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Understanding the Indiana Unsafe Building Law: An Overview

On Behalf of | Jun 2, 2023 | Firm News

Every state has laws and regulations in place to ensure the safety and well-being of its residents. In Indiana, one such law is the Unsafe Building Law. The Indiana Unsafe Building Law, which is outlined in the Indiana Code 36-7-9, is designed to provide a safeguard against properties that harm the community when they are not adequately maintained. This blog post aims to shed light on the law’s main provisions and what it means for the residents of Indiana.

The Indiana Unsafe Building Law gives local authorities the power to act against unsafe properties. This can include issuing fines and penalties, mandating repairs, or even ordering a building’s demolition if it poses a substantial danger.

What Constitutes an Unsafe Building?

According to Indiana Code, a building can be deemed “unsafe” if it falls under one or more of the following categories:

  1. Buildings that are dangerous to life due to defects. This could include issues like faulty wiring, unstable structures, or a lack of necessary safety features.
  2. Buildings that are a fire hazard. This might involve faulty electrical systems, improper storage of flammable materials, or other issues that increase the risk of a fire.
  3. Buildings that are unsafe or unsanitary due to inadequate maintenance, dilapidation, damage, or abandonment.
  4. Buildings that are not provided with adequate exit facilities.
  5. Buildings that are likely to cause or contribute to blight, disease, vagrancy, or danger to children in the area.

What Actions Can Be Taken?

When a building is found to be unsafe, the local authority (usually the building commissioner or a similar official) has a responsibility to act. These actions can vary based on the severity and nature of the building’s condition. They can include:

  1. Ordering the owner to repair the building.
  2. If the owner refuses or fails to make necessary repairs, the local authority can make the repairs themselves and charge the costs back to the owner.
  3. In extreme cases, if the building poses a significant threat and cannot be reasonably repaired, the local authority may order the building to be demolished.

Appealing an Unsafe Building Order

Owners of a building declared unsafe have a right to appeal the order. They can do so by submitting a written appeal to the local authority within a set period of time after receiving the order. The appeal will then be heard by a hearing authority, which will decide whether to uphold, modify, or overturn the order.


The Indiana Unsafe Building Law plays a crucial role in maintaining the safety and quality of our communities. It ensures that all buildings – whether they’re homes, businesses, or public spaces – meet basic safety standards and don’t pose unnecessary risks. Understanding this law can help Indiana residents better navigate their rights and responsibilities when it comes to property ownership and community living.

This post provides an overview of the Indiana Unsafe Building Law, but it’s important to remember that the specifics of the law can change. Always consult with a legal professional or local authority for the most accurate and up-to-date information.