Public Nuisance Properties

On September 1, 2009, the City of Wilmington's public nuisance properties program took effect. Legislation passed by City Council on July 9, 2009 established a point system to provide for a better accounting of nuisance calls. The new standard offers a fair and equitable system for dealing with properties that denigrate city neighborhoods.

Read the Public Nuisance Properties legislation here.

Download the Public Nuisance Properties fact sheet.

Points are assessed each time the City takes enforcement action against a property by the City. Points are assessed with or without an arrest or conviction; owners, occupants, lessors, lessees, licensees, and mortgages can all be held liable. The number of points assessed depends on the severity of the incident; for example, an offense involving a weapon is assigned eight points, while a sanitation violation is assigned one point. When more than one violation occurs during a single incident, the total points for the incident shall be the highest point value assigned to any single violation.

A building or structure is deemed a nuisance property if 12 or more points are accumulated within a period of six consecutive months or 18 or more points are accumulated within 12 consecutive months. A more detailed explanation of the violations is outlined in the ordinance.

Once a property has accumulated enough points to be deemed a public nuisance, the Commissioner of Licenses & Inspections is authorized to temporarily close the property; suspend or revoke any operating license or permit issued by the City relating to business or trade; and/or issue a criminal summons. Failure to comply with an order issued by the Commissioner is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 for the first offense, $2,500 for the second offense, and $5,000 for the third and subsequent offenses.

Owners of a nuisance property have the right to appeal an order of closure, suspension, or revocation by filing a written applicant for the Licenses & Inspections Review Board within 10 business days. An appeal shall act as a stay of an order until a decision has been rendered by the Review Board.


Contact L & I

Mailing Address

Department of Licenses and Inspections
Louis L. Redding City/County Building
800 N. French Street, 3rd Floor
Wilmington DE 19801

Phone: (302) 576-3030

Fax: (302) 571-4423

Code Enforcement: (302) 576-3030

Zoning Enforcement: (302) 576-3040