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Phoenix will require vacant property owners to register online

Phoenix will soon require certain property owners to register with the city.

On Wednesday, the City Council approved an ordinance creating a vacant property registry. Owners of vacant lots over 10,000 square feet, along with commercial properties and residential properties with more than 50 units that are vacant more than 30 days must register online. 

Councilwoman Betty Guardado said property rights come with responsibilities, “Too many out of state and absentee owners allow their properties to turn to blight and disrepair by leaving them vacant.”

When owners register, the city will provide information and resources on crime prevention through environmental design and property maintenance standards. Owners will also be offered tools to prevent the most common complaints like graffiti and trespassing. For example, a graffiti removal waiver that allows city staff to access the property and a private property outreach waiver to allow Office of Homeless Solutions staff or contractors to access the property to provide outreach and offer services.

“It should not be the responsibility of city staff to spend hours and taxpayer money to track down the owner of a vacant building in our community,” Guardado said.

The registry will take effect in January. Enforcement will begin in February and could involve fines between $500 and $2,500 if violations are not corrected.

The online portal, which should launch Jan. 1, will include an option for interested applicants to share their information with the Community and Economic Development Department, which could use it when providing referrals for businesses seeking vacant commercial space.

As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.