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Strategy-of-the-Month: Best Practices in Dealing with Vacant and Abandoned Properties
Posted Date: April 21, 2009

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Regulatory Barriers Clearinghouse
Strategy-of-the-Month Club
 
April 2009
 
The current housing foreclosure crisis is adding to the number
of vacant and abandoned properties in many communities. Left
unattended, these properties fall prey to vandalism, attract
crime, and contribute to overall neighborhood decline. Not only
do local governments face increased expenditures in the form
of maintenance and service costs for these properties, they
also lose considerable property tax revenue. To help local
governments minimize the effects of property abandonment,
the United States Conference of Mayors has compiled a report
cataloguing successful abandoned property strategies from
across the nation. The report, Vacant and Abandoned
 Properties: Survey and Best Practices, contains 27 strategies
that address foreclosure prevention, minimizing the effects of
abandoned properties, and encouraging reuse of vacant
properties.
 
A number of programs described in the report aim to curtail
blight by ensuring that abandoned properties remain well-
maintained. For example, the city of Chula Vista, California
adopted an abandoned property maintenance ordinance that
requires lenders to maintain foreclosed properties in their
inventory. Through its Vacant and Abandoned Building
Monitoring Program, the city of Hollywood, Florida, closely
monitors foreclosed properties for maintenance concerns.
Other best practices in the report include rehabilitation
programs, such as Bowling Green, Kentucky's Rental
Conversion Program. The city's housing authority acquires and
renovates vacant rental housing units, which are then sold to
low-income families at affordable prices. The city of Dallas,
Texas acquires tax-foreclosed properties and transfers
ownership to nonprofit agencies for affordable housing
development under its Urban Land Bank Demonstration
Program.
 
For detailed descriptions of these and other vacant and abandoned
property initiatives, please view the report in its entirety
at http://www.huduser.gov/rbc/search/rbcdetails.asp?DocId=1877.
 
We hope this information proves useful to you in your efforts to
grow your region's affordable housing stock. If you have
regulatory reform strategies or resources that you'd like to
share, email us at rbcsubmit@huduser.gov, call us at 1-800-
245-2691 (option 4), or visit our website at www.regbarriers.org.
 
Feel free to forward this message to anyone who is working to
reduce regulatory barriers to affordable housing.
 
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