December 15, 2010
Hirokawa & Gonzalez on Regulating Vacant Property
Another one from Keith H. Hirokawa (Albany), with Ira Gonzalez (JD Candidate, Loyola-New Orleans & former Chief of Operations/Code Enforcement, City of Miami): Regulating Vacant Property, from The Urban Lawyer, Vol. 42, No. 3, p. 647 (2010). The abstract:
Local governments have recently noted a correlation between the characteristics of neglected properties (e.g., unkempt yards, garbage accumulation, unsightly and dangerous structures) and the onslaught of neighborhood blight. Local governments have also noted the coincidence of unoccupied structures and property deterioration through lack of maintenance. Accordingly, local governments (in droves) have employed the police power to regulate property vacancy. In other words, to clamp down on blight, lawmakers are turning to regulation of non-use of real estate through vacant property regulatory programs.
Vacant property regulations may provide an efficient way for local governments to contain neighborhood deterioration. In a troubled real estate market, such efforts may also support the property owners' interests in the maintaining property values until market conditions improve. However, vacant property regulations pose special, perhaps unanticipated, problems for owners and neighborhoods. This article considers whether the current iterations of vacant property regulation may do more harm than good.
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