Public Health Question
Monmouth County Regional Health Commission No. 1
What can the health department do if I report an abandoned property issue to them?
Abandoned properties and buildings present dangers especially for children and teenagers looking to explore. These buildings:
Aren’t well cared for and may not be up to building code standards. This means that the buildings are more likely to have structural issues like roofs caving in or weak floors that can collapse.
Can have dangerous chemicals. These dangerous chemicals can include barrels of toxic materials, or less obvious chemicals like lead paint. Breathing and touching these chemicals can cause lasting health problems for children.
Can have dangerous people, animals, and pests living in them—and you cannot always tell if they’re inside.
Can be fire hazards. Abandoned properties and buildings often don’t have working smoke detectors or sprinkler systems. Add that to dangerous chemicals and people up to no good and it’s a recipe for a fast-moving fire.*
Last but not least, Trespassing is against the law!
The health department’s role would be to conduct an inspection of the property to identify possible
“public health nuisances”
Public health nuisances include mosquito breeding, which poses the threat of arboviral disease (such as West Nile Virus, Zika Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis, etc.) Mosquitos breed where water/rainwater collects and stagnates, such as abandoned pools, uneven pavement, or artificial containers. Food Debris on an abandoned property can serve as a possible food source for rats, which would also be considered a public health nuisance.
If a public health nuisance is identified, the health department would notify the responsible municipality who has jurisdiction over the location in order to address the risks associated with the abandoned property.