New vacant property ordinance
The City Council recently passed a new ordinance to address the issue of vacant properties. The purpose of the ordinance is to discourage the neglect of unsafe vacant properties in Takoma Park. The new ordinance requires that vacant properties that have been empty for over 30 days must be registered with the City and pay a $200 registration fee unless they are furnished and have operating utilities.
All vacant properties must be secured, and the exterior of the building and the grounds must be maintained. The owner, agent or property maintenance company is required to post contact information inclusive of a name and a 24-hour phone number. If the property has code violations, the City may issue a notice to correct the violations and may also issue a citation for a Class A violation and impose penalties against the owner, agent or other responsible party.
There are exceptions, such as if a property has building permits and is under construction or renovation. If owners or agents are actively attempting to sell or rent a property, they are exempt for six months or more.
The ordinance officially goes into effect July 1, 2016. If you wish to read the ordinance in more detail, it can be found on the City’s website by searching “vacant property registry” in the site’s search field. To register a property, or if you have further questions, please call 301-891-7119.
This article appeared in the June 2016 edition of the Takoma Park Newsletter. The Takoma Park Newsletter is available for download here.