Complete Topic List


Help! I Have Been Served An Order To Demolish My Flood Damaged Home!

What Rights Do I Have In My Private Property?

  • A person has a right to exclude others from entering and using his/her private property.

Does The Government Have Authority To Demolish My Flood Damaged Property?

  • The United States and North Dakota Constitutions authorize the government to protect the health, safety, and welfare of its residents. The state’s authority is called its police power.
  • This police power authorizes the government to demolish a person’s private property without compensation if necessary to protect the public health, safety, and welfare.
  • North Dakota law grants cities and counties the authority to establish public health boards and appoint board members to abate or remove any nuisance, source of filth, or cause of sickness when necessary to protect the public health and safety.

Must A Board Of Health Notify Me Before They Demolish My Flood Damaged Property?

  • If a building official discovers a dangerous condition or building, the official must promptly serve the owner a notice of violation and enter a written order requiring the owner to complete the necessary remedial work to eliminate the danger.
  • If the owner neglects or fails to comply with the work order, then the city shall have a right to enter the premises and    either complete the remedial work or demolish the property.
  • If the building official determines a nuisance, including a dangerous condition or building, constitutes an immediate and serious danger to private or public property or the health of any person, the city may without prior notice to the owner of the property immediately enter and abate the nuisance by whatever means necessary.
  • If the city’s actions are reasonable and undertaken in good faith, the actions shall not constitute trespass or conversion.

What Is A Demolition Order?

  • An order  issued by a board of health to remove or destroy a source of a nuisance, filth, or cause of sickness when necessary to protect the public health and safety.

What Can I Do If I Have Been Served A Demolition Order?

  • Anyone who has been served an order to demolish a flood damaged property has the right to appeal the order.
  • The order must explain the reason for the demolition and how much time you have to appeal.
  • It is very important to ask for  an appeal immediately.  If an appeal is not requested within the time period stated in the denial notice, you lose your right to appeal.

Can Someone Help Me With My Demolition Appeal?

  • Legal Services of North Dakota (LSND) provides free legal help to low-income and elderly people.

How Can I Appeal The Demolition Order Myself?

  • You can appeal the demolition order to a hearing body.  Your request for appeal must be in writing and addressed to the board of health or designated office.
  • If the issue you are appealing is a technical issue, such as the proper interpretation or a modification of the building code, then the appeal shall be to the board of appeals.  If the issue is a question of policy, such as the amount of additional time or amount of a refund, then the appeal shall be to the city council.
  • You must file an appeal within the required time period stated on the order, usually between five (5) and fifteen (15) days after the mailing of the order.
  • An appeal request must explain why you are appealing the demolition order and should specifically explain why the property should not be demolished.
  • You should specifically state your plan and time line to abate the nuisance, threat to public health, life, safety, and welfare on the property.

What Happens After I Appeal?

  • An appeal request will postpone the demolition order until a hearing date and decision is made on the appeal.
  • The hearing body shall either find for the owner or the city.  The decision of the hearing body is final.
  • If the hearing body finds for the owner, the city may not take any further action without issuing another notice.  If the hearing body finds for the city, the owner shall have additional time to abate the nuisance or danger.  If the owner fails to abate the nuisance or danger within that time period, then the city may proceed to enter the property and abate the nuisance.
  • You will be notified in writing of an appeal decision. 

What If I Do Not Agree With The Hearing Body’s Decision Regarding My Appeal?

  • An aggrieved owner may, without further administrative review, appeal the decision to the District Court.  
  • A notice of appeal must be filed with the clerk of court within thirty (30) days after the decision of the local governing body.
  • A copy of the notice of appeal must be served on the local governing body.
  • The local governing body shall file a copy of the entire proceedings before the local governing body with the clerk of court.
  • The District Court may remand the case to the local governing body or make a decision on the merits.

NOTE:  The general legal advice provided in this brochure is based on North Dakota law and on the municipal code adopted by the City of Minot.  The law may vary in other cities, counties, districts, and states.

DISCLAIMER:  This information is not legal advice. If you have a legal problem, you should talk to a lawyer and ask for advice about your options.


Published by Legal Services of North Dakota
November 2012