Vacant properties can quickly become blighted, dangerous, and magnets for crime. Intervention in the maintenance of vacant property is critical to stopping the spiral of neighborhood decline. The rapidly changing nature of property’s ownership and occupancy status has made it difficult for local government, as well as neighbors, to track the status of property. Often it is unclear whether a commercial or residential property is occupied, being improved, for sale, or foreclosed and abandoned.
To combat this, many local governments have adopted vacant property registration ordinances. These ordinances not only enable local governments to track a property’s status, but create an additional incentive for property holders to aggressively market and improve property so that it can return to an active use that enhances the value of the surrounding neighborhood and market. Enacting a vacant property ordinance can help municipalities keep track of vacant inventories and hold owners accountable for neglect and blight.