Jersey City cracks down on abandoned properties

May 07, 2012 11:00AM

Jersey City officials have begun a push to flag the city’s estimated 950 vacant buildings, the Wall Street Journal reported, in an effort to cleanup blighted streetscapes. The measure utilizes the state’s strong abandoned property laws, which require landlords to register abandoned buildings and allow the state to repossess properties in order to sell them or tear them down and redevelop the land if a building is unoccupied for six months.

The real estate industry has opposed abandoned building registries, the Journal said, arguing that they are cumbersome. The industry has instead supported the state placing liens on abandoned properties.

“That’s the best way to do it. Eventually the lien is going to be paid off,” Len Rosenberg, a New Jersey landlord, told the Journal.

But Jersey City officials believe the volume of blighted buildings mean they need to take more aggressive action.

“Almost every block in this city has a vacant building on it,” Mark Redfield, assistant director for housing code enforcement in Jersey City, told the Journal. “It’s really a horrible thing for society.” [WSJ]