DNS Impact Statement
Neighbors who have been affected while living, working or have been owning property near a neglected or deteriorated property may use a Neighborhood Impact Statement to let the court know how the code violations have impaired their neighborhood, property value or quality of life. The impact statement is used as a vehicle for the community's voice to be heard at sentencing. While an impact statement can be filed by an individual, its effect is much greater if it comes from a block club or a larger organization.
The statement is a clear, factual letter that describes the property in question and how the owner's failure to comply with the code has impacted the lives and property of others in the community. It is sent to the Commissioner of Neighborhood Services who will include it in the prosecution file. It is used only during the sentencing phase of a code enforcement case. The City Attorney's office will then have it available to present to the judge at the appropriate time in the case. The statement is just one of a number of pieces of information that will help a judge arrive at a fair sentence. Please be aware that it is not used in the determination of guilt. It will also not guarantee that the sentence that you feel is appropriate is the one that the judge arrives at in any given case.
Here is a Sample Impact Statement. Please note that it is direct, factual and does not contain emotional statements. It also relates to the facts of the case and not to extraneous matters. Statements such as "the tenants make a lot of noise and throw junk around" are not useful in a case where the code violation is for failure to paint the trim and repair the gutters.
If you have information as to specific damages that have been incurred, please provide details. For example, "I have spent $300 on fumigation and extermination over the last year due to roaches coming from next door." Examples of other relevant statements include "I cannot get fire insurance because of the boarded and vacant property next door to me" or "my realtor tells me that the reason that I have been unable to sell the property is because of the extremely deteriorated condition of the house next to mine." Keep it truthful and factual. Keep the document to one page. Provide any details on how and when you have previously asked the owner to comply with the code if you have such details. Be sure that the statement is signed and dated. If you have any questions concerning the neighborhood impact statement process, contact the district code enforcement inspector at 414-286-3646.