Empty properties require actual violation before being considered ‘vacant’


Chesterton, IN: To be considered a vacant property in town necessitates two flags before qualifying under the new registration program. Any property, commercial or residential, will not require registration or be declared “vacant” if vacant, regardless of the time left vacant. However, if a property is in completion, rehabilitation, or repair and completion, rehabilitation, or repair work has not taken place on the property for at least six consecutive months; has a municipal lien unpaid for a year; misses a tax payment; has been declared a public nuisance; or has been declared in writing by the owner to be abandoned, then a property will have to be registered.


Registration includes identification of a manager residing within 30 miles of the property; information for every entity involved in the property’s finances; the sales or transfer deed; the insurance carrier; and a plan and timeline, accepted by the city, for remedying whatever triggered the registration in the first place. Once registered, any changes to any circumstances or information involving the property must be reported within five days or be assessed civil penalties.


Noncompliance with the listed triggers establishing “vacant” status for a period of 90 consecutive days can be fined $500, then increasing by increments of an additional $500 to the previous fee per each next 90 days, to a maximum of $6,000 per structure per year.


Registration for single- to three-residence properties is $250. The cost is $500 for commercial or residential properties with more than three units, with the cost increasing to $1,000 for the second year, and $1,500 for each subsequent year.


Ascent combines focused research and centralized operations oversight to create innovative outsourced solutions for code enforcement violations, vacant property registration ordinances, property preservation, and other vendor management needs from across the United States.