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Code Enforcement FAQ's

Here is a list of general questions and answers for code enforcement. We hope that you will find this useful in informing you of what code enforcement does. Should you have a complaint or question that is not covered, you are always welcome to call us.

What type of complaints does property maintenance include?

Property maintenance complaints include: building partially destroyed or left partially constructed; an open entryway (doors, windows, etc.) of a vacant structure not closed and maintained secure; overgrown, dead or decayed weeds and vegetation; any exterior, wall, fence, driveway, sidewalk, etc., left in a state that would be unsafe or that defaces neighborhood; attractive nuisance to children (i.e. pool, machinery or equipment); construction equipment/machinery parked in public view; lumber, junk, trash and debris visible from public right-of-way; and any motor vehicle or other mobile equipment parked on an unpaved surface in front or side yard.

What type of complaints does housing include?

If you are a tenant and are having a problem getting your landlord to do certain repairs or maintenance, you can call us to find out if these would be considered a violation of the Uniform Housing Code. Some of these complaints would include: no heat, roof leaking, bathroom (i.e. toilet) not functioning; leaking sinks, and exposed/faulty wiring. Even if your complaint is not listed as an example, it may still be a valid complaint.

If you are a manager/landlord or concerned neighbor or friend, you can call us if the tenant has no electricity, gas or water. The Uniform Housing Code requires that there be power, gas and water. The use of extension cords (borrowing/stealing power), candles and butane, in place of power and gas, is considered to be highly dangerous and illegal. If a tenant is found to have this type of condition occurring, they would normally be given a notice and order to restore power/gas/water or to vacate within 48 hours.

Also, any construction, additions, plumbing and electrical work being done without a building permit is also a violation.

What type of complaints does zoning include?

These complaints would include having more than three 3 adult animals (dogs, potbellied pigs, pigmy goats, chickens, etc.) in a residential zone; someone operating a business out of their home with a home occupation permit; business in the wrong zone; illegal signs; and someone having more than two 2 garage/yard sales a year.

What type of complaints does junk and/or abandoned vehicles include?

Normally, you are allowed one 1 non-operable vehicle on your property. However, it does have to be on a paved surface and be covered with a form fitting cover. If a property has more than one 1 non operable vehicle or has vehicles parked on an unpaved surface, this would be considered a violation. Any junk and/or abandoned vehicle parked on the street would fall under the Bakersfield Police Department jurisdiction.

Do I have to give you my name and telephone number?

No, but it helps us out if we need to contact you to clarify an address or ask you a question pertaining to the complaint you have left. It also allows us to call you and let you know if it is already in process or if it is out of our jurisdiction and referred it to another department. If you do choose to leave your name and telephone number it is kept completely anonymous and under no circumstance is it released to anyone outside of our office other than by an order from a judge in court action.

I've made my complaint, how long do I have to wait before I see something being done?

After we have received your complaint, the average turn around time is two 2 to five 5 days for a Code Enforcement Officer to investigate the complaint. We make every attempt to respond to each complaint as soon as it occurs, as they are all important, but due to the number of complaints we receive each day and their priority (some are more hazardous) there will be some complaints that won't be investigated for a few days. Also, for this reason you may not receive a call back to let you know we've received your complaint.

The officer has determined that there is a violation, now what?

For property maintenance and some zoning violations, the property owner is sent a Seven Day Notice, after which, if the problem has not been abated they receive a second notice with a hearing date before the Building Director. If the problem has still not been abated after a ten day appeal period, we contract with the contractor with the lowest bid to have the problem abated. The cost of the cleanup and an administrative fee is then assessed to the property. The whole process may take more than 30 working days if the property owner does not abate the problem his/herself. For many housing violations, the landlord/property owner is given up to 30 days to make the repairs. It is up to the Code Enforcement Officer's discretion on the amount of time needed and if any time extensions would be given to the property owners.