Cleveland to pursue irresponsible vacant property owners with two new proposed laws

Owners will be sent fines, demolition bill

CLEVELAND - The city of Cleveland is proposing two new laws that will re-invigorate its effort in going after irresponsible landowners. 

According the Cleveland Department of Building and Housing, there are landowners who continue to hold thousands of vacant homes in limbo; homes that are full of code violations and are eyesores in their neighborhoods.

The first piece of legislation would allow the city to go after out-of-state investment companies who have bought up hundreds of properties, and aren't responding to numerous violations and fines.

The second proposed law would give the city the authority to pursue all parties in the chain of title on a condemned home and make them responsible for all demolition costs.

Currently it costs Cleveland taxpayers an average of $7,000 for every home taken down within city limits.

Both laws would give Cleveland's Law Department and Department of Building and Housing more tools to recover the costs incurred by irresponsible vacant property owners.

"They're not following the state law, they're not following local law," said Ward 12 Councilman Tony Brancatelli. "They are passing bad real estate to other bad investors who are perpetuating this problem."

Sadly, the problem of vacant homes isn't expected to get better anytime soon.  Cleveland Housing Court Judge Ray Pianka reports foreclosures in Cuyahoga County are back on the up-swing, with more than 1,000 new foreclosures per month.

Cleveland City Council hopes to pass both laws before the end of 2011.

More details and reaction to the newly proposed laws will air Tuesday Nov. 1, on NewsChannel5's Live On Five.

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