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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: March 13, 2023 01:47 PM
From: Representative Tim Twardzik
To: All House members
Subject: Vacant Property Registration
I will be introducing legislation that allows our communities to create and maintain a vacant property registration, which is a blight fighting, smart growth tool used to stabilize and re-develop communities.
Specifically, the “Vacant Property Registration Act”:
  • Allows a municipality to enact an ordinance or resolution that requires a vacant property registration fee.
  • Any municipality that elects to impose and collect a registration fee shall compile and maintain a vacant and blighted properties list that identifies by address and owner all vacant and blighted properties in the municipality.  Each listing shall contain the date each vacant and blighted property was listed.
  • The municipality shall submit their vacant and blighted properties list annually and submit the list to the county assessment office or a comparable office in a home rule county.  The municipality shall submit the municipality’s first vacant and blighted properties list within six months of the enactment of an ordinance.
  • A municipality with a vacant and blighted property registration ordinance in place prior to the effective date shall not be required to amend their ordinance to comply with the provisions of this legislation.
  • Provides certain exemption conditions to owners for economic hardship, active military service, probate situations and active real estate sales marketing, providing that the properties comply with local, state and federal codes and laws.
  • Penalizes owners who fail to comply with the registration requirements by $25 per day for residential properties and $50 per day for commercial or industrial properties for every day that the owner has failed to register the vacant property with the municipality.
  • If the property owner brings the property into compliance with the municipal code within 12 months or sells the property to an entity that brings the property into compliance with the municipal code, the fee shall be waived.
  • Makes all unpaid fees and liens against the property, collectable as per existing statute regarding municipal claims.
  • Requires municipalities that operate a vacant property program to create a “blight remediation and eradication fund” and to use the funds to:
    • Acquire tax delinquent and foreclosed properties
    • Donate to a land bank
    • Apply to conservatorship projects as provided for in Act 135 of 2008
    • Remediate blight conditions within its jurisdiction
    • And/or to educate its residents about the costs and dangers of vacancy and blight.
Irresponsible property owners cause substantial socioeconomic problems for our communities.  Local governments spend tax dollars securing vacant and vacant/blighted properties.  In addition, property values decline in neighborhoods with vacancy and blight.  It is important that we shift the responsibility for vacancy and blight from responsible, taxpaying property owners to the irresponsible owners of properties left vacant and blighted.
Please join me in co-sponsoring this important piece of legislation.

Introduced as HB775