Tired of the thousands of vacant structures blighting city neighborhoods, Councilman Kristerfer Burnett is proposing a new way for Baltimore to hold negligent owners accountable. 📸 Photo credit: Melissa Archer
Under a bill introduced at last week's Baltimore City Council meeting, the owner of any property found violating city housing code as a “vacant structure”–one “unsafe or unfit for human habitation or other authorized use, or…a nuisance property,” per city code–would be required to post a registration sign to the building.
The signage would include the property address, name, address, phone number and email for the owner of record, the “managing operator” or the head of any LLC or business entity that owns the property. Any property in default or foreclosure would have to include name, address and phone number of any creditors or lien holders.
Although much of this information is available online, Burnett stated that “there’s a lot of steps, and the information is disjointed...” An owner found violating Burnett’s proposed rule would face a fine of up to $500 per day. The councilman wants to send half of that money to the city’s new Affordable Housing Trust Fund, and the other half to the general fund, which he said could help cover what would surely be an increased burden on DHCD for code enforcement.
The city has wrestled for years with thousands of vacant buildings bringing down the quality of life in neighborhoods.
Some, such as Carol Ott of Slumlord Watch, raised questions about Brunett's proposal, calling it "premature" at this point.
To read more about the proposed change, follow the link in our profile.
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