City Amends Vacant Building Registry

Liberty Abandoned

The city just amended its Vacant Building Registry and is now enforcing stricter codes. I am not familiar with the prior registry, so here’s a basic overview of what they are requesting:

  • vacant property owners must submit a vacant building registry application for each vacant property they own and they must provide the contact information for the party in charge of the building
  • owners must describe the premises and how they have secured the structure from public access
  • owners must maintain at least $300,000 in liability insurance for 1 & 2 unit buildings and $1,000,000 for other buildings
  • registration must be renewed annually. This fee can be waived if the owner decided to restore the property, of which, they must submit plans
  • any owner who fails to comply faces civil penalties between $500 and $1,000 per day the violation continues

Do you think owners will begin to comply when they consider the hefty fines they might face?

15 Comment

  • While I think it’s generally a good idea to populate the vacant buildings in the city, and some of these rules seem fair, the fines here just seem excessive. This is on top of the already excessive rules and fines that the city imposes on its citizens, and coming after back-breakingly large tax increases that have occurred over a short span of time. It seems like Newburgh’s solution to everything these days is to fine and restrict people (cigarette licences, anyone?)

    With fines that large, allot of these properties will probably fall into the city’s hands when the current owners can’t pay them. Maybe that’s not a bad thing. I don’t know.

    • Another ridiculous regulation by a clueless municipal management. Gee, I wonder what could happen if they ever reversed course and actually tried helping owners. Duh.

    • I think that the combination of putting poor people into old structures is one of the worst problems the City of Newburgh has. Instead of encouraging The Poverty Industry, certain bad people should be given a bus ticket out of town to wherever they wish to go as was done in NYC in the 70’s.

      In case you hadn’t noticed, the City has organizations importing the most destitute poor post-prison non-working people in order to justify the needs of a few people who make their living serving the poor. This is not justice. This is a racist policy of dumping problems into a racially-integrated community. It makes me sad to witness it. The City of Newburgh is an accepting and giving community but it is also sort of dumb because no other place would tolerate this abuse. Is there a problem of too much tolerance? Yes, it is called being a victim.Charging people vast fines and punishing property owners with huge taxes is just another way to hurt the very people you should be assisting–the good people of Newburgh.

  • Non sequitur. An assumption of ‘responsibility’ and ‘ownership’… really? Hmm, hasn’t that been the cloud of ambiguity that has provided cover for the tbtf’s and their enablers? As I commented previously, the munis do not have the resources nor the clout to challenge the the larger prey. When desperate and hungry go for the easier take down first…the private sector. Another year or so of this and the vacant buildings will be carrion for the demo-vores.
    Fees? New residential water meters will be the next straw man propped in front of a failing infrastructure. As a pre-empt: Non revenue water (NRV) is Newburgh’s issue. Fix that first.
    Newburgh, in the race to be the most expensive broke city to live in.

  • The politicians should focus on creating job opportunities so that people have money to buy the vacant homes, or afford to pay rent. There are very few building owners that want to keep a building vacant and have to pay taxes, insurance and maintenance costs. Landlords would prefer to have a nice building that they can rent out to rent paying tenants and at the end of the day make some profit. Additionally, when the cost of renovating a property are far more than the property is worth, what’s the incentive?
    Bring in the jobs and the rest will quickly fall into place.

  • These news rules are a direct result of owners of vacant properties doing nothing (either banks or private owners). These owners have no plan to rehab or demolish these buildings, because it is probably cost prohibitive (esp due to lead paint and asbestos abatement/removal). They’re just passively waiting/hoping for values to increase (not currently listed for sale or viable to rent). They say it is too expensive to rehab, too expensive to demolish, and, now, too expensive to pay insurance/vacant registry fees. Or if it is habitable, taxes and utilities make it too expensive to maintain.

    If the City will actually be able to collect these fees, I suppose it is good. But ultimately, there must be some real pathway to solution for these valueless buildings. If the city, owners, and banks don’t have the resources to solve the issue, who does? And solving the issue of a property that’s after-improved-value is still less than the resale value, that’s a conundrum in itself.

  • The city is to be commended for these more stringent rules against vacant properties, too many which blight our neighborhoods. The first house in the picture is on the corner of Liberty &Courtney, a block from my house. It is a fine substantial place that has been neglected for years. We had the current owner at our NHA meeting to ask him if he would make repairs to this property which is in disgraceful condition and affects our property values. He said he would fix the plywood on the broken windows, place them properly and paint either blue or grey as stipulated by code. That was 6 months ago and he has not done a damn thing as he promised. I have make complaints wit the Codes Department about it, filing in great detail the violations and read the record of citations given against the landlord who to date, has not corrected one of them. Not one. There is a house 12 Liberty (WH) that has had an open front door, unsecured, that has been open for over a yr. On the tax rolls the owner is listed as living in the house which obviously he doesn’t. Code Department has done nothing to find him though this could be done by verifying current address with the Accessor’s Office. I’m fed up with this ongoing blight and nobody in the City doing anything about and property owners who do complain and go through all the right channels getting nowhere. There must be accountability. and yes, these stricter laws holding landlords of vacant property to account are a very good thing and very needed.

    • It’s about ‘equitable interest,’ or the lack of. During the RE bubble years MERS dissolved the physical proof of registry, the Note. Mortgage documents were packaged into mortgage backed securities, sold and traded among investors. This further broke the chain of registry. No registry…no equitable interest…no accountability. Regardless, the fees and fines should accrue. Unpaid, they will be viewed as income and someone(s) will be hit with a 1099. The fed, states, counties and munis will collect accordingly. imo

  • Many who are invested (emotionally and financially) may find the following article informative, interesting, and applicable:

    Depopulation, Market Collapse and Property Abandonment: Surplus Land and Buildings in Legacy Cities

    • I think the author has been indulging in too much ‘urban agriculture’. i.e. “market demand is not a function of price…affordability is no longer an issue…Prices this low actually depress demand…”. BS. The article equates ‘price’ with ‘affordability’ while neglecting real ‘value’. The outlined categories to increase demand all require tax $’s. From where? A depleted tax base. As per the “milkers” that the author urbanely refers to…he under estimated. Central Planning has enabled the securitization of Lanlord Loans and the creation of Rental Home backed securities (‘got a pension, you might own shares and not even know it), the outcome of the ’12 FHFA REO to Rental Plan designed to ‘stabilize’ the RE market (connect some dots…Blackstone, Citadel, Deutsche Bank and Wells Fargo). Net effect: home ownership is down to ’94 levels @ 56% while rent prices have increased every year since.
      About demos…
      Simple: No income =’s no house, no rehab, no demo.

      • Although I agree that Newburgh does not have the resources to impliment a hot agricultural land market within the city limits, I think the article is relatively even handed and blunt about the difficult situation that these cities face. It doesn’t present any singular idea as the magic bullet.

        In this more recent article by the same author, he espouses the effects of home ownership on neighborhood stability:
        And here is an astute rebuttal:

        • “blunt”…
          ‘Some interesting charts starting on page 12 that puts a visual on ‘housing’. Until that gdp trend on page 6 reverses we’re pushing on a string.
          As per that ‘targeting by predatory lenders’, does the same ‘bias’ currently apply to the $Tril. + student loans outstanding… a third of which are now in default? If so, where are the ‘talking heads’. Let me guess, “it’s different this time”. The authors are naively behind the eight ball or they’re tooling. The “stigmatization” meme is taking a 180 as the skimmers know what side their bread is buttered on. ‘Universal welfare’, from the low income renter receiving vouchers to Wall Street’s Uncle Warren benefiting from a .gov policy favoring rails over pipelines.
          ‘Last I checked the treasury was still printing I.O.U.s en masse
          ‘talking a lot, but not saying anything…