Klamath Falls, OR, vacant property registration ordinance finds success, encourages further community efforts
Klamath Falls, OR: The City’s efforts to handle blight via a vacant property registration ordinance have been seeing assistance from efforts by locals groups, such as the Mills Neighborhood Association.
Since the program to combat “zombie” foreclosures and blight was put into place in 2016, the city has seen increased action in people reporting potential code violations related, as well as community response to neighborhood beatification.
The ordinance requires, upon default of the borrower, that the lender performs an inspection of the property, and if found to be vacant, the lender must register the property, at no cost, with the Code Enforcement Division of the Police Department.
An additional program targets vacant, abandoned, and neglected homes in neighborhoods where resolving the code violations could be readily performed or where the property is so far beyond the various violations that demolition would be the most effective measure.
The City notifies the owners of the property in question of the situation, and if the owners do not remedy all violations within a reasonable time period, the City petitions the Circuit Court to “appoint a third-party receiver to resolve the issues with the property.
Per the City’s webpage about housing blight: “If the Circuit Court appoints a receiver, the City's formal involvement would end and a third party receiver would take control of the property. The Circuit Court supervises the abatement of identified code issues. The receiver would pay the taxes and address the issues causing the blight. At the completion of the abatement, the receiver would receive a super-priority lien with administrative fees, second only to taxes. If the mortgage company and owner fail to pay the lien, the receiver may foreclose its lien.
Since the receiver's lien is higher priority than the mortgage company's lien, it is the City's hope that mortgage companies will comply with the initial notice and a petition to Circuit Court is unnecessary. In other instances, the City will need to make a case by case determination on the likelihood of success.”
Those ordinances, along with efforts by community groups, have reduced blight across the city, as well as turned properties causing neighborhood home value decline, into viable areas where new businesses can invest and families are more given to move into.
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