Florida City Amends Ordinance for Vacant and Abandoned PropertiesJuly 16, 2021
The City of Margate, Fla., has amended its property registration ordinance to now focus on foreclosure properties (previously focused on vacant properties). Registration will be required within 10 days of a foreclosure action and will include a $300 semi-annual fee. It is important to note that the ordinance will now be enforced through a third-party service provider (ProChamps).
Property Registration Ordinance Sample Text
Ordinance No. 2021-1500.654
Section 40.16 Foreclosure real property and abandoned personal property
Purpose and intent. It is the purpose and intent of the City Commission to amend the process to limit and reduce the amount of abandoned personal and real property in foreclosure located within the City. It is the City Commission's further intent to specifically establish an amend the foreclosure property program as a mechanism to protect residential neighborhoods from becoming blighted through the lack of adequate maintenance and security of properties subject to foreclosure.
The Town of Williamstown, Vt., has enacted a property registration requirements for structures vacant at least 60 days. The following types will be exempt:
- Seasonal use (residences for active military personnel, etc.)
- Under repair/renovation
Maintenance requirements also will be enforced and will include a civil penalty of up to $100 per violation that would compound daily if repairs are not initiated within 30 days of owner notification.
Media Coverage Excerpt
Source: The Barre Montpelier Times Argus
The ordinance only applies to buildings that are vacant, but does include several exemptions.
There is an exemption for warehouses and garages and buildings used on a seasonal basis. Deer camps would be exempt, provided they are used “periodically,” and residents who spend their winters in Florida or are on active military duty needn’t worry about registering their homes. Structures being renovated or repaired are also exempt as are those “being maintained and actively monitored by the owner.” The latter category requires code compliance and the “prevention of criminal activity on the premises.”
Board member Jessica Worn said ensuring vacant buildings are secure, structurally stable and registered with the town are the primary goals of an ordinance.
“It’s not to say: ‘Hey, you need to tear this building down,” she said.
The ordinance gives the board broad discretion to waive registration fees that haven’t yet been met and sets strict standards for owners of properties that have been vacant for at least 60 days.
The list is long, but periodic painting or some other surface treatment will be required, foundations must be crack-free, and owners must provide the town with proof of liability insurance on an annual basis.
The ordinance allows the town to assess a civil penalty of up to $100 per violation that would compound daily if repairs aren’t underway within 30 days after the owner is notified of violations.
The ordinance will go into effect in 60 days unless the town receives a petition signed by 5% of the town’s registered voters in the next 44 days. A petition would provide voters a chance to overrule the board and repeal the ordinance at a special election.
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