Highwayman said...


You were told correctly. There is a public access computer on the counter in Barbara Sillings office.

There is also one in the Platt Room.

However they may or may not have the same information for the same piece of property at a given point in time.

If there is a descrepency, then one has to go to the recorders office and start digging out the puzzle pieces on at a time.

For owner occupied properties, unless they've changed hands within the last 60 to 90 days, this is normally not a problem.

However, with rental property the issue can and often does become extremely time consuming.

Herein lies the case for up to date registration and accessibilty to a responsible party.

Herein also lies the cause of the long pregnant pause between citations being issued and the final resolution of an offense.

Don't take my word for it. Walk around New Albany, pick a few suspect addresses and go to the above mentioned offices and check them out for yourselves.

Pick an older home in an area that is zoned as single family, that has multiple electric or gas meters hanging on its exterior and see if it has in fact been given a zoning variance for multi family occupancy.

Then continue your investigation and see if you can come up with a contact phone number that will lead you directly to the person responsible for the upkeep of said property.

That is exactly what the Code Enforcement Officer, the Building Commissioner, and the Zoning & Planning staff have to do to even begin the process of correcting a wrong.

Add to all this the lack of resources (money, manpower, court docket time, & political will) and it is easy to see why the vermin have no fear of getting trapped.

Finally, don't underestimate the knowledge and resources that persons who are quite willing to sacrifice ethics for profit.

They are much more aware of how to get around their responsiblities than we give them credit for.

Anonymous said...

Why did Mayor England tell Realtor Pat Harrison that there would never be a rental inspection?

The New Albanian said...

Excellent question, anonymous. Is there verification? Did she report this to someone?

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Shirley, for the information on the current NA Code of Laws on Unsafe buildings.

We can only hope that the Mayor, Building Commissioner and City Council will read the laws on the books now and get to work and clean up our city.

Anonymous said...




Anonymous said...

Anon 2:52.... You are right. If a child is living in a trashy house with bugs and rats running around,
it does not matter to the rats and bugs if it is renters or owners living in that house.

The rats and bugs don't care who owns the house.

Mayor, Building Commissioner and Council, please get busy and clean up all of the trashy buildings.

Anonymous said...

the new albanian,

Yes she did. Why don't you give her a call at: 812-944-1111 it's common knowledge in the landlord circles. They're prepared to take this issue to court if need be. Is this 2003 all over again?

Anonymous said...

Looks like England is between a rock and a hard place. Our sources tell us that tomorrow at 10:00-10:30 England will announce he will not sign the smoking ban. What he plans to do from my source with Freedom Of Speech is: any resturant or bar that has customer's 18 years or younger All other businesses are exempt. I understand it will be somewhat similar to the Jeffersonville's Ordinance.

Great job Erik!

Anonymous said...


There is an easier way then how you explain it. Trust me I work downtown and it's not hard at all. This is a bunch of crap to waste taxpayers $$$$$. There are laws on the books and these people need to get off their fat asses and do their jobs.

That's my opinion and I'm entitled to it.

Highwayman said...

Anon 6:38,

If there is an easier way to get verifiable information such as who the responsible party for each piece of property in New Albany is, please share.

Apparantly you know something that no one else, either public or city officials are aware of.

As to tax dollars, how can it be a waste when the goal is to cause the offenders to pay for their offenses.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, good luck on all of these things I'm reading. No way am I not sitting here chuckling as I read the comments on your Blog, Shirley.

Maybe a good Attorney would tell you laws are made to be broken, thus the reason for the Lawyer...

In this town, it is to the extreme. Any loophole that can be found or abused will and is being done, with certain public officials' knowledge.

Can you find "buildings" built in New Albany without permits? We can and do.

You are right on the $ Shirley, and so is the anon stating they need to get off their "*****" and do the job.

Where is the part, Shirley stating the reasons "A" Building Commissioner (inspector) "CAN" enter a building, i.e., such as broken windows, etc.? Watch out for "weekly" rentals -- what a racket!!!!

BTW, how many cases Badger reported have been resolved? I have heard some of them on the "infamous" list have been told "it's really not that bad".

Can we call a spade a spade here? We ALL know the break down is at the government's doorstep. The only ? is what are we going to do about it? LOL. (Not really, simply can not revisit '03 AND ignorance 2.)

Thanks for the space to vent.

Highwayman said...

Anon 8:12PM,

I for one agree with your vent. the only problem is we can't make a difference by remaining silent in the background (ie anonymous).

come on out & join the fray. It is your fight too.

Click on my name & email me privately if you choose to in confidence. Let's discuss!

Anonymous said...


See your not as informed as you thought you were. Some elected officials downtown just don't tell taxpayers everything.

Figure it out for yourself. It took us two years to figured out how they play their games. Do you think we're going to hand over our hardwork and research?


It's pretty damn bad when certain taxpayers know more than sitting council members.

Then we have a certain group in New Albany who thinks they know more, but they don't.

Question to you Mr.Highwayman.

Has any of these elected officials or appointed employees ever lied to you?

England, Maylsz, Garry, Hartman, Messer, Gonder, Gayhan, Price, Zurschmiede, Coffey, McLaughlin, Caesar, Benedetti and of course Wisman.

They say one thing one minute to your face and in the next breathe they say another and then they cut deals.

Most of these people are rubber stamp puppets for this adminstration.

Or they are only looking out for their own personal agendas.

Am I right Councilman Messer?

Wake up highwayman you and the others have been dupe!

Ask yourself this one question highwayman:

How come there has never been a Rental Inspection law or a Rental Register list?

The New Albanian said...

Gee, Lloyd ... looks like one of them anonymous people doesn;t want to play in your sandbox.

And after you asked nicely.

No wonder nothing gets accomplished.

Highwayman said...

Anon 6:22,

I'll be glad to answer. Yes I have been lied to by both elected and appointed officials but only once per customer. All us us are subject to being fooled one time but I'm normally a quick study.

As to why there hasn't been such legislation already, I have found that the lobby against up till now has been stronger than the citizens for.

Could that be in part because anonymity is not paramount to taking a stand and being recognized & heard?

As for your research it's regretable that you feel compelled to withhold information that could be helpful.

You will note that I have passed along any lead I've discovered to move this question along. It can be found on a variety of blogs hereabouts including this one.

I'll even go the extra step and email it personally to you if you'll send me an address.

No! That's what I thought.

Christopher D said...

YES, the laws are on the books, and clearly define what is acceptable minimum standards, and yes those standards should and must be enforced equally between rental properties as well as owner occupied houses that fall short of that standard.
HOWEVER, nothing will be accomplished until a couple of things happen.
#1 accountability in government.
- One person who is ultimately responsible to see that the codes are enforced, and cases are followed up on properly. And someone who is not attached at the hip with the rental collective, or the political fiasco that has led us to this point.
#2 The rental collectives realize and accept this is NOT specifically against them.
- The Harrisonites of this community need to simply listen completely to the details, and accept this is NOT something t osqueeze more money out of landlords. This is a measure to correct the housing infrastructure problems in this city, regardless of who owns the property and who stays in the property.
If every one is expected to play by the same rules, and those rules are enforced equally across the board, everyone will be better off. Renters, owners, landlords, neighborhoods, businesses, etc.
True enough, many of the blighted houses are rentals, and that will take money to correct, BUT those expenditures CAN be claimed as a tax write off, correct?

shirley baird said...

Christopher & everyone,

Thank you for your comments.

Yes, someone needs to be ultimately responsible for the enforcement of the laws already on the books. And that person is the Building Inspector. He has the authority to enter homes where there is evidence of a violation and the authority to do what is necessary to correct the problem.

Sometimes it is up to the citizens to keep our elected or appointed officials "on their toes". If we see a problem in our neighborhood, or even another neighborhood we have the right to register a complaint.

That is why I think we need an anonymous hotline to report unsafe houses. This way people are protected from retaliation.

Highwayman said...


Sorry, but we are going to have to agree to disagree on this one.

Don't you see that this perceived fear of retaliation is the foremost enabler of the criminals in our midst?

If we the public refuse to put a face to our complaints is it any wonder that the offenders laugh their way all the way to the bank?

The Law, the ethics, and the justice of it all is on our side but if and only if we stand and demand it of those we have elected to uphold them!

Otherwise, the fear wins and we continue this downward spiral into the abyss.

And the elected still draw a paycheck!

Anonymous said...

Highwayman, this is the "anonymous" commentor from 8:12 PM.

I appreciate you wishing to discuss things, even privately. I have been in the fight, longer than I care to think of.

Retaliation comes in many forms. Public humiliation in a public forum, yet there will be nothing you can do about it because you were vocal and could be accused of "organizing" people therefore losing your right to sue certain ***'* for slander, defamation of character.

People have lost their jobs, people have lost their homes, people have lost their businesses and have been ran out of town, literally.

Retaliation? How else to expose the criminality for same? There are relationships needing fostered between the media and yourself.

One thing gets the job done, shining the light on any "information" you have, anonymously or off the record, as you may choose.

There is one TV station I can think of right off the bat and they tend to scoop the other channels on any news in New Albany. There IS a reason for this as there are reasons for other issues.

I have learned the hard way about retaliation and I appreciate you wishing me to e-mail you in confidence, but there would have to be trust fostered 1st.

I only know who you are, not who you are friends with, related to, maybe have relatives working for same...give us time (lol). And, thanks for caring and for your efforts. So many do care but we may not be strong enough to stand against "the whatevers".

We wish someone, maybe with legal experience, could start a Tenant's Association. Talk about shedding light on problems, this would work. Louisville has one 2. Only, make the calls anonymous so the renters don't end up on the street like so many have.

It is getting tougher and tougher to find places for our homeless.

Anonymous said...

A great link, history lessons and lots of memories.

Hope all enjoy. This helps me to put things in to perspective realizing "We Didn't Start The Fire!" Humor, lol.

Anonymous said...


ACCOUNTABILITY is a good word.
We pay a Building Commissioner and Code Enforcement Officer to do this job.

The answer always seems to be "We need to hire more people and set up more programs."

Anonymous said...

The past Audit shows the performance of the Building Commissioner's Office. Council controls their money, go after Council!

Then, wait until they say the City Attorney doesn't have the "time" and he'll need more money too.

Never ending vicious cycle.

Anonymous said...

First of all congratulations to the Freedom Of Speech staff on breaking news on the VETO of the smoking ban. Great job Erik and Team!


You'll have to forgive some of these posters. They continue to be brained washed by several other blogs and the bullsh*t England is dishing out.

Retaliation happens everyday in this town as you stated.

Why other blogs and posters here wonder why there are so many anonymous postings is because of the very same reason you stated.

What have many of us been fighting for year after year?


Where is it folks? Why do certain elective officials turn a blind eye.

Everyday you read about another mayor, council member, department head who get arrested.

But not in New Albany.

"Almost" only happens in horsehoes.

The council passes laws and only certain people play by the rules.

Mildred Wilson was a fighter for accountability. She questioned everything council members tried to pull over on us taxpayers.

We had the famous potty police, the gang of four and several citizens activist over the last four years.

Do you see any or many of them this year? No! And why not? Because people are tired of being harrassed, threaten, and having personal property damage.

As my dad once said, give a person enough rope and they will hang themselves.

This bunch of crooks running our city now, are down right shameful.

There has always been two sets of books, double standards, and corruption up one street and down the next street.

So let them all learn the hardway. We earned our battle scars now let this new adminstration just finish screwing the rest of us into the ground now.

Anonymous said...

The continual chant that the Building Commish doesn't enforce the code is ignoring the fact that he has only a tiny staff, a huge job already and thousands of buildings to inspect.

You want them inspected? Are you willing to have your taxes raised to pay for the many new inspectors needed?

No, I didn't think so...

Anonymous said...

Go read the Audit and them complain to us about the Building Commissioner and why the favors extended, illegally? You are right...don't need 'em.

Figured u would come at us about needing more money for the City Attorney to do his job; oh never mind, WE ALREADY DID THAT!

Study the laws, get your office in order, show people some PROGRESS, and then we will ALL GO AWAY.

Mildred was a wonderful taxpayer activist. She took a lot of secrets to her grave too. She was scared too of certain things she knew so she wouldn't pass them on to others who followed in her footsteps. WONDER WHY?

So much history, miss her.

Christopher D said...

Anon 4:47
So whos fault is it? Is it the politicians who turn the blind eye administration after administration, or is it OUR fault for continuing to put the same people in office time after time?
The blame lies squarely on all of our shoulders. WE turned a blind eye to the problems until they became to big to effectively handle, the whole time re-electing the same councilmen, and from the same soup pot for mayor, who appoints the same people to the same jobs that had been done.
This, unfortunately, is not a problem where the issue stops at political office neglegence. The city as a whole ignored the problems and by doing so condoned the behaviors that has led us to this.
It takes more than a handful of outspoken advocates to change things. We can all rant and rave online, under screen names or anonymous, but when it comes down to it, we need to all rant and rave in person, out loud.

Highwayman said...

Thanks Chris,

Actually I think we are getting somewhere inspite of ourselves.

at least I choose to hope so!

shirley baird said...

I agree. The turnout at the rental inspection meeting gave me the impression that a lot of people are interested in what is going on in our fair city.