SF cities increasingly tax owners of abandoned properties

December 13, 2011 05:25PM

In their search for funds to upkeep homes abandoned during the foreclosure crisis, more South Florida cities are passing the cost to the property owner in the form of a property tax addition, rather than allocating general taxpayer funds.

According to the Sun Sentinel, Hallandale Beach started the trend two years ago, and in recent months West Palm Beach and Palm Beach County have followed suit. Today, it’s up for vote in Sunrise and Hollywood is also considering a change.

Residents like the approach because it puts the onus of upkeep on the same person that bought the property and walked away from it, rather than neighbors who are current on their mortgage payments. Moreover, it helps stave off declines in neighboring property values. Sunrise alone has property maintenance leins totaling more than $145,000.

“Right now, the city goes in to take care of property and it could be years before we are paid back,” Sunrise Mayor Mike Ryan said on Monday. “It’s not fair to the good homeowners and it’s not fair to the taxpayers. They are either going to pay their taxes or lose their property.” [Sun Sentinel]