Posted by Ashley Fox on November 01, 2016 at 2:45 PM
Today, the D.C. Council took the first of two votes to strengthen the District’s approach to vacant and blighted properties, unanimously approving the Vacant Property Enforcement Amendment Act of 2016 at its regularly scheduled legislative meeting.
The legislation, which was introduced by Councilmember Elissa Silverman (At-Large, Independent) and co-introduced by nine colleagues, reforms the way the District government deals with vacant properties across the city. Specifically, it would reduce the maximum amount of time a vacant property can qualify for an exemption from higher vacancy tax rates and closes a loophole that allows continuous renewal of construction permits to qualify for tax exemptions. It would also require owners of vacant properties to prove they are no longer subject to the higher tax rates, rather than placing the responsibility on inspectors from the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) to re-inspect them every six months. The most recent report from DCRA indicates that there are nearly 1,300 properties designated as vacant or blighted in the District.Read more