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Informer: City can classify remains of house as hazard

Last Modified: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 8:52 PM

By Andrew Perzo / American Press

Does the city or state set a time limit on how long what’s left of a burned house can remain standing or on how long that house’s former occupants’ abandoned vehicles and still-full swimming pool can remain unmoved and undrained?

No, said Russ Adams, Lake Charles’ director of planning and development.

“Once a structure or pool is inspected and deemed by the city to be a public safety or health hazard the property is posted and the owner is given 15 days to correct the problem,” Adams wrote in an email.

“If it is not corrected in 15 days, it is scheduled for a public hearing, which could lead to an ordinance to demolish the structure or pool.”

As for vehicles, Adams said, a city ordinance allows inspectors to post notices on cars that are “obviously inoperative” and “those that show accumulative signs of disuse or neglect.”

“The posted tag and follow-up certified letter advises the property owner of the process, including a hearing process if wanted,” Adams wrote. “The owner is given 10 days after the posting to remove the vehicle. Upon noncompliance, the city may remove the vehicle.”

He noted that the city’s ordinance doesn’t address “abandoned vehicles,” but said civil law allows property owners to remove abandoned vehicles at their own expense unless a law or lease specifically bar them from doing so.


Report wage issues to Labor Department

I work for a restaurant, and I get so many hours a week. There may be one day a week or two weeks that I don’t clock in. The general manager seems to be holding this against me because when I clock out at night I can keep my time.

But on the day we get paid or the day the time goes in he always tells me I have at least seven or eight less hours, and I don’t think I’m missing that many. What should I do?

You should contact the U.S. Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division at 866-487-9243; the TTY number is 877-889-5627. The number for the New Orleans office is 504-589-6171.

As The Informer has pointed out before, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act — specifically Sections 206 and 207 — requires employers to pay their employees for all hours worked, and it charges businesses, not workers, with the responsibility of keeping an accurate account of work hours.


Assignment of fault process of civil law

Can you tell me to what extent the city of Lake Charles should be held responsible for a severe injury I received from a fall due to a pothole in the street?

Unfortunately, no.

The assignment of fault is something done in the hearing of a lawsuit in civil court, and it’s based on the facts of the case.

For more information, consult an attorney.

• • •

The Informer answers questions from readers each Sunday, Monday and Wednesday. It is researched and written by Andrew Perzo, an American Press staff writer. To ask a question, call 494-4098, press 5 and leave voice mail, or email

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