Why does the summary citation process for property maintenance violations fail?

Municipal Gunslinger

Nearly a universal failure of most Property Maintenance Code Enforcement programs is breakdown in the District Justice system for adjudicating these violations. There are so many points in this process where failure can occur that failure is a more likely outcome than success.

The first place where the process can begin to break down is in the identification of the property owner’s actual address, which more than likely is not the address of the abandoned house, contrary to the information provided on the summary citation. Unless the owner is properly notified the Borough will probably lose their prosecution on procedural grounds.  Next is the fact that unless the Code Enforcement Officer actually serves the property owner with the citation, he/she is not even aware that they have been cited. This being the case, the District Court will be required to notify the defendant via registered mail, that they have been…

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