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Thursday, September 3, 2015

Notice to All Owners Required for Demolition Order

Section 55-1121 of the Counties Code authorizes a county to demolish an unsafe and dangerous building or structure provided the county follows certain procedural steps, including providing notice to all owners or lienholders and obtaining a court order authorizing demolition. 

In County of McHenry v. Smith, 2015 Ill App (2d) 141165, McHenry County commenced demolition proceedings against the owners of a home that had fallen into disrepair and had been abandoned for many years. The county sent notice to all owners of record, as well as lienholders of record, and then filed a compliant with the circuit court requesting a demolition order. However, both the circuit court and appellate courts denied the county's petition, holding that the county failed to notify all of the owners of the property.  The owners of record were both deceased, and although the county notified three of the deceased owners' children, it failed to provide notice to a fourth child. 

The court acknowledged that the county could have relied on an alternative notice provision in the demolition statute that authorizes notice to be posted at the property and sent to the taxpayer of record if the identity or whereabouts of the owners are not ascertainable "upon diligent search." In this case, the county, however, although the county published notice as an alternative, it did not post it at the property.

Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf


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