What to Do if Your Apartment Has Violated the City Trash Code

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What to Do if Your Apartment Has Violated the City Trash Code

Staff Writer · Apr 13, 2010

Typically, each city has created a city trash code to govern the collection and disposal of waste. These rules direct property owners, including landlords how to properly dispose of trash to protect residents from illegal and hazardous wastes. Because of the potential medical and safety hazards improperly disposed trash can cause, any violations of the codes are extremely serious. Below is advice on what to do if you believe that your apartment has violated the city trash code.

Notify the Landlord

If your landlord does not reside on the property or visit it regularly, it may be possible that he does not know of the violations. Because of this, it is important for you to notify your landlord of the problem and ask for it to be fixed. Approaching your landlord first will provide him the opportunity to remedy the issue. Additionally, should your landlord not fix the issue, you will be able to show the city that he willingly and intentionally ignored the problem.

Contact the City Health Department

Possibly, it is the city health department that administers the trash code. A phone call to the department will open an investigation into the conditions at your apartment. Once they are notified of the situation, the health department will send out investigators to check the status of the trash disposal and, if necessary, issue warnings and fines to the landlord for violations.

Should your landlord still not rectify the problem, the health department will clean up the trash and bring the area up to code. For this reason, it is important that they are notified of the problem.

Contact the Code Enforcement Office

The city’s code enforcement office is another governmental office that may manage the trash code. Notifying the code enforcement office will also open an investigation into the issue and, if violations are found, result in your landlord receiving warnings and possibly being fined for the problem. Furthermore, the code enforcement office may work in conjunction with the health department.

Contact the Fire Department

Illegally dumped garbage poses a serious fire threat. Violations of the trash code should be brought to the fire department’s attention since they may be quicker to respond than the health department or code enforcement office. Possibly, the fire department will notify the code enforcement and health departments, leading to a faster resolution to the problem.

Do Not Withhold Rent

Unless the violations of the trash code are serious enough that they are making your apartment unfit for habitation, you should not stop paying your rent. There are very few reasons a tenant can refuse to pay rent and, even then, it is not that the tenant is completely excused from the obligation but rather that he must pay the rent into a city escrow account until the landlord makes the necessary repairs.

However, if you feel that the violations pose a serious threat to your safety and health, write your landlord a letter stating your intent to vacate because of the violations. In this instance you are still not excused from paying rent until you completely vacate the apartment.

Violations of the city trash code pose serious health, fire and safety hazards. Your first step if you believe a code is being violated is to notify your landlord. Subsequently, if the problem is not resolved, contact your local health and fire departments and the code enforcement office to remedy the problem.

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