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Date Summer 2020
Client American Planning Association Planning & Law Division
Length 2 Pages

Planning Publication

Innovative State and Local Government Legal Tools to Take Action on Vacant and Problem Properties

This piece by Karen Black for the Planning & Law Division of the American Planning Association discusses innovative legal tools to bring properties back online or up to code. Local governments have been on the frontlines of the fight to improve real estate property conditions. Over the years, many planners and other local leaders have felt that they arrived at the fight underfunded and without the tools they need to address the vast number of problem properties within their borders. As a result, for many communities, derelict properties became just another part of the landscape. After decades of taking a constrained, bureaucratic set of actions where private owners failed to care for their properties, however, local governments are now proactively expanding and diversifying their tools to address vacant and occupied problem properties and creating a comprehensive plan and legal framework to enforce property condition standards. This article explores the legal frameworks that states and local governments are collaboratively creating to address problem properties.