[Ord. No. 848, 10-6-2020]
Purpose And Scope.
The Board of Aldermen finds that the continuation of properties that are vacant and in disrepair have a negative effect on the community as a whole, including decreasing property values, reducing the quality of life, promoting crime, and negatively affecting the health and welfare of the community. Further, the Board finds that the property owners, which cause these effects, should be required to pay a portion of the costs of these effects to the community.
It is the purpose of this Section to provide for the effective monitoring and routine inspection of vacant buildings and structures that, due to Housing Code violations, may endanger the life, health, property, safety or welfare of the general public and this Section shall apply to all residential structures that have been vacant for more than six (6) months and that are subject to Housing Code violations.
Definitions. The following words and phrases, when used in this Section, shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them:
- HOUSING CODE
- The Housing Code will consist of the Cities currently adopted International Building Codes, fire, health, property maintenance, nuisance or other ordinances, which contains standards regulating the condition or maintenance of residential buildings.
- RESIDENTIAL STRUCTURE
- A structure designed primarily to residential use, whether classified as residential or commercial and regardless of the number of dwelling units contained within such structure.
Every parcel of residential property improved by a residential structure or commercial property improved by a structure containing multiple dwelling units, that is vacant and has been vacant for at least six (6) months and is characterized by the violation of the Housing Code shall be registered as a vacant residential structure and shall be subject to the registration fee.
The Building Inspector or his/her designee shall periodically survey the buildings within the City to determine if any are subject to the provisions of this Section.
Designation Of Vacant Residential Structures.
Registration. The Building Inspector or his/her designee shall investigate any property that may be subject to registration. Based upon his/her findings, the inspector may register the property as a vacant residential structure to this Section.
Notice Of Registration. Within five (5) business days of such registration, the City Clerk shall notify the owners of the registered property by mail at their last known address according to the records of the City and Johnson County. Such notice shall state:
A description of the property registered;
A description of the Housing Code violations found on the property;
The fact that a semi-annual registration fee has been levied on the property;
The amount of the semi-annual registration fee;
A correction order listing the issues that have been found on the property;
Inform the property owner of the right to appeal;
A statement of the right of the City to place a lien; and
A statement about the right to post a copy of the registration on the premises.
Appeal Of Fee And/Or Reconsideration To Municipal Court. Within thirty (30) days of the date of such notification, the property owner may appeal the decision to the office of the Municipal Court for the City.
Amount Of Fee. There is hereby established and assessed a semi-annual fee in the amount of two hundred dollars ($200.00) imposed on all owners of property registered under this Section. Such fee shall be due and payable upon the notice that the property is required to register and shall be again due and payable each subsequent January 1st and June 1st of each year.
Owner Responsible. It shall be the joint responsibility of each owner of property registered pursuant to this Section to pay the semi-annual registration fee.
Accrual Of Fee. The registration fee shall begin to accrue on the beginning of the second (2nd) calendar quarter after registration by the inspector or reconsideration by the inspector; however, in the event that an appeal is filed with the Municipal Court, the registration fee shall begin to accrue on the beginning of the second (2nd) calendar quarter after the final decision of the Municipal Judge or court of competent jurisdiction.
Billing Procedures — Late Penalties. The City Collector and/or the City Clerk shall cause to be mailed to the owner of property registered under this Section, at his/her last known address, a bill for the semi-annual registration fee. The fee shall be due and payable within thirty (30) days of mailing. In addition to any other penalties provided by law, if an owner fails to pay the fee assessed for such property within thirty (30) days of the date of mailing, a late payment fee of twenty-five dollars ($25.00) per month shall be assessed for each month during which the fee remains unpaid.
Collection Of Delinquent Fees — Lien On Property And Other Effects Of Delinquent Fees — Foreclosure Proceedings.
Action To Recover. In addition to any other penalties provided by law, the City may initiate and pursue an action in a court of competent jurisdiction to recover any unpaid fees, interest and penalties from any person liable therefore and, in addition, may recover the costs of such action, including reasonable attorney fees.
Lien On Property. Any unpaid or delinquent fee, interest and/or penalties, whether or not reduced to judgment, shall constitute a lien against the property for which the fee was originally assessed until the same shall be fully satisfied. The City Clerk is authorized to take all steps necessary to file and perfect such liens as may be required or directed by the inspector from time to time.
Obtaining Permits Prohibited. In addition to any other penalties provided by law, if an owner fails to pay the fee assessed for such property, including any late payment fee subsequently imposed, within sixty (60) days of the date of mailing of the initial bill, said owner shall not be permitted to apply for, obtain or renew any City license or permit of any kind until such delinquency has been satisfied.
Foreclosure. Any registration fees which are delinquent for a period of one (1) year shall be subject to foreclosure proceedings in the same manner as delinquent real property taxes. The owner of the property against which the assessment was originally made shall be able to redeem the property only by presenting evidence that the violations of the applicable Housing Code cited by the inspector have been cured and presenting payment of all registration fees and penalties.
Upon bona fide sale of the property to an unrelated party said lien shall be considered released and the delinquent registration fee forgiven.
All previous ordinances, or portions of ordinances, in conflict with this Section are repealed to the extent of such conflict.