This invaluable practical resource published by the American Bar Association provides a thorough introduction to the legal and policy issues associated with vacant and problem properties, how to take action to revitalize them, and how to frame effective and defensible local ordinances and regulations. It also addresses the benefits and challenges of creating land banks, the regulatory issues involved with dealing with brownfield properties, the importance of developing sound demolition strategies, and the value of greening or nondevelopment reuse strategies.
The chapter titled “Creating the Framework in Local Government for Action on Problem Properties” by Karen Black explores the legal frameworks that states and local governments are collaboratively creating to address problem properties. To establish these frameworks, many states and municipalities are reforming and modernizing three long-standing tools – tax foreclosure, eminent domain, and code enforcement – and adopting new targeted tools to incentivize or compel owners to maintain their properties. The additional tools discussed in this chapter include laws that require identification and registration of owners and properties, make code compliance and tax payments a prerequisite to obtaining government services, open up estates to take properties out of ownership limbo, create personal owner liability for property condition, police buyers’ actions after the purchase of a property with code violations, increase government’s ability to transfer problem properties to responsible new owners, and provide financial assistance to property owners.
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