Demolition by neglect is an important issue in the success of a preservation program. The neglect of an historic structure to the point of demolition is a careless and irresponsible occurrence that can be prevented. The tools used to prevent this action can be difficult to enforce, but they also have the potential to be very effective. The demolition by neglect ordinance in Charleston is not effective and is not currently being enforced. This thesis explored the issue of demolition by neglect by examining the public policy issues around it, the methods used to prevent and regulate it, along with a study of two comparable cities - Providence, Rhode Island and Savannah, Georgia - to provide inspiration for the city of Charleston. Three other ordinances were examined as well to provide examples of strong language, tools of enforcement, and other remedies. The effectiveness of Charleston's ordinance was examined through a history of its ordinance, a study of the language of the law and the methods of enforcement within it, as well as an examination of a selection of demolition by neglect cases in Charleston. The information revealed through this analysis demonstrates the need for a new or substantially amended demolition by neglect ordinance in Charleston and provides ideas and directions for this reform effort.