Legislative amendment to VPR program in South Bend would move fee from $50 per property to $300


South Bend, IN: Costs falling on the shoulders of the community have caused a push for the vacant property registration (VPR) fee to increase from $50 to $300.


The price increase was inspired by a lack of many property owners registering their properties, or making themselves readily known. The city currently pays $300 per property in fees to track down the owner. So, rather than draw the cost of that from city coffers provided by community members not violating the ordinance, legislation was recommended to uptick the registration fee to pay for the cost to track down noncompliance.


City data puts 56 percent of vacant property owners as either outside the state; and even outside the country in some circumstances. Some 400 of those property owners determined to be outside Indiana have not complied with the VPR, and continue to contribute to the blight problems impacting the city.


The increased fee is not set in stone for every vacant property owner, as the proposed legislation allows for compliance with the city’s VPR program before notification is sent out. Property owners can register their properties with the city, thus avoiding the $300 fee, shortly after a property they have falls under the description of vacant property.


City Council President Tim Scott said, regarding concerns about a fee bump, “The good thing about the bill is if you’re registering your property with the city voluntarily, you won’t get a fee. If you stay in communication, you’re working on your property, you’re working with code, you’re not going to get the fee.”


So long as property owners in South Bend are paying attention to the laws of the city, and keep their contact information up-to-date, the cost for keeping vacant property would be unlikely to rack up exorbitant fees for noncompliance.


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.