Vacant property registration ordinance approved in Columbia, SC

Columbia, SC: A vacant property registration ordinance was approved, on second reading, by the City Council.

All vacant buildings must be registered within 120 days of becoming vacant, must be maintained to City Code for the duration of the vacancy, and must renewal their registration annually by the date set that the building became vacant.

Registration includes supplying: a letter of consent allowing the City to enter and inspect the property for the duration of vacancy and payment of an annual $50 compliance inspection fee, current contact information for the owners, current contact information for a representative if the owners reside greater than 45 miles from the vacant property, plans for preparing the property for occupancy, for resolving and code violations, for monitoring the property to prevent further code violations, and a layout of the structure.

The first registration has no fee involved. Subsequent years of vacancy for non-residential properties: $100 for 1st year, $500 for 2nd year, and $1,000 for 3rd and each following year. Subsequent years of vacancy for residential properties: $50 for 1st year, $250 for 2nd year, and $500 for 3rd and each following year.

Failure to register, or update current information, or submit the vacant building plan, within 30 days of notification by the City are subject to fines of $500; that is in addition to any fine brought by code violations.

Some properties may be exempt from registration, as follows: Residential and commercial buildings actively marketed for sale or rent (up to one year, longer by appeal, and must be maintained to minimum code for the duration on the market); actively being renovated, with clear progression progress (up to one year, longer by appeal); fire or weather damage (up to one year, longer by appeal); government-owned; set for demolition; financial hardship; in probate and actively being transferred; and properties which have had no code violations in the previous 12 months, while being secured but not boarded, and are structurally sound.




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