February 2022 report titled “State Policy and Problem Property Regulation” is derived is derived from a working paper prepared by Alan Mallach pursuant to a joint program agreement between the Center for Community Progress and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

“This report that can be a resource for practitioners and policymakers at the state and local levels. It focuses on the central theme that state laws and regulations largely determine what local governments can or cannot do to regulate problem properties and is designed to be useful to people working to frame more effective strategies to deal with problem properties and work with state governments and legislatures to enact new laws and amend older ones to that end. Moreover, it should be useful locally, alerting local officials and advocates to where their city may not be using (or misusing) the tools provided by their state’s laws, or to where opportunities for creative action exist by virtue of the absence of conflicting state laws.”

Elements of Problem Property Regulation
1. Laying the foundation
Relevant property information, such as registration ordinances; clearly defined, reasonable and transparent codes and standards to enforce; and the organizational framework, capacity and resources to enforce those standards.

2. Enforcing health and safety in rental housing
Having an effective regulatory program to ensure that rental properties are inspected regularly, and that all rental properties meet basic health and safety standards.

3. Addressing vacant abandoned properties
Minimizing harm while properties are vacant and getting them into responsible ownership and back to productive use.

Six Principles to Guide Sound State Policy
1. State law should grant clear and explicit authority to local government to regulate problem properties in the public interest.

2. State law should offer a diverse body of regulatory tools for use by local government to address the full range of problem conditions that may be present in the community.

3. Regulatory tools should be flexible in order to allow local government to deal effectively with conditions as they arise, up to and including provisions for taking control of properties where other efforts have been unsuccessful.

4. Regulatory tools should incorporate provisions that allow quasi-governmental entities such as land banks, qualified nonprofit entities, and residents, as appropriate, to act to resolve problem property conditions.

5. Regulatory tools should provide clear procedural standards to guide local officials, property owners, residents, and where appropriate, the courts.

6. Regulatory tools should provide for transparency and responsiveness to diverse community concerns, and actively further equity in enforcement.

To view the summary, please click here.

To view the full report, please click here.

To view the full working paper, please click on following link.
From State Capitols to City Halls