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The City of Detroit has implemented a comprehensive Vacant Property Registration Ordinance to ensure vacant properties’ proper maintenance and safety. This ordinance mandates property owners register their vacant buildings with the Buildings, Safety Engineering & Environmental Department (BSEED). Designed to preserve neighborhood aesthetics and promote public safety, compliance with this ordinance helps prevent vacant properties from becoming hazards and avoids substantial fines. In addition, Detroit’s Property Maintenance Code empowers city officials to order the closure of uninhabitable vacant properties, further enforcing the ordinance and protecting the community.


Please note that DAWGS does not provide legal advice. Our services are focused on helping you secure and maintain your vacant properties in compliance with local ordinances.

Detroit Vacant Property Registration Ordinance Fact Sheet

The City of Detroit’s Vacant Property Registration Ordinance requires property owners to register vacant buildings with the BSEED within 30 days of vacancy. This ordinance is designed to ensure that vacant properties are properly maintained, preserving neighborhood aesthetics and public safety. Compliance with this ordinance promotes exterior upkeep and helps owners avoid substantial fines.

Key aspects of the ordinance include:

  • Timely Registration: Owners must register their vacant properties within 30 days of becoming vacant.
  • Maintenance Requirements: Owners are obligated to maintain the property’s exterior to prevent it from becoming a nuisance or hazard.
  • Avoiding Penalties: Adherence to the ordinance prevents costly fines and legal actions.

For detailed requirements and specific registration procedures, property owners should refer to the full ordinance provided by the BSEED.

Detroit can order the closure of your vacant property

The Property Maintenance Code grants authority to the Building Official and the Public Health Director in Detroit to order the closure of vacant and uninhabitable buildings, premises, or structures that are not at risk of structural collapse. If the owner fails to secure the property within the specified time after being served a closure notice, officials can take action to close and secure the premises. The costs associated with this process are charged to the property as a lien, which the city can collect. A public closure notice is posted on the affected property, and the owner is notified by first-class mail.

Bottom Line

Adhering to Detroit’s Vacant Property Registration Ordinance and Property Maintenance Code is essential for property owners to avoid fines and contribute to neighborhood well-being. By registering vacant properties promptly and maintaining their exteriors, owners help prevent these buildings from becoming nuisances or hazards. Failure to comply can result in city-ordered closures, with associated costs becoming liens on the property. Property owners are encouraged to consult the full ordinance provided by the BSEED for detailed requirements and specific registration procedures. Through collective compliance, we can ensure that Detroit’s neighborhoods remain safe, clean, and vibrant.

You can find information about other cities and their Vacant Property Ordinances below:

Ensure your vacant properties are secure and compliant with local ordinances. 

Detroit secured by DAWGS vacant property security

Contact DAWGS today for expert assistance in maintaining and securing your vacant properties following Detroit’s ordinances. Our team is dedicated to helping you meet all safety and maintenance standards to keep your property and community safe. Get a quote now to learn how we can support your vacant property needs.