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Vacant Property Registration Ordinances

Benton C. Martin

Emory University School of Law


Real Estate Law Journal, Vol. 39, p. 6, 2010

The many cost to local governments associated with high levels of unoccupied buildings is an overlooked consequence of the foreclosure crisis. In response to the risk of these buildings deteriorating, an increasing number of local governments are enacting vacant property registration ordinances. These ordinances seek to discourage vacancy, maintain unoccupied buildings to an acceptable community standard, keep a database of contact information of the parties responsible for unoccupied buildings, or any combination of these goals. This article analyzes the prevalence of the two primary types of ordinances: ordinances based on length of vacancy or on foreclosure status. It also discusses emerging trends and the legal foundation for enforcement of these ordinances. Finally, the article concludes that local governments aiming for successful registration programs should tailor their ordinances to local needs and support vigorous code enforcement. In addition to this conclusion, this article sets out recommendations regarding local government involvement with the Mortgage Electronic Registration System, state-wide registration ordinances, and federal vacant property support.

© Thomson Reuters 2010. Reprinted in the Social Science Research Network with permission. To purchase this product please go online to Legal Solutions/Thomson Reuters.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 38

Keywords: Property, Urban, Vacant Property, Local Government, Foreclosure

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Date posted: January 28, 2012 ; Last revised: August 22, 2013

Suggested Citation

Martin, Benton C., Vacant Property Registration Ordinances (2010). Real Estate Law Journal, Vol. 39, p. 6, 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1992748

Contact Information

Benton C. Martin (Contact Author)
Emory University School of Law ( email )
1301 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States

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