The Real Deal New York

City Council seeks to ramp up oversight of vacant property

Landlords could face new fines on a weekly basis
January 30, 2019 02:30PM

A vacant lot (Credit: iStock)

Six proposed bills seek to ramp up oversight of vacant property in the city, including one that would charge landlords weekly fines.

One of the proposed City Council measures would require landlords to annually register their land — once it’s sat vacant for a year — with the city. Those who fail to do so face fines of up to $500 per week, Curbed reported.

“Vacant properties are troublesome for our communities they bring down property values and they attract crime or create health hazards,” said Council member Robert Cornegy, Jr., chair of the council’s committee on housing and buildings. “They’re properties that can be used for housing for low-income families, as community gardens, or as playgrounds.”

This isn’t the first time that the city has targeted vacant properties. In November 2017, the de Blasio administration released an update to its affordable housing program that included a proposal to reclassify residential-zoned vacant land to increase tax bills for such properties and to “incentivize owners to make their sites productive.”

A representative for the Department of Housing and Preservation noted that relying on landlords to self-report may lead to unreliable data. [Curbed] — Kathryn Brenzel