Frequently Asked Questions: Code Enforcement
We’ve compiled some of the most frequently asked questions that City staff receives about Code Enforcement. If you have any questions that this Web page doesn't answer, please feel free to contact us at 480-782-4320 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
How may I file a complaint?
Complaints may be filed using any of the following methods:
In person: Our office is located at 235 S. Arizona Avenue The office hours are 8 a.m. through 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Telephone: Our telephone number is 480-782-4320. Anyone wishing to speak with a staff person may call this number between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. If the telephone line is already in use, you may leave your complaint information on the answering machine. Complaints may also be recorded at this same telephone number 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Online: Complaints may be filed online twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week by using the Online Code Enforcement Form. A form for HOAs and Property Managers also is available online by clicking here.
Are complainants required to identify themselves?
Complainants do not have to identify themselves; although if they would like an inspector to contact them regarding the status of the investigation, their name name and daytime telephone number are necessary.
What are the enforcement procedures?
The City is divided into geographic areas with a Code Enforcement Inspector assigned to each one. Each inspector is responsible for violations occurring within their assigned area. Generally, the enforcement of codes occurs on both a reactive (complaint from a community source) and a proactive (initiated by the inspector) basis. There are however, a number of violations that are enforced after a complaint is received. These include Zoning Ordinance violations, and Nuisance Code violations occurring in enclosed rear yards. Our goal is to encourage both owners and tenants to voluntarily eliminate any violations that may exist so that Chandler remains a city in which we can be proud to live. When a code violation is reported, we open a complaint and work towards resolving the violation through a process of education, inspection, and notices. Continued violations are followed by progressive enforcement. Each code has its own set of enforcement procedures, however, the process generally follows this sequence:
Notice left at residence or sent to violator allowing time for correction
Civil Citations issued if violation is not corrected
Criminal prosecution filed if not corrected after citation
Abate (violation removed by City contractor) and lien
What is the difference between Code Enforcement and a Homeowner’s Association?
Code Enforcement is a division of the City of Chandler. The primary function is to educate the citizens of Chandler about City Codes. The Codes apply to each and every property within the City. The purpose is to ensure that all neighborhoods and properties are maintained to a minimum standard.
Homeowner’s Associations are private organizations that are paid by designated neighborhoods to oversee maintenance standards, as established by written Codes, Covenants and Restrictions for the properties within specific neighborhood. The neighborhoods were designed to be managed by as a Homeowner’s Association. Homeowner’s Associations have the right to enforce and assess fines to members in accordance to the Home Owners Association’s Codes, Covenants and Restrictions. Every property owner within these designated neighborhoods sign documents agreeing to the standards that have been established and will abide by any penalties assessed.
A Homeowner’s Association may establish maintenance standards that require a higher standard of upkeep than the City Codes. Neighborhoods that are within Homeowner Association areas are still required to also abide by City Code requirements.
Code Enforcement can enforce City Code Standards within a Homeowner’s Association area, but Homeowner’s Associations may only enforce maintenance standards within their designated neighborhood.
How do I know if I have a violation on my Property?
Code Enforcement has many methods of initiating contact. The most common tool is the “Violation Notice Warning.” This is a hard copy paper that has generic, common violations listed and suggestions on how to resolve the complaint. The individual Inspector may add more detailed descriptions of the violation, or describe other violations not listed on the form. Inspectors try to make contact with the resident by knocking on the door or ringing the doorbell. If there is no answer at the door, the notice is left at the front door.
Another tool available is a door hanger, referred to as a “Sorry I Missed You.” This door hanger is used when an investigation is required and the violation or problem may not be clearly visible to the Inspector. The Inspector describes the possible problem on the door hanger. Additional, the Inspector’s name and phone number will be listed with a request that you call within a specified time. Because the violation is not clearly visible, and a complaint has been filed, the Inspector needs some method of letting the resident know that a possible violation may be on the property. Many times, just talking with the resident will resolve the complaint.
The newest tool is the “Violation Reminder.” These door hangers are multi-colored and address a specific violation such as weeds, parking and inoperable vehicles. The Inspector can leave these at the door as a gentle tool to educate of the violation on the property. A follow-up inspection usually occurs within a week. The Inspector looks to see if the violation has been corrected.
What happens if I have a violation?
Once it has a violation has been observed, it is the intent of the Neighborhood Services Unit to have the resident/property owner come into voluntary compliance. To accomplish this, the resident is normally given 21 days to take whatever action is requested to correct the problem. The Inspector does have the choice of requesting correction in fewer days. An example of a quicker correction period would be a vehicle parking on and blocking the public sidewalk. There may be a request to correct the violation within 24 hours.
On the 21st day, a follow-up inspection is conducted. If the violation is still on the property, and there is no one at home at the time of the follow-up, a “Sorry I Missed You” will be left at the front door asking the resident to call the Inspector.
What if the property is a rental?
Neighborhood Services will always first try and get voluntarily compliance from the resident of the property. Most rental agreements require the resident to maintain the property. In the event the resident does not voluntarily come into compliance, the Neighborhood Services Specialist will research public records to locate and contact the registered owner of the property. Contact will be made with the property owner to notify the owner of the violation.
What happens if the Property does not come into Compliance?
There are times when voluntary compliance is not achieved. When efforts fail to get compliance, the Inspector will begin legal action. Legal action can be started in two ways. The quickest method of starting legal action is by issuing a citation issued to the property owner.
The second, longer method, for action to be started is by filing a long form complaint with the City Prosecutor. A report is filed with the City Prosecutor with the possible violations. The Prosecutor will review the case to determine if there is enough evidence to go forward with issuing charges. In the event the case proceeds, the property owner will be issued a subpoena to appear in court. The normal court proceedings will occur.
All legal actions are taken against the registered owner of the property.
What are the most common violations that occur within the City?
Neighborhood Services receives numerous complaints, covering a wide range of problems. The following is a listing of some of the most common complaints received.
- Parking on Unimproved Surfaces: City Code requires that all parking surfaces be a solid surface. Specifically the code states, “All parking surfaces shall be asphalt, concrete, or masonry.” Parking on the grass, dirt, crushed granite, or other type of rock does not meet the code requirements.
- Grass and weeds in excess of 6” in height: All premises within the City shall be maintained in a neat and attractive manner. The responsible person of any residence is responsible for maintaining the entire premises, including abutting public ways, up to the curb and up to the center of any abutting alleys free of debris, litter, trash and weeds. Six inches in height is the height standard for any uncontrolled vegetation.
- Fences and gates in disrepair: For the fence to serve its intended purpose, it must be maintained so the fence may screen, protect, secure.
- Right of Way Obstructions: The public streets, sidewalks and alleyways, must have clear accessibility to all who wish to use them. No plant, material, structure, fabrication, or vehicle may block the use of sidewalks or streets. This includes basketball standards, skateboard ramps, etc. Trees need to be trimmed 13.5 feet above the street or alleyway, 7 feet above the public sidewalk and any other plant material should not block the sidewalk.
The property owner is also responsible to ensure that any traffic control or directional sign that is upon their property is not obstructed from view by any plant, material, structure or fabrication.
- Green Swimming Pools: Especially with recent health concerns, green pools and ponds will be of special concern. All architectural pools, ponds, basins, fountains or any swimming pool or spa, or any body of water must be maintained and filtered to insure water does not become stagnate and become a health issue.
What can I do if I get a notice and do not understand what the violation is?
Call your inspector. On the bottom of the notice is a place containing the phone number of your inspector. Code Enforcement encourages you call, not only if you have received a violation, but to answer any question you may have regarding your neighborhood. Code Enforcement is here to work with you to insure that our community will remain a highly valued place to reside. If you have further question, please call Code Enforcement at 480-782-4320.