“Councilmember Silverman Introduces Bill to Strengthen Enforcement on District’s Vacant Properties”

Boarded Up Houses 9th St from 2009

From Council Member Elissa Silverman’s office:

“Under current District law, the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) is required to send its inspectors to every property designated as vacant or blighted, currently reported as totaling 1,277 properties, every six months in order to continue designating the properties as vacant. The legislation aims to eliminate inefficient use of DCRA inspectors’ time, strengthen existing incentives to put properties to productive use, and fund nuisance abatement efforts to mitigate harms caused by vacant or blighted properties.

“We have a housing crisis in our city. I want us to do more to put these properties back in functioning service so they can house our residents and stop draining our time and money,” said Silverman. “We need to enforce our vacant property laws as effectively as possible.”

The District government currently charges higher property tax rates for vacant or blighted properties. Some properties may qualify for limited exemptions from higher rates based on landlords’ active efforts to improve, rent, or sell the properties. The level of constituent complaints to the D.C. Council suggests that many vacant or blighted properties may not be properly classified and further investigations by DCRA have led to altered classifications of exempted properties as vacant or blighted.

The legislation was referred to the Committee on Business, Consumer, and Regulatory Affairs.”

Vacant_and_Blighted_Building_Enforcement_Amendment_Act_of_2015 (PDF)

9 Comment

  • DC should also make it easier to seize properties that are vacant and owe back taxes, and sell them quickly. The current process is far too cumbersome and laborious.

  • THANK YOU!!! We talk about a lack of housing, well if these properties weren’t vacant, there’s be a lot more!

  • I like this. If you get slapped with the vacant designation, put more of the onus on the owner to get it removed and not waste city resources. Good idea.

  • They should start with the long vacant row of houses on 9th St at R St NW owned by Shiloh Baptist church. I’ll pay for the stickers.

  • They should actually start with their “own backyard.” 1334 Irving St. NW was renovated by the DCHA for workforce affordable housing in July 2011. It has sat empty for four and a half YEARS now!

  • How about DCRA make it easier to rebuild and renovate vacant properties?? We have been trying to get a raze permit for 2 years for a vacant property – complete hold up from Washington Gas on removing their service. We want to build 4 units of affordable housing. Meanwhile, the property sits vacant… waiting… waiting… waiting on DCRA and Washington Gas to get their act together!!!

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