NACPO Helps City of Omaha Revise Vacant and Abandoned Property Ordinance

NACPO Helps City of Omaha Revise Vacant and Abandoned Property Ordinance

[NOTE: If you are looking for an article on Spring Ridge, the correct link for that article is as you may have been directed here incorrectly]

The Nebraska Association of Commercial Property Owners (NACPO) conferred with the Omaha City Council in October about a recently passed Vacant and Abandoned Property Ordinance that would require the registration of all vacant buildings and assess quarterly fees on property owners who are not taking care of their properties.

Initially introduced in September, the ordinance was designed to hold property owners of neglected or abandoned homes accountable and push them to take action by cleaning up, demolishing, or selling their properties.

In addition to being an eyesore, abandoned and neglected properties can be a safety hazard and can attract criminal activity. However, the use of the term “vacant” in the City’s original draft of the ordinance would have potentially impacted residential and commercial property owners who were simply having a hard time selling or leasing a property that was no longer occupied, but in good condition.

While well-intentioned, the original ordinance would have required registration if a property was vacant for more than 180 days, even if it was being maintained.

NACPO stepped in to oppose requiring the registration of vacant buildings that were being maintained and secured and were being actively marketed for lease or for sale.

Additionally, in cooperation with the Nebraska Bankers Association, NACPO opposed the original ordinance’s requirement to register a vacant building simply because the mortgage was delinquent, the building was in foreclosure or the property was taken back by a lender, but the property is in good condition and not a hazard. Representatives of the city law department have said that a large portion of problem vacant or abandoned properties are owned by out-of-state banks.

By working with the City Council and City Attorney’s office, NACPO was able to help in getting a more reasonable version of the ordinance drafted. The revised ordinance was unanimously approved by the City Council on Tuesday, November 17, 2015.

For questions or comments about local and state legislative issues, please contact John Dickerson at 402.778.7521. John is the current President of the Nebraska Association of Commercial Property Owners.