D.C. Tightens Regulations on Vacant Properties

DC Properties

It will soon become harder for landlords to neglect vacant or blighted properties under a bill the D.C. Council unanimously passed today.

The measure—first introduced by At-Large Councilmember Elissa Silverman and co-sponsored by nine of her colleagues in December—seeks to maintain such buildings at higher property tax rates (5 and 10 percent more than standard for those determined to be vacant and blighted, respectively) until owners affirmatively prove to the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs that they’ve abated issues. Current law requires that DCRA verify that buildings are vacant or blighted every six months, even when an owner has not indicated that they’ve made improvements. This has led to inconsistent enforcement of property laws and consumed inspectors’ time. Read more here!


WVU Offers Legal Tools to Combat Blight

In case you missed it — the Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Clinic at West Virginia University recently published a toolkit to help communities navigate the thorny issues around abandoned and neglected buildings. Click here for the background story. 

To explore the online legal toolkit, which is called “From Liability to Viability: A Legal Toolkit to Address Neglected Properties in West Virginia,” or to download a free PDF, visit the LEAP website. 

Huntington: Vacant Property Registry Is a Step Toward Redevelopment

Huntington’s City Council recently decided to create a vacant building registry to begin laying the groundwork for productive reuse of its many troubled properties. A property owner must register a vacant property and will start paying fees the longer it remains vacant.

The fees will help the city offset the extra costs for fire and police protection that vacant buildings often create, however they are also designed to motivate property owners to do something productive with the property or put it in the hands of someone who can.
Read more here.