Property owner association files lawsuit regarding Omaha, NE, vacant property registration ordinance
Omaha, NE: A group has filed a lawsuit against the City of Omaha regarding its vacant property registration ordinance.
The Metropolitan Omaha Property Owners Association alleges the ordinance violates a 2015 consent decree agreement with the City, creating an unfair tax on the owners via the vacant property registration ordinance fees.
The City currently sends out notice to the last known address of the listed owner for a vacant property, and requires a $500 fee along with steps to register the property, provide current contact information for owners and parties responsible, and a timeline with plans for how to remove the property from the registry.
Owners are required to register within 30 days of notice of a property being deemed abandoned, vacant, or neglected, based on the ordinance. A registration is not required if the owner responds and can show, before the 30 days from notice are up, the necessary steps for securing and maintenance have been completed or the property is no longer abandoned/vacant; some additional exemptions apply.
Registration is required again every 90 days, with another $500 fee, until the property satisfies all requirements to be removed from the registry; vacant lots are not required to pay a fee.
In the event all steps involved in any given registration are not completed within timeframes provided, the City may proceed with registering the property for the owner, which can result in not only the $500 registration fee but additional civil penalties of $500 for violations of the ordinance. Costs involved may be placed as a lien against the property, and additional legal steps to handle the given situation for a property may also be undertaken.
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