On Wednesday, February 8, the Tallahassee City Commission will consider a staff recommendation to draft an ordinance creating a registration process for properties in foreclosure.
Noted in the meeting agenda, vacant and unmaintained properties may have a range of problems including, lowering the property value for neighboring homeowners, the accumulation of trash, unsanitary conditions which could further advance the spread of disease, and providing criminals a hideout.
Some local governments in Florida have chosen to track vacant and abandoned properties in order to mitigate blight and update property owners so they may be aware of the property’s status. Tracking the vacant/abandoned properties creates a legal record of the property’s status.
Communities in Florida that have implemented an oversight process report security improvements, more investment, and blight reduction. In addition, the approach results in a database of vacant and foreclosed properties.
There are three model ordinances currently in use by 10 local government entities in Florida as a tool for enforcement:
- The Vacancy and Abandonment Model Ordinance: This type of ordinance requires property owners to register properties after a certain length of vacancy. The ordinance length of vacancy varies but is usually between 60 and 180 days.
- The Foreclosure Model Ordinance: This type of ordinance requires registration of the vacant or abandoned property by a formal, state-required notice of default or intent to foreclosure filed as a part of a judicial proceeding or advertised by the mortgagee or servicer as a part of a nonjudicial foreclosure process. This model ordinance was created because municipalities found some properties were in foreclosure and had been vacated well before the foreclosure sale.
- The Hybrid Model Ordinance: This type of ordinance has shared characteristics of the Vacancy and Abandonment Model and the Foreclosure Model. This model ordinance can be initiated by vacancy and by foreclosure-related actions.
Staff notes that the City of Tallahassee has a Vacant-to-Vibrant-Program which helps restore vacant properties. The purpose of the program is to transform blighted, vacant properties and use them to create community amenities such as, gardens, parks and public art.
However, currently there is no registration process. Staff is only able track vacant and abandoned properties owned by the city. These properties may often be used for affordable housing and other revitalizing projects.
Staff is recommending the adoption of the Foreclosure Model ordinance.