Can a city force me to move a vehicle they consider junk on my property?

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Can a city force me to move a vehicle they consider junk on my property?

Do i have any legal recourse in protecting my private property against what they
consider to be ‘a safety issue’? It seems very unconstitutional to me, and against
my basic rights as a human being to live, and exist as i deem fit.

Asked on October 22, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

If the location and/or condition of your car violates some city ordinance or law (i.e. are they citing an ordinance when they ask you to move it? if so, look up the ordinance online--does it seem to apply the way they way it does?) they can force you to move it. The government has broad authority (called "police powers") to pass and enforce laws affecting safety and quality of life. If the government (the city) has passed any ordinances which would require the removal of your car because it negatively impacts safety and/or quality of life, such ordinance is almost certainly legal and constitutional. While you can try to challenge it in court if you want, be advised that courts only very rarely strike down laws, even municipal ordinances. 
Remember, your "basic righs as a human being" are subject to many restrictions as it is: you can't build any home, etc. that violates zoning or building code; you can't drive without having insurance; you need to register a business you open; etc. There is again very broad governmental authority to regulate individual's lives for the common or public good.
If there is no ordinance, etc. which applies here, however, then the city should not be able to do this--they need some law giving them the authority.


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