Vacant Property Registration Due by March 11, 2016
Received a notification in the mail? Information was mailed to every household. If your property is not vacant, you do not need to take action.
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Beginning in January of 2015, every owner of a vacant property in the City of Trenton is required to register their vacant property with the City in compliance with the Vacant Property Registration Ordinance (VPRO). The City of Trenton is in the process mailing information about VPRO to every property owner to inform them of their obligations if their property is or becomes vacant in 2016. Owners of vacant properties must register or renew their registration by March 11 to avoid steep daily fines.
What does the Ordinance mean?
The VPRO requires property owners to register their vacant properties with the City. Registration fees will be used to help address the administrative and cost burden created by vacant properties. The VPRO clearly defines key terms that were previously vague:
A vacant property is any building or structure that is not legally occupied and cannot be legally reoccupied without repair or rehabilitation. As well, it is a building or structure where there is no active construction or rehabilitation currently underway.
An owner is defined as the private title holder to the property, an authorized agent of a private title holder, any foreclosing entity such as a bank, or any other entity determined by the Municipal Officer to have authority to act with respect to the vacant property.
The City of Trenton has a significant number of vacant and abandoned buildings. In many cases, the owners of these buildings fail to maintain or secure them. Vacant buildings cause severe hardm to the health, safety, and general welfare of the community, including negatively impacting neighboring property values. Vacant properties lead to the loss of property tax revenues, accumulation of trash and debris, increased risk of fire, and the potential increase in criminal activity. To encourage the restoration of vacant properties to productive use, the City established the vacant property registration process.
In what circumstances is an owner of a vacant property exempt from payment of the registration fee?
There are five eligible reasons for a property owner to be exempt from paying the registration fee:
Restoration to Productive Use
The requirements for a valid exemption application are explained in greater depth in the Vacant Property Exemption Application.
In general, property owners must provide evidence that the property owner is taking meaningful steps towards removing the vacancy status of the building either through preparing the property for occupancy or demolition. The one exception to this is Force Majeure whereby the owner must provide evidence that the property has been rendered uninhabitable due to circumstances beyond the owner's control- such as an Act of God, criminal activity, or negligence of individuals other than the Owner.