Baltimore's Code Enforcement Has Teeth with 'Vacants to Value' Initiative

Baltimore is increasing lawsuits against negligent property owners with outstanding code violations. As part of the city's "Vacants to Value" initiative, forfeited properties are transferred to receivership and auctioned to new owners.

The Vacants to Value program has multiplied the number of properties that enter receivership by about four times, according to Sherman: "In the mid-2000s, the organization appointed by the District Court to organize auctions of the forfeited properties handled about 60 each year, according to Grant Colledge, the former board president of One House at a Time. Last year, the Hampden-based nonprofit was appointed the receiver for 271…"

The Vacants to Value program launched in 2010, "after [a] 2009 city ordinance gave inspectors the power to issue tickets. Attorneys previously had go to court over violations."

"Since Vacants to Value started in late 2010, Baltimore Housing attorneys have filed nearly 1,350 receivership cases, and another 200 or so are pending, according to the city."

The ordinance allowed Baltimore Housing to "re-engineer" their code enforcement efforts, which Sherman details in the article. 

Full Story: Auctions rise as city cracks down on code violations

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