A recent article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution discusses the intent of the City to broadcast on the city’s public TV channel the board meetings where property demolitions are discussed.
Though the article mentions the motivations behind this initiative, it can’t be coincidental that it comes soon after the report of “City tears down man’s Atlanta house after sending warnings to wrong address, he says”.
Additionally, the article provides a telling quote:
“We found that 92% of properties demolished by the city using the in rem proceedings were not registered in the vacant property registry,” Hagley said. “Some property owners may be unaware that their property has been referred to the in rem process.”
What does this really mean? What does this demonstrate?
Why were 92% not registered on the registry? It could simply be a case of negligent property owners who ignore property maintenance codes (causing the property to be deemed uninhabitable etc.) also ignoring the registration requirement.
However if it is like many other communities that have a registry, then it is a case of a community not maximizing an existing resource.
A registry will garner some level of compliance, even with minimal effort, but to truly maximize it, it needs dedicated attention.
Though a registry was designed to be a preventative tool, here at the latter stages of a property’s life it provides value.
Any chance of salvaging a property (and saving the municipality the demolition costs) requires earliest possible intervention. After a property has been condemned and the extra notification efforts are exerted, it is most likely too late.
“Some property owners may be unaware that their property has been referred to the in rem process.”
Broadcasting the hearings are a start, however fully maximizing the registry is the best way to assure owners are aware.
The best way to maximize the registry is to utilize the focus MuniReg provides.