When buildings are routinely inspected by fire marshals or other government officials, there are many reasons they may be condemned. Condemned buildings are deemed unfit for occupation and must be destroyed. Buildings are condemned when they present dangers to inhabitants' health, well-being or safety. If you live in a dangerous building or know of an unsafe residence, you can report it to your local fire department or building inspector.
After natural disasters, buildings may be condemned if they are damaged beyond repair. Floods, fires, earthquakes or mudslides can cause structural damage making the building unsafe or likely to collapse. Even if the structural integrity of a building is not compromised, a natural disaster may damage or taint a building to such a degree that it cannot be reasonably repaired or cleaned.
If a building is not structurally sound, it is likely to be condemned, unless it can be easily and safely repaired. Contractors or construction crews that use faulty building materials or improper building practices may make an unstable building. Improperly built foundations or pylons can make a building unsafe to live in. While it is fairly rare for newer buildings to get condemned for this reason, older buildings sometimes become dilapidated to the point of no return. When support beams, columns or rafters are not replaced, the structure may need to be condemned.
Widespread health hazards, contamination or parasite infestation are common reasons for condemnation, especially in crowded and old apartment buildings or tenement houses. Black mold growth that cannot be contained generally results in condemnation because of the potential respiratory and other health problems it creates. Chemical contamination from industrial toxins and illegal drug manufacturing can lead a building to get condemned if there is a consistent and serious threat to human life. Parasite infestations can usually be corrected, but it is possible for overarching rodent or termite problems to lead to condemnation.