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This guide on vacant property registration offers an overview of strategies and ordinances used by cities in the US to combat the challenges of vacant buildings. It covers mandates, registration procedures, and enforcement tactics to mitigate blight and promote community development. Whether you’re a property manager, investor, or policymaker, this collection provides valuable resources to tackle vacant property challenges.

Reference Material: DAWGS Guidebook for  Municipalities and Vacant Properties

This guidebook focuses on vacant properties and their impact on communities.

Vacant properties attract crime and destabilize neighborhoods, leading to a cycle of disinvestment and decay. Vacant properties also harm city tax revenues, as they often have unpaid taxes and generate minimal taxes due to their low value. They can also lower property values in the surrounding area, reducing tax revenues.

DAWGS Vacant Property Security is working with municipalities proactively to address this issue, supporting housing authorities and property managers as they implement programs to restore stability and enhance neighborhoods.

Revitalizing vacant properties can restore value and increase tax revenue. 

The problem of vacant properties is self-perpetuating, causing declining property values and discouraging maintenance. To address this, municipalities have created task forces and implemented comprehensive programs with the collaboration of various stakeholders.  This collaborative approach has been successful in tackling the vacant property problem.

Vacant Building Ordinances: Strategies for Confronting Vacant Building Challenges

Vacant building ordinances (VBOs) illustrate various approaches municipalities take to address vacant properties. This document emphasizes the importance of understanding the need for such ordinances and offers resources for property investors.  

Model Vacant Property Ordinances 

Data on Local Vacant Property Registration Ordinances

This article (2013), introduces the Vacant Property Registration Ordinance Database, detailing over 550 local ordinances across the United States. It covers ordinance types, triggers for registration, requirements, penalties, and exemptions, shedding light on efforts to address vacant and foreclosed properties’ impacts on communities.

Hayward, California Vacant Property Ordinance

The City of Hayward’s ordinance addresses neglected vacant or abandoned properties, identifying them as sources of blight and threats to public welfare. It mandates property owners to maintain and register such properties. The ordinance establishes monitoring, registration, inspection, and enforcement procedures to mitigate blight and ensure community safety and development.

Detroit, Michigan Vacant Property Registration Ordinance Fact Sheet

The City of Detroit’s Vacant Property Registration Ordinance mandates owners to register vacant buildings with the Buildings, Safety Engineering & Environmental Department within 30 days. Compliance ensures exterior upkeep and avoids fines. Detailed requirements and registration procedures are provided in the ordinance.

Martins Ferry, Ohio Vacant Property Registration Program

The City of Martins Ferry adopts a vacant property registration program to address foreclosure, abandonment, and blight. Owners must register vacant structures, maintain them, and pay annual fees. Failure to comply results in penalties and potential misdemeanor charges. Enforcement extends to trustees and financial institutions involved.

Charlotte County, Florida Abandoned and Vacant Property Ordinance

The Charlotte County Abandoned and Vacant Property Ordinance aims to prevent neighborhood blight through property maintenance. Property owners must register abandoned properties, pay registration fees, and maintain properties to code standards, with escalating fees for extended vacancy. Violations incur penalties.

New York Model Vacant Property Registration Ordinance

The New York Model VPRO aims to address the issues posed by vacant and abandoned structures by establishing accountability standards for owners. Owners must register vacant properties, pay fees, and provide detailed restoration plans if applicable, ensuring community welfare and safety.

Vacant Property Ordinances: References For Investors, Rehabbers, And Realtors:

Chicago, IL

Check the status of vacant property

Chicago implements stringent registration and maintenance mandates for vacant buildings, aiming to mitigate their detrimental effects on neighborhoods. Non-compliance by owners and mortgagees is met with city intervention. Obtain and track information about vacant buildings anywhere in the City of Chicago, register your vacant building as required by ordinance, and more here.

Chicago Vacant Buildings

To report derelict buildings in Chicago, submit a “Vacant/Abandoned Building Complaint.” Get a tracking number for updates by providing contact info. For emergencies, call 311. More details on city policies online.

Chapter 5-14 of the Municipal Code of Chicago

The “Keep Chicago Renting Ordinance” aims to safeguard residents’ health, safety, and welfare, mitigating the adverse impacts of foreclosures on communities. It emphasizes preserving rental properties and preventing post-foreclosure vacancies.

Rules For Registration And Securing Of Vacant Buildings

From registration and fee requirements to methods for securing vacant buildings, in this document, you’ll find 7 key rules for vacant property owners in Chicago.

Vacant Buildings FAQ

The City of Chicago’s official website has compiled a list of frequently asked questions from the general public. Whether you want to help tackle the issue of vacant buildings or have inquiries regarding foreclosure, this is the ultimate source of information for you.

Newark, NJ

Foreclosure And Vacant Property Owner Registration

In order to comply with the Newark Foreclosure and Vacant Property Registration Ordinance(s), ALL Owners/Mortgagees/Trustees must register online and pay a registration fee:

Measures To Mitigate Vacant, Abandoned, Deteriorated, And Foreclosed Properties

Newark’s Mayor Ras J. Baraka announced new ordinances combating the blight of vacant properties. The legislation penalizes owners of vacant lots and mandates registration and maintenance to prevent neglect.

Abandoned Properties in Newark

Interested in adquiring an abandoned property? Here’s an official list.

Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia Property Maintenance Code – Vacant Premises.

According to this code, vacant premises shall be adequately maintained so as not to affect public safety. Hence, the owner of any vacant property shall maintain the building in a clean, safe, secure, and sanitary condition, keeping the interior and exterior free of garbage and debris. In addition, it is crucial to ensure a good roof state and that doors and windows are properly secured

Property inspections are to be conducted within fifteen (15) days of acquiring them and at least once every two weeks to determine whether the vacant property complies with the code.

This Vacant Premises section also states a mandatory designation of a property manager. If the owner of the vacant property does not live in the city, an authorized agent shall be appointed to perform inspections and any needed action to ensure the proper state of the building. 

Additionally, the code insists the owners shall register their properties with the Department no longer than five days following the transfer of ownership.

Penalties and fines may be imposed if the proprietary of vacant premises does not comply or fails to correct the conditions specified in the Department’s notice within the required time.

Code of Ordinances by State

The American Legal Publishing Corporation provides the public with digital versions of the official printed copies of codes of ordinances.

Visit their website to find the code you are looking for!

What every property investor and property manager needs to know about squatters

As a property manager or real estate investor, dealing with squatters is expensive and frustrating. Understanding how squatters operate and the actions to take when faced with squatters is essential. This DAWGS guidebook aims to provide property managers with the knowledge to handle squatters and protect their properties effectively.

About DAWGS Vacant Property Security

The Leader in Vacant Property Security

DAWGS. (Door And Window Guard Systems) and VPS (Vacant Property Security / VPS360) manufacture and rent attractive steel panels to cover door and window openings on vacant buildings. With NATIONAL COVERAGE, DAWGS’ and VPS steel door and window guard solutions come directly from one of our regional distribution centers located in key metro distribution hubs.  

DAWGS’ Vacant Property Security solutions eliminate break-ins and other problems associated with vacant properties.

Philadelphia secured by DAWGS vacant property security

Need better Vacant Property Security? Property investors, property managers, housing authorities, rehabbers, and real estate professionals trust DAWGS. to safeguard their vacant properties.

Click here to learn more about the DAWGS.

The Products You Need for Vacant Property Security

Whether you’re looking for impenetrable door guards or steel window security screens, DAWGS has the Vacant Property Security products, services, and solutions you need to protect your vacant investment properties: 

  • Door Guards
  • Window Guards
  • A/C Guard
  • Parking Lot Guard

Want the best Vacant Property Security products? You need Steel Door and Window Guards – experience the DAWGS Difference!

DAWGS Locations

DAWGS provides vacant property security services anywhere in the continental US.


As a leader in vacant property security for more than 30 years, DAWGS’ (Door & Window Guard Systems) impenetrable, proprietary steel door and window guards are uniquely designed to prevent theft, vandalism, and unauthorized occupation. Find us here.

Community Outreach

DAWGS philanthropy efforts have touched many lives:

Learn more here.

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