St. Louis Lawsuits Focus on Delinquent Properties

Special suits give property owners an opportunity to fix up rundown properties before the city sells them.
November 21, 2018, 7am PST | Camille Fink
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Paul Sableman

Janelle O’Dea reports on efforts in St. Louis to decrease the number of derelict properties by filing special suits against property owners. City officials say fines are not effective, and they want fewer properties going to the Land Reutilization Authority because maintenance is costly.

In 2004, the city started filing the lawsuits, which have brought in more than $2 million since then. “In October, the city received more than $100,000 from city residents who wanted to keep their property instead of see it go to auction at the special sale. That’s added to the more than $80,000 in total bids from this year’s sale,” says O’Dea.

The goal is not to take people’s properties, reports O’Dea. Rather, the city wants to give people the opportunity to deal with neglected properties so they do not go to auction. Currently, just one city attorney works on the special suits, but city officials would like to see staff and funding increased in the future so even more problem properties can be addressed.

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Published on Friday, November 16, 2018 in St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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