Newark, NJ – October 21, 2022 – Mayor Ras J. Baraka announced today that the Newark Municipal Council voted Wednesday night to enact an ordinance to reduce the harmful impact of vacant, abandoned, deteriorated, and foreclosed properties on the city’s neighborhoods. The ordinance penalizes vacant lot owners whose lots remain vacant year after year without development. At the same meeting, the Council passed a resolution to transfer to the Land Bank ownership of 89 vacant lots and deteriorated residential properties.
“Vacant, abandoned, and blighted properties cause a cycle of neighborhood deterioration and damage residents’ quality of life,” said Mayor Baraka. This legislation will help stop neighborhood blight and LLC speculators who buy up Newark vacant and abandoned properties, then hold them for years without development. Newarkers are grateful to the Council for passing such strong, far-reaching, legislation to preserve and enhance our neighborhoods.”
The registration and fee requirements are designed to prevent abandoned properties and mortgagees from allowing properties to be abandoned, neglected, or left unsupervised. The property registration requirements mandate that abandoned or vacant property owners maintain a place in New Jersey where the person responsible for maintaining and securing the property can be contacted and violation notices or other legal filings be received. The property must be secured against unauthorized entry and contact information for the responsible person must be posted on a sign in front of the property. These rules will prevent abandoned or vacant property owners from vanishing and hiding behind uncontactable LLCs, often registered outside of our state.
The annual registration fees for residential properties escalate from $1,000 at initial registration to $3,000 at first annual renewal, $6,000 at second renewal, and $10,000 at any subsequent renewal. This creates a strong incentive for property owners to develop their properties. Owners of abandoned or vacant commercial properties are subject to similar registration requirements, but with annual renewal fees escalating from as little as $15,000 to as much as $75,000 depending on the size of the property.
The ordinance also contains strict requirements for the maintenance of structures that include rules to ensure that the property is not left unsightly or unattractive nor detract from the appearance of the building or the neighborhood. After the first registration is filed, the City Department of Engineering must be given access for inspections. Violations are subject to fines ranging from $500 to $1,000 and the fines are assessed daily until the violation is fixed.
With regard to properties in foreclosure, the mortgagee is subject to registration, inspection, security, and maintenance requirements similar to those for abandoned/vacant property owners.
At Wednesday night’s Municipal Council meeting, the Council also voted to transfer 89 City-owned vacant or deteriorated properties to the Land Bank, where they can be prepared for productive reuse and sold to residents or community organizations. To view list of properties, click here.
To view a copy of the ordinance, click here or view the attached document.
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