Agenda Item 5B
May 2,2017
Action
MEMORANDUM
April 28, 2017
TO:
FROM:
SUBJECT:
County Council
Amanda Mihill, Legislative
Attomey~kL,t.i
'"
Action:
Bill 39-16, Housing and Building Maintenance Standards - Registration
of Vacant Property
Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee recommendation
(3-0): enact
Bill 39-16 with the following amendments:
• remove the requirement for a registry, but require DHCA to provide annual reports on
the Department's activities related to unmaintained vacant dwellings;
• clarify that condominiums are within the scope of the bill;
• make technical amendments to the bill.
Bill 39-16, Housing and Building Maintenance Standards - Registration of Vacant Property,
. sponsored by Lead Sponsor Councilmember Hucker and Co-Sponsors Councilmembers Leventhal
and Navarro, then-Vice President Berliner, Councilmembers EIrich, Riemer, and Rice, and then­
Council President F10reen, was introduced on September
20,2016.
A public hearing was held on
November 1. Select testimony and correspondence in on ©21-59. A Planning, Housing and
Economic Development Committee worksession was held on March 28.
Bill 39-16 would:
require owners of certain unmaintained vacant buildings to register those vacant
buildings with the Director of the Department of Housing and Community
Affairs;
require owners of certain unmaintained vacant buildings to pay certain fees;
require inspections for certain unmaintained vacant buildings; and
generally amend County law on housing and building maintenance standards.
Additional background materials from Lead Sponsor Hucker is attached on ©8.
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Issues/Committee Recommendations
The testimony and correspondence that the Council has received on this issue has been generally
supportive. However, a few issues have been raised, which are addressed below.
1.
Should Councilmemher Hucker's amendments he adopted?
After Bill 39-16 was introduced,
Councilmember Hucker developed a series of amendments to the bill to address concerns raised.
The Department of Housing and Community Affairs (DHCA) raised substantive concerns related
to privacy and public access to the proposed registry. Specifically, DHCA staff felt it was ill­
advised to create a real-time list of vacant houses throughout the County since that list would then
be subject to the Maryland Public Information Act. (Council staff notes that the State Foreclosure
Registry, per the law that created the Registry, is not subject to the Public Information Act.). The
Office ofthe County Attorney also raised concerns, though those are more technical and clarifying
in nature.
In response, Councilmember Hucker developed a set of amendments to Bill 39-16. A
memorandum explaining the amendments is on ©60 (attachment excluded).
Committee
recommendation (3-0):
The Committee believed that Councilmember Hucker's amendment
struck a good balance between addressing the needs of communities to deal with unmaintained
properties and the privacy, security, and clarifying issues raised by Executive staff and
recommended adopting Councilmember Hucker's amendments.
Council staff understands that DHCA does not object to the bill, but questioned whether the bill
will accomplish the sponsor's intent to incentivize owners of vacant properties to rehabilitate
and/or sell the properties. There is no question that further work needs to be done to address vacant,
abandoned, and/or unmaintained properties throughout the County. Council staff does believe that
this bill is a beneficial step to take.
2. Should Bill
38-16
apply to vacant properties in condominium communities?
Vicki Vergagni,
on behalf of Glen Waye Gardens, opposed Bill 39-16 because, as introduced, it was unclear as to
whether the bill applied to condominiums (©22-26.
It
was the sponsor's intent to include vacant
condominiums within the scope of the bill. The Committee-recommended bill clarifies that vacant
condominiums are within the scope of the bill (see ©2, lines 18-19).
3. Should there he a 2-"year grace period/or foreclosures?
As introduced, and under the Hucker
amendment, Bill 39-16 would not apply to property that is the subject of a probate proceeding or
the title is the subject of litigation (including foreclosure proceedings) for up to 24 months (©3,
lines 44-46). The Hillandale Citizens Association urged that the bill be amended to apply to
property in foreclosure proceedings (©32-33).
According to the sponsor, this provision was added because including property owners going
through foreclosure within the scope of the bill would add more hardship to an already difficult
situation. This is certainly a balancing act. One potential option is to reduce the length oftime that
exempts these properties from 24 months to 12 months. The Committee did not recommend any
changes to Bill 39-16 on this issue.
2
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4. Are additional exemptions/or construction-related activities necessary?
Bill 39-16, and the
amendment proposed by Councilmember Hucker, would exempt properties that are "under active
construction or undergoing active rehabilitation, renovation, or repair, and there is a building
permit to make the building fit for occupancy that was issued, renewed, or extended within 12
months of the registration date" (©3, lines 39-43). Additionally, the bill would exempt, for 12
months, property that is the subject of "a pending application for a necessary approval of
development before the Planning Board, Board ofAppeals, or Office ofZoning and Administrative
Hearings" (©5, lines 95-98). Larry Cafritz argued that the bill should broaden its exemptions for
construction related activities to exempt properties "planned for demolition" or under "active
pursuit of utility disconnects for razing, active application for subdivision or zoning approval, or
of demolition, building or other related permits or issuance of such permits" (©35-37).
It
would be challenging to implement a law based on an actor's intent and therefore does not
recommend exempting properties "planned for demolition" within 18-24 months. The Committee­
recommended bill specifies that properties are exempt if they are under active construction or
undergoing active rehabilitation, renovation, repair, or demolition, or under a building permit to
make the building fit for occupancy or be demolished (©3, lines 39-43). Council staff notes that
under the Committee-recommended bill, which replaces the "registry" with an annual reporting
requirement, that in and of itself addresses some of the issues that Mr. Cafritz raises.
NEW ISSUE
At the Council session, Councilmember Hucker intends to offer an amendment that would specify
that any unpaid fee imposed for violations of Bill 39-16 is a lien on the property and is collected
in the same manner as taxes (see ©61). This will provide an additional tool for DHCA to enforce
Bill 39-16.
This packet contains:
Committee Bill 39-16
Legislative Request Report
Sponsor materials
Fiscal and Economic Impact statement
Select testimony and correspondence
Hucker PHED memorandum (attachment excluded)
Hucker Council amendment
Circle #
1
7A
8
14
21
60
61
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Bill No.
39-16
Concerning: Housing
and
Building
Maintenance
Standards
Reg istration of Vacant Property
Revised:
4/24/2016
Draft No.
~
Introduced:
September 20.2016
Expires:
March 20. 2018
Enacted: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Executive: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Effective: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Sunset Date: ---'-!.No:::<.:n"""e'--_ _ _ _ __
Ch. _ _ Laws of Mont. Co. _ __
I
COUNTY COUNCIL
FOR MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MARYLAND
Lead Sponsor: Councilmember Hucker
Co-Sponsors: Councilmembers Leventhal and Navarro, Vice President Berliner, Councilmembers
Eirich, Riemer, and Rice, and Council President Floreen
AN
ACT to:
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)
require [[owners of certain unmaintained vacant buildings to register those vacant
buildings with]] the Director of the Department of Housing and Community Affairs
to identifY unmaintained vacant dwellings;
require owners of certain unmaintained vacant buildings to pay certain fees;
require inspections for certain unmaintained vacant buildings; and
generally amend County law on housing and building maintenance standards.
By adding
Montgomery County Code
Chapter 26, Housing and Building Maintenance Standards
[[Article I, General
Article II, Registration of Vacant Property
Sections 26-19,26-20,26-21,26-22,26-23, and 26-24]]
Article III. Unmaintained Vacant Property
Sections 26-20. 26-21. 26-22. 26-23. 26-24. 26-25. and 26-26
Boldface
Underlining
[Single boldface brackets]
Double underlining
[[Double boldface brackets]]
* * *
Heading or defined term.
Added to existing law by original bill.
Deletedfrom existing law by original bill.
Addedby amendment.
Deletedfrom existing law or the bill by amendment.
Existim! law unaffected bv bill.
The County Council for Montgomery County, Maryland approves the following Act:
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BILL
No. 39-16
1
2
Sec.
1.
Chapter 26 is amended
by
adding [[Articles I and II (Sections
26-19, 26-20, 26-21, 26-22, 26-23, and 26-24)]] Article
lIT
(Sections 26-20. 26-21.
26-22. 26-23. 26-24. 26-25. and 26-26) as follows:
Article I. General.
3
4
5
6
*
*
*
Article ITI. [[Registration
!ill]
Unmaintained Vacant Property.
[[26-19]] 26-20. Definitions.
In this Article, the following terms have the meanings indicated:
Department
means the Department of Housing and Community Affairs.
Director
means the Director of the Department or the Director's designee.
[[Dwelling unit
has the same meaning as in Section 26-2.]]
Fit/or occupancy
means ready for immediate occupancy
[[Qy
~
tenant without
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
more than minor cosmetic changes]] as a residence.
Occupied
means the use of one's dwelling as a residence
[rill
improved real
15
16
property]] on
~
regular basis.
Public nuisance
has the same meaning as in Section 26-2.
Vacant [[building]] dwelling
means residential real property improved
Qy
~
17
18
19
20
dwelling which is not occupied. A vacant dwelling includes a unit in a
condominium. A [[buildingll dwelling is only
~
vacant [[building]] dwelling
if the Director determines that there is no resident for which an intent to return
and occupy the [[buildingl1 dwelling can be shown. To determine whether
dwelling is vacant, the Director must consider:
~
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
ill
ill
ill
ill
past due utility notices and/or disconnected utilities;
accumulated mail;
no window covering;
no furniture observable;
open accessibility;
ru
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BILL
No. 39-16
28
29
®
ill
deferred maintenance; and
the dwelling is boarded up.
~
30
Unmaintained vacant [[building]] dwelling
means
vacant [[building]]
31
32
dwelling not maintained as required
121
Chapter 26, Article
L
[[Visual blight
has the same meaning as in Section 26-2.]]
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
[[26-20]] 26-21. Applicability.
This Article does not
illm1Y
to any real property that is
(ill
owned by:
ill
the government ofthe United States or its instrumentalities;
the State of Maryland or its instrumentalities; or
~
m
ill
(hl
under
foreign government or its instrumentalities;
active
construction
or
undergoing
active
rehabilitation,
~
40
41
42
renovation,
[[Qrll
repair. or demolition, [[and there is]] or under
building permit to make the building fit for occupancy or to be
demolished [[that was issued, renewed, or extended within 12 months of
the registration
date]]~
43
44
45
46
(£)
for
~
period not to exceed 24 months, the subject of
~
probate
proceeding or the title is the subject of litigation, including
~
foreclosure
proceeding; or
47
@
maintained as required
121
Chapter 26, Article
L
48
49
[[26-21.
Registration
of
unmaintained
vacant
buildings;
inspection;
notification]] 26-22. Designation of unmaintained vacant dwellings; inspection.
(ill
50
51
52
53
54
[[Building maintenance required.
The owner of
~
vacant building must
maintain the building as required by Chapter 26, Article
L
®
(£)
Unmaintained vacant buildings registry.
The Department must maintain
~
list ofunmaintained vacant buildings.
Registration required.
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BILL
No. 39-16
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
ill
Within 90 days after
~
building becomes an unmaintained vacant
building, the owner must register the building and
~
the
registration fee required in Section 26-23. An owner must renew
~
registration annually from the date of initial registration unless
there is
~
change in ownership.
ill]]
The Director must identify [[nonregistered]] unmaintained vacant
[[Quilding]] dwellings throughout the County. The Director must
notify the owner in writing that the owner's [[Quilding]] dwelling
has been designated as an unmaintained vacant [[Quildingl1
dwelling
and
of the
owner's
right
to
[[appeal]]
seek
63
64
65
66
67
68
69
70
71
72
73
reconsideration of this designation and appeal the decision under
Section 26-25.
[[@]]
!l1l
Inspections required.
ill
Inspections required.
ensure that:
(A)
The
Director
must
inspect
every
unmaintained vacant [[Quilding]] dwelling at least annually to
the [[Quilding]] dwelling complies with all applicable laws,
including Chapter 26, Article
t
and
.Qi}
vacancy of the [[building]] dwelling is not;
74
75
76
77
78
79
80
ill
(ii)
detrimental to the public health, safety, and welfare;
~
hazard to police officers or fIrefIghters entering the
[[Quilding]] dwelling in an emergency; or
(iii)
~
public nuisance.
[[~]]
ill
Additional inspections authorized.
The Director may inspect
an unmaintained vacant [[building]] dwelling more often than
annually to ensure compliance with this Article.
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BILL
No. 39-16
81
82
83
[[ill
County notification.
The Director of the Department of Finance must
notify all property owners of the requirements of this Article at the same
time as the Director notifies property owners of any real property taxes
due.]]
[[26-22]] 26-23. Exemptions.
84
85
86
87
88
ill
The Director may grant an exemption from the [[registration]]
requirement in Section [[26-2
U]
26-22 for any real property that is:
ill
in compliance with [[26-21]] 26-22(a) and the property owner
has been actively seeking in good faith to rent
[[QfJ]
or sell the
property if:
89
90
91
92
93
94
95
.cAl
the time period for sale or rent does not exceed
1
year from
the initial listing, offer, or advertisement of sale or rent of
~
residential building; and
.em
ill
for
~
the building has
~
valid certificate of occupancy;
period not to exceed 12 months, the subject of
~
pending
~
96
97
application for
necessary approval for development before the
Planning Board, Board of Appeals, or Office of Zoning and
Administrative Hearings; or
98
99
100
101
102
103
104
105
106
107
ill
(hl
for
~
period not to exceed 24 months, the subject of [[an
inheritance]] a probate proceeding.
The cumulative time period that
~
vacant [[building]] dwelling may be
exempted from this Article must not exceed
J
years.
{£}
An
application for an exemption [[from the registration requirement]]
must be made on
~
form the Director prescribes.
@
A person that believes the Director has incorrectly denied the person's
application for an exemption may appeal that decision [[according
!Q]]
under Section [[26-24]] 26-25.
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BILL
No. 39-16
108
[[26-23]] 26-24. Fees.
[[{ill]]
The County Executive must set one or more fees
Qy
regulation under
109
110
111
112
113
114
115
116
i17
118
119
120
121
122
123
124
125
126
127
128
129
130
Method
@
The fee must increase for larger numbers of inspections
performed that the Director determines are necessary to ensure
compliance with this Section.
[[(hl
A vacant building owned
Qy
the County or its instrumentalities must
comply with the registration requirement of Section 26-21, but is not
subject to any fees required in paragraph
illb]]
[[26-24]] 26-25. Right to appeal.
W
Within 10 days after the [[designation of an owner's building as
~]]
Director sends written notice that an owner's property has been
designated as an unmaintained vacant [[building]] dwelling, the owner
may petition the Director for reconsideration
Qy
filing the form
prescribed
Qy
the Director. Within 30 days after receiving the petition,
the Director must issue
~
notice of [mal determination.
(hl
Any person aggrieved
Qy
[@n]]
a designation or notice of final action of
the Director under this Article may, within [[10 days after receiving]] 15
days after the Director sends written notice of the action, appeal that
action to the Circuit Court under the Maryland Rules of Procedure for
judicial review of
~
[mal administrative agency decision. An appeal
does not stay the Director's action. A party aggrieved by the decision of
the Circuit Court may appeal that decision to the Court of Special
Appeals.
26-26. Annual
report.
By March I each year. the Director must submit to the County Executive and
County Council a report on the Department's activities related to unmaintained
vacant dwellings. The report must include:
c9:\laW\billS\1639 registration of vacant property\bill1 0 committee.doc
131
132
133
134
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BILL
No. 39-16
135
136
137
138
W
the zip code of each property inspected during the prior calendar year:
for each property inspected. a summary of violations by number found
and number corrected:
!hl
(£l
the number of citations issued to each property owner during the prior
calendar year: and
139
140
141
@
the amount of fees collected from each property owner during the prior
calendar year.
142
Approved:
143
Roger Berliner, President, County Council
Date
144
Approved:
145
Isiah Leggett, County Executive
Date
146
147
This is a correct copy o/Council action.
Linda M. Lauer, Clerk ofthe Council
Date
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LEGISLATIVE REQUEST REPORT
Bill 39-16
Housing and Building Maintenance Standards
-
Registration of Vacant Property
DESCRIPTION:
Bill 39-16 would require owners of certain unmaintained vacant
buildings to register those vacant buildings with the Director of the
Department of Housing and Community Affairs; require owners of
certain unmaintained vacant buildings to pay certain fees; and require
inspections for certain unmaintained vacant buildings.
The County has inadequate tools to address vacant homes.
To give the County new tools to address the growing number of
vacant properties in the County.
PROBLEM:
GOALS AND
OBJECTIVES:
COORDINATION:
FISCAL IMPACT:
ECONOMIC
IMPACT:
EVALUATION:
EXPERIENCE
ELSEWHERE:
SOURCE OF
INFORMATION:
APPLICATION
WITHIN
MUNICIPALITIES:
PENALTIES:
To be requested.
To be requested.
To be requested.
To be researched.
Amanda Mihill, Legislative Attorney, 240-777-7815
To be researched.
A violation of Chapter 26 is a Class A violation.
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MONTGOMERY COUNTY COUNCIL
ROCKVILLE, MARYLAND
TOM HUCKER
COUNCILMEMBER
DISTRICT 5
MEMORANDUM
TO:
FROM:
DATE:
RE:
Councilmembers
Tom Hucker
July 13,2016
Establishing a vacant property registry
The second part of my housing package is a bill to establish a vacant property registry,
which is intended to give the County government new tools to address the growing number of
vacant properties in Montgomery County. A review ofDHCA's code enforcement data shows
that there are more than 350 known vacant properties in the county.
There are also hundreds more unidentified vacant properties because this problem is
underreported and not all vacant properties have apparent housing code violations listed. Many
of these vacant properties are inherited, owned by out-of-state residents, or by developers who
simply have no short-term incentive to care for the property or put it back on the market.
Vacant properties can not only be an eyesore, they also pose serious threats to the
community. Research shows they attract squatting, arson and other criminal activity. Vacant
properties place a burden on our public safety and housing resources because they are twice as
likely to generate a call for fire or police service than a non-vacant property(2), and they have
been found to reduce the community's property values by as much as 9%
[3][41.
The County has inadequate tools to address vacant homes, which is why many of ours
remain empty for so long. Several in my neighborhood in Silver Spring have been the subject of
constituent complaints for nearly ten years. I've discussed them with previous DHCA directors,
the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development and the Attorney General,
each of whom have claimed that they need stronger authority to incentivize owners to rent, sell
or occupy their homes.
As a result, many of the vacant properties we researched have generated dozens of
County inspections, citations and minor DHCA actions through the Clean and Lien program. A
Clean and Lien occurs when a negligent property owner fails to maintain their vacant property
after being cited numerous times. In response, DHCA will cut the grass, secure the doors or
windows, remove any trash or debris, and put a lien on the property for the cost of these services.
STELLA B. WERNER COUNCIL OFFICE BUILDING • 100 MARYLAND AVENUE, 6"' FLOOR • ROCKVILLE, MARYLAND 20850
240-777-7960
OR
240-777-7900 • MD RELAY - DIAL 711 • FAX 240/777-7989
COUNCILMEMBER.HUCKER@MONTGOMERYCOUN1YMD.GOV • WWW.MONTGOMERYCOUN1YMD.GOV
@
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Unfortunately, this program does not provide enough of an incentive for a negligent property
owner to rent, sell, or occupy the property because the cost of these services is so low.
My proposed bill addresses these issues by requiring DHCA to establish and maintain a
registry of unmaintained vacant properties. Once the property is registered, DHCA must perform
an initial inspection for housing code violations. Any subsequent inspections performed by
DHCA will be charged to the homeowner using a graduated fee schedule similar to the False
Alarm Response Fee Schedule.
[5]
The creation of the registry will allow the County to collect data on the number of vacant
houses for the first time. The more robust inspection regimen will make the County agencies
aware of more violations and will encourage owners to address violations before they become
worse, and the increasing fees will give absentee owners more financial incentive to rent, sell, or
occupy long-vacant properties.
This is a best-practice approach that is based on successful laws in Chicago, Los Angeles,
Wilmington, and other large municipalities. The District of Columbia also has a very successful
approach to vacant properties; the City assesses a special
tax
of $5.00 per $100 of assessed value
for vacant properties and $10.00 per $100 of assessed value for blighted vacant properties.
Unfortunately, this option is unavailable to us under Maryland Constitution, but it illustrates the
seriousness with which our immediate neighbors address this problem
in
the District.
Attached is a copy of the bill, an FAQ sheet, and some slides to explain more about the
issue. Thank you in advance for your support of this bill. Please let me know if we can provide
any additional information, and please contact my office if you would like to cosponsor.
[i
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Un maintained Vacant Property
Frequently Asked Questions
1.
What is the intent of this legislation?
The intent of this legislation is to keep umaintained vacant properties from becoming a
nuisance to the community by requiring that the property owner maintain the property
and move towards occupancy.
2. What is an unmaintained vacant property?
Unmaintained vacant properties are residential real properties that have not been
continuously occupied and the owner has shown no intent to return. To determine
whether a property is vacant, the Department of Housing and Community Affairs
(DHCA) must consider utility usage, physical signs of occupancy, and blight or general
neglect.
3. Why create a registry?
Unmaintained vacant properties have been shown to reduce the property values of
surrounding properties by 6-9%, and they are nearly twice as likely to generate a call for
fire service. Given these statistics, the county has a clear and compelling interest in
making sure that unmaintained vacant properties are being maintained and not a risk to
other homes in the community.
4. Are there any exemptions?
Yes, properties with permits for active renovation, being sold or rented, going through
probate proceedings, or being redeveloped are exempt from registering for up to 3 years.
5. Will residents that leave for the winter have to register?
No, residents that leave for the winter will not have to register because they have a clear
intent to return.
6. Are there any fees and fines associated with registering?
Yes, the fee for registering the property and the fine for failing to do so will be set by
executive regulation.
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7.
What happens after a property is registered?
DHCA will inspect the property for any code violations. The property owner will then
have 30-60 days
to
address the code violations. Any subsequent inspections performed
by DHCA will be charged to the homeowner using a graduated fee schedule similar to
the False Alarm Response Fee Schedule.
8. What is the False Alarm Response Fee and how does it work?
The Montgomery County Police Department is requested to respond to over 45,000 false
alarms each year. Responding to false alarm calls reduces the police department's
effectiveness and undermines its ability to respond to more critical calls. A false alann is
defined as any alarm signal that elicits a response by police personnel and for which there
is no evidence of criminal activity
to
justify a police response.
Below is the False Alarm Response Fee Schedule.
Occurrence
lst
2nd
3rd
4th
5th
6th
7th
8th
9th
10th
11th
12th
Residential Fee
$0.00
$25.00
$50.00
$75.00
$100.00
$150.00
$200.00
$250.00
$300.00
$400.00
$500.00
$600.00
Commercial Fee
$0.00
$25.00
$50.00
$75.00
$100.00
$150.00
$200.00
$250.00
$300.00
$400.00
$500.00
$600.00
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13th
14th
15th
16th
17th
18th
19th
20th
$700.00
$800.00
$1,000.00
$1,500.00
$2,000.00
$2,500.00
$3,000.00
$4,000.00
$700.00
$800.00
$1,000.00
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
9. Who owns unmaintained vacant properties and why are they vacant?
Research shows that most of these properties are owned by banks or real estate investors
that acquired the property through a foreclosure sale. These properties are often vacant
because the owners expect to increase profits once the property has appreciated in value.
10. Is the state doing anything to address this issue?
In
2012,
the General Assembly created the Foreclosed Property Registry, which requires
a foreclosure purchaser to register with the state and transfer the title in a timely manner.
This law was needed because it typically took property owners nine to eighteen months to
transfer the title, which made it difficult for counties to identify the owner responsible for
property maintenance and tax payments.
11. How will this affect property taxes?
Long-term vacant properties tend to have lower property values than similar non-vacant
properties. Therefore, many of these properties are assessed lower property taxes than
they would be if the property was being occupied and maintained. This legislation
encourages occupancy and maintenance, which would result in the property taxes that are
on par with other similar non-vacant properties.
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12. Why impose fees instead of fines?
Currently, DHCA can impose fines of up to $500 for code violations that are not
addressed within 60-90 days. However, these fines are often contested in court where
judges typically extend the deadline for repairs and reduce or eliminate the fines
altogether. Fees address these issues because they are charged directly to the property
owner for the services provided without the need for judicial intervention. Fees also
speed up the process because they escalate with each additional inspection.
13. Will the county lose money if the property is purchased through a tax sale?
No, unlike other jurisdictions where the property and land values can be lower than the
cost of demolishing or repairing the property, Montgomery County has a healthy real
estate market where the land value can exceed the value of the property itself.
14. How will this affect custom home builders?
As long as the builder can show good faith efforts to sell the property or renovate, then
the property will be exempted from the registry.
15. What impact do vacant property registries have?
The vacant property registry in Wilmington, DE, one of the most successful and most
awarded in the country, had a 40% decrease in vacant properties two years after it was
instituted.
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ROCKVILLE, MARYLAND
MEMQRANDUM
October 10, 2016
TO:
C unty
Nancy Horeert,
preSjdel1~'
Council
Jennifer A.
HugheiJ:>ir~.c.
'
ffi.
tce
of
Managem:ut and Budget
ctor, Department of Fmanc·e
Alexandre
A.
Esp;~.
PElS for
Bill 38-16, Housing and Building Maintenance Standards -" Foreclosed Property
Registration Penalty; and
FROM:
SUBmCT:
Bill 39-
J
6, Housing and Building Maintenancc$tandards - Registration of
Vacant Property
Please find attached the fiscal and
economic impact
statements
for
the above­
legislations .
td~renced
.IAH:fz
cc
Bonnie Kirkland, Assistant
Chief
Administrative Officer
Lisa Austin. Offices of the County Executive
Joy Nurmi, Special Assistant to the County Executive
Patrick Lacefield, Director,PubUc
Information
Office
Clarence J.
Snuggs, Director, Department of Housing and Community Affairs
David
Platt, Department of
Finance
Dennis Hetman,
Department of Finance
Pofen Salem, Office of Management ahd Budget
Naeem Mia.
Office
of Management and Budget
®
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Fiscal Impact Statement
ill
39-16
Housing and Building Maintenance Standards - Registration of Vacant Property
:a
1. Legislative Summary
Bill
39-16
would require owners of
certain
unmaintained vacant buildings to register
those vacantbuildings with the Director of the Department ofHousing and Community
Affairs (DHCA); require owners of certain unmaintained vacant buildings to pay certain
fees; require inspections for certain unmaintained vacant buildings; and generally amend
County law on housing and building maintenance standards.
2. An estimate of changes in County revenues and expenditures regardless of whether the
revenues or expenditures are assUine.d
in
the recommended or approved budget. Includes
source of infonnation, assumptions, and methodologies used.
DnCA estimates the number ofvacant properties
in
the County is roreach approximately
600 to 700 units, and those vacant properties could fall into the definition of an
"unmaintained vacant building". Bill 39-16 requires nHCA to establish and maintain a
registry of those unmaintained vacant properties.
Bil139-16
also requires, at a minimum, an initial inspection of each unmaintained vacant
building each year. Currently. each DnCA code enforcement inspector can inspect
approximately 700 unique units per year. To implement the proposed legislation, nHCA
would require one additional
Code
Enforcement Inspector III position (Grade 23) to
inspect those urunaintain.ed vacant units. First year costs are estimated at
$132,508
for
one new merit position and operntingexpenses (see below).
...
...
-_.­
.
.-­
..-
.
._...
1
Personnel COst {Code Enforcement Inspector IH, Grade 23}
1
Operating Expenses ;­
One-17me (i.e., Vehicle, IT infrastructure)
On-going
Total {for Year 1}
..
---
.....
­
FTE
1.0
FY17 Estimate
~_.!O3,315
$
29,193
-
$8,150
-
.
$132,508
In addition,
Bill
39-16 requires a new inspection fee to be set under Method 2 adoption.
The fee would be charged for any subsequent inspection
with
a recommended graduaied
fee schedule similar to the False Alarm Fee Schedule. The following fee schedule is used
for demonstration purposes only.
1
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inspe<;tion
I
Fee*
1st
2nd
3rd
$
­
• _ _ _ _ _ N .....
4th
5th
6th
7th
8th
9th
-
10th
$100
$200
$300
$500
$750
$1,000
$1,500
$2,000
$2,500
--
Consistent \-'lith the FalSe Alan:il Fee Schedule, this schedule carries no fee to
be
charged
on
the
initial inspection. The first
re~inspection
(second inspection) carries a fee of$100.
This fee was derived as follows:
• The
average hourly total personnel cost (including fringe) for DHCA's Housing
Code Inspectors
is
$47.18.
• It
is
assumed that each inspection would take approximately two hours (including
travel and inspection time), and
the
cost is estimated to
be
$94.3 7. With
modest
overhead
for
gas,
the
first
fe-inspection fee could
be
set to recoup expenses
at
$100.
• Reoccurring inspections would
carry
a
progressively higher charge.
This bill is most applicable
to
non-multifamily properties.
In
FY15;
DHCA performed
26,166 total inspections, of which 13,890 were multifamily inspections. The balance
(12,276 inspections) were non-multifamily inspections. These 12,276 inspections were
performed on 7,623 unique units; this equates to 61 percent ofall non-multifamily units
required re-inspection (see below).
Assuming
there
are 700 vacant properties requiring inspections
and
given
a 61
percent re­
inspection rate
and a
$100
fee
on initial re-inspections, Bil139-16 would generate
approximately
$42,700 in revenue from initial re-inspections. It
is
alsO
teasonable
to
assume that a certain percentage ofthose units teceivedinitial re-inspections would
require additional re-inspections. DHCA anticipates a nominal rate of25 percent to
be
applied for second re-inspections. This second re-inspection would generate an
additional $21,400 in revenue which result in a total revenue
0[$64.100
that is likely to
be generated from this bill.
2
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Inspections
Total Inspections
: Total Units Inspected
R~quiredlnspections
per unit
Single Family
13,890
12,276
7,623
1.61
0.61
Total
26,166
Inspections per
Inspector
14,019
701
Initial Re-Inspection
Rate
\<.(:j';;;~;1c;>:::~1;;<ii,j~~~~.~;<~;c~;,;~i;:i~;,~l;:<;:··jl·~j;::··~~~~~~·
..'.•
1st
Re~
2nd Re­
________
~m~sp~e_Cti_·_o-n--~-in-sp~~.cti--·o-n--~-----N-ore--s----~
Total Vacant Units Assumed
700
+------+_.
1
Vacant Units
Required
Re-
!
I
inspection
,
...
-
...
-------------;.--­
Re~insp~!i_o_n_Fe_e
__
_
427
$1()()
107
$200
Rate assumed for
1st re­
inspection=61%;
for 2nd re-
inspection=25%
t----­
Approximately
$64,100
could
be
generated from
re-inspections....
Total
$42,727
$21,364
As Bill 39-16 requires annual inspections ofall vacant properties, this
fiscal
impact
statement assumes that the fee schedule resets each year, regardless of inspection history,
the tirst re-inspection would
be
$100. However, the actual fee schedule wi1l be re­
evaluated based on the final number ofunmaintained vacant properties identified and
registered by
DHCA.
3. Revenue and expenditure estimates covering at least the next 6 fiscal years.
The total six-year revenue or expenditure is estimated
as
below:
Revenue.
I
!
i
FY.:f7
FY18
FY19
64,100
EXpenditUre:
132,508
64,100
111,465
64,100
111,455
FY20
54,100
111,455
FY21
FY22
54Jl~
Total
334~600
54.100
111,465
111,465
689,834
4.
An
actuarial analysis through
the
entire amortization period for each bill
that
would affect
retiree pension or group insurance costs.
3
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Not Applicable.
5. An estimate ofexpenditures related to County's information technology
(IT)
systems~
including Enterprise Resource
Planning (ERP)
systems.
.
Not applicable.
6.
Later actions that
may
affect future revenue and expenditures if the bill authorizes future
spending.
Not applicable; the proposed legislation does not authoriz.e future spending.
7.
An
estimate of the
staff
time needed to implement the bilL
Bill 39-16 would require the inspections of an estimated 700 new
units
annually
designated as unmaintained vacant properties. Currently, each code enforcement
inspector inspects approximately 700 unique units. DHCA estimates the implementation
of the proposed legislation would require one additional code inspector position
as
outlined
in
#2.
8.
An
explanation of how the' addition of new
staff
responsibilities would affect other
duties.
The responsibilities as described in
Bil139~16
cannot
be
absorbed within the current staff
complement and would require
an
additional 1.0 FTE.
9.
An
estimate of
cost~
when an additional appropriation
is
needed.
An
additional· appropriation of$]
32,508
for
a
Code Inspector
III
position
is
needed in the
first year
of
implementation.
10. A description of any variable that could affect revenue and cost estimates.
Bill 39-16
requires a new inspection fee to
be
set
under Method 2 adoption.
The fee
would
be
charged for
any
subsequent inspection with
a
recommended
graduated
fee
schedule similar
to
the False Alarm Fee Schedule. Rates on
this
new fee schedule may
affect
revenues.
II.
Ranges of revenue or expenditures that
ate
uncertain or difficult to project.
Not applicable.
12. If a bilI is likely
to
have no fiscal
Not applicable.
impac~
why that is the
casco
4
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13. Other fiscal impacts or comments.
Not applicable.
14. The following contributed to and concurred
with
this analysis:
Clarence Snuggs, DHCA
Tim Goetzinger, DHCA
Chris Anderson, DHCA
Dan, McHugh, DHCA
Pofen Salem, Office of Management and Budget
Date
loltoll
(0
5
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Economic Impact Statement
Bill 39-16, Housing and Building Maintenance Standards - Registration of Vacant
Property
Background:
This
legislation would:
• require owners of certain wunaintained vacant buildings to register those vacant
buildings \'.ith the Director of the Department of Housing and Community At'fairs
(DHCA);
• require owners of certain unrnaintained vacant buildings to pay certain fines; and
• require inspections for certain unrnaintained vacant buildings.
1. The sources of information, assumptions, and methodologies used.
The
source ofinfomlation and data includes the DHCA.
The
Department ofFil1ance did not
develop asswnptions or methodologies
in
the preparation of the t..'Conomic impact statement.
According to DHCA
in
its review of the memorandum dated September
20,2016,
from
Councilmember Hucker
to
memberS ofthe County Council, DHCA states
that
"it
is
reasonable to estimate that there
are
600 . - 700
vacant
units .in
the County_ It
is
further
reasonable that each vacant property could fall into the definition of un 'unmaintained vacant
property"'.
Bil139~16
would provide DHCA new authority to address the vacant properties.
2. A description of any variable that could affect the economic impact estimates.
The economic impact statement does not analyze the
impact
on the County's economy
attributed to vacant properties but the impact of providing ncwauthority to DHCA.
Therefore, there
are
nospt.'Cific economic variables that could affcct the County's economy.
3. The
BiU's
positive or negative effect,
if
any on employment, spending, savings,
investment, incomes, and property values in the County.
Bil139-16 provides new authority to DHCA to address vacant properties. Without specific
data
on the condition and market value for such properties, it is uncertain to estimate the
impact on the County's economy.
4. If a BiU
is
likely to have no economic impact, why is that the case?
Please see paragraph 3.
5. The following contributed to or concurred with this analysis:
David Platt, Dennis
Hetman, and Robert Hagedoom, Finance.
-.
-.-.~,~
Alexandre
A.
EspInosa, Dlrector
Page 1 of 1
Department of Finance
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Mihill. Amanda
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
MCCouncil@App.MontgomeryCountyMD.gov
Tuesday, November 01,20167:02 AM
county.council@mccouncilmd.lmhostediq.com
Bills 38-16
&
39-16. - Submitted By:Mrs Bernadine Karns - (Attn: All CMs, Council
Webform)
<APP>CUSTOM
<PREFIX>Mrs</PREFIX>
<FIRST>Bernadine</FIRST>
<MIDDLE></MIDDLE>
<LAST>Karns</LAST>
<SUFFIX></SUFFIX>
<ADDR1>3005 Gazebo Court</ADDR1>
<ADDR2></ADDR2>
<CITY>Silver Spring</CITY>
<ZIP>20904</ZIP>
<EMAIL>jeff.karns@verizon.net</EMAIL>
<PHONE_H>3015728018</PHONE_H>
<SUBJECT>Bilis 38-16
&
39-16. - Submitted By:Mrs Bernadine Karns - (Attn: All CMs, Council Webform)</SUBJECT>
<MSG>Good morning,
Bill 39-16, Housing and Building Maintenance Standards - Registration of Vacant Property and Bill 38-16, Housing and
Building Maintenance Standards - Foreclosed Property Registration Penalty are crucial in keeping communities beautiful,
desirable and safe. It is so hard to get any action from the owner, bank or whomever is responsible for the home. We
need your help. Please vote yest to these two bills because we need somethings in place to help our communities. Both
of these bills are a step in the right direction.
Thank you,
Bernie Karns, Calverton Citizens Association
3005 Gazebo Court
Silver Spring, MD
301-572-8018</MSG>
</APP>
1
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Montgomery County Council Public Hearing
Bill38-16: Housing and Building Maintenance Standards­
Foreclosed Property Registration Penalty
Bill39:16: Housing and Building Maintenance Standards­
Registration of Vacant Property
Tuesday, November 1,2016
Vicki Vergagni
President, Board of Directors and
On-Site Community Manager
Glen Waye Gardens Condominium
Bill38-16: Opposed
Bill39:16: Opposed
My name is Vicki Vergagni. I represent both myself and 214 master-metered
condominium units in Glen Waye Gardens. My positions on the two aforementioned bills are
based on 40+ years of owning and living in a condominium, 16 years of leading my community
as the Board president and serving as its on-site manager, and five years of serving as a
Commissioner on the County's CCOC - with two years as Vice Chair.
As the representative of
my community and as an individual, we are opposed to the two aforementioned bills.
Bill 38-16
that penalizes entities for failing to register in the State's Foreclosure Registry
foreclosed properties that they have purchased is unclear.
In
one portion ofthe bills' documentation, the total penalty is $1,000. This is
inappropriate as transfer taxes average $6,000 per property, so there is a net savings
of$5,000 ifthe property does not get registered and is simply transferred from a
lender's foreclosure stock to a new individual owner.
In
another portion ofthe bill's documentation, the penalty is $1,000 per day. This is
draconian at best and would most likely ensnare individuals who are making their
one-and-only purchase at a foreclosure sale.
Thus, we cannot support Bill 38-16.
®
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Bill 39-16 that deals primarily with "vacant and abandoned buildings"
(i.e.,
single-family
attached and detached homes) is great in concept since we all want to live in a neat and tidy
neighborhood. However, once again proposed legislation denies to condominiums the County
services for which condominium unit owners pay taxes but are excluded from receiving.
According to Councilmember Hucker's staff person, condominiums already have mechanisms
with which to deal with these issues and because County employees do not have access to the
units, condominiums have been given no additional thought with regard to the issue of "vacant
and abandoned" - of which there have been and still may be several hundred in the County in the
form of "zombie foreclosures". Homeowner associations already have mechanisms with which
to deal with ''vacant and abandoned" issues, and County employees do not have access to those
"vacant and abandoned buildings" beyond the yards. Does this mean that the County is going to
limit its "drive-by" inspections to free-standing homes?
There are ways that the County can assist condominiums that have ''vacant and
abandoned units". Why then, once again, is the County disregarding condominiums that are
plagued with larger numbers of and greater debts associated with "vacant and abandoned" units
than are single-family attached and detached homes? Clearly the issue is more complex in
condominiums, but does that mean that this Council should ignore it?
Thus, we cannot support
Bill 39-16.
Montgomery County prides itself on being an "inclusive" community, and to that end has
created a myriad of commissions to deal with "protected" groups. There are commissions for the
the elderly, the disabled, the mentally challenged, veterans, women, minorities, etc. And clearly
these are not the most financially well-heeled of our citizens. Yet, when it comes to housing, the
County fails to consider time and again the type of housing these individuals can afford to buy:
condominiums.
Condominiums in Montgomery County represent the "non-subsidized" affordable home­
buying option. Yet these homes are taxed more often and at higher rates than single-family
homes; they are not eligible to access many of the programs into which they mandatorily pay;
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and they are charged with providing to the County free services that benefit only the County for
information-gathering and revenue production. Condominiums continue to contribute more than
their share while they continue to receive less than their share from those contributions. Yes, the
homeowners in "protected" categories are being treated as "lesser taxpayers" by this County.
For those interested, I can provide a laundry list of such impositions on condominium
owners and residents.
Why does it matter that condominiums are treated differently by this County?
1. Real people - not individuals deserving lesser treatment -- own and live in
condominiums.
2. Condominium owners and residents typically are a member of one or more
"protected" categories.
3. Condominium owners and residents most often have limited funds, with
many being lower-income wage-earners.
4. Condominium owners and residents provide valuable basic services upon
whom those with moderate and upper incomes must rely.
5. Many condominium communities are on the brink of financial bankruptcy.
To wit: the condominium in Prince George's County that nearly lost its
water/sewer services in 2014 and then was condemned for loss of its gas
and electricity services this month (although the Courts recently restored
them). Initially somewhere between 100 - 200 families were abandoned
to the streets. That is a minimum of 300 - 600 people who now look
primarily to local and then state and Federal government for assistance.
Does Montgomery County know the number of its condominiums that are
in
the same
straits? No. But Montgomery County has collected a pile of money from such communities ­
money that now should be used to support the future of our communities. Start by using some of
that money to hire a competent research
firm
to quantify the economic state of the most
beleaguered of these communities, the older, master-metered communities, and identify the
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sources of their fmancial instability. Based on that research, identify the "tipping point" at which
a community becomes vulnerable to financial failure, and establish a process to secure timely
and appropriate assistance for the community. Also organize a series of "solutions-focused"
working groups with activelretired executive, legislative and judicial
"cac
experts" to explore
the genesis of specific issues and brainstorm solutions to empower the communities.
As many of you are acutely aware, inattention to the plight of condominiums has resulted
in their dramatically lowered property values that are not recovering at the rate of single-family
homes, and thus long-term, reduced income to the County in the form of property taxes.
Additionally, County tax dollars now are being spent to save older, master-metered
condominiums on the verge of bankruptcy.
In
spite of the foregoing, please note that these are not communities to be thrown onto the
trash heap, nor are they communities to be "re-wound" into apartments. These are not
communities to go down in the annals of history as a failed housing experiment. These are
communities that reflect the failure of public policy makers who do not understand these
communities and will not be bothered with their complexities.
Condominiums are communities that are a primary source of housing starts today. We
must be more proactive
in
assuring that public policy catches up to the existing and yet-to-be­
realized problems that have not been addressed to date. With appropriate public policy support,
they can be a stable non-subsidized source of affordable housing for those homebuyers in
protected categories.
What can you do as a Councilmember? Start today by taking seriously your commitment
to homebuyers at all financial levels by righting this County's past wrongs and by helping to
assure that these communities can get - and keep -- their financial houses in good order. Charge
each County agency with identifYing the contacts it
has
with condominiums; require
conversation, preferably with front-line community managers, with regard to those contacts; and
identify better ways to deliver existing services as well as new services that are needed by these
communities. Also assure that legislation that you are considering inCludes as stakeholders at the
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beginning ofthe process the three different types of conimon ownership communities with
differing needs
--
HOAs, condominiums and cooperatives.
Thank you for your consideration as we work together to make Montgomery County a
better place for
all
to live.
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Mihill. Amanda
From:
Sebastian Smoot <gheca@gheca.org>
Monday, October 31,201611:18 AM
Cou nty.Cou ncil@montgomerycountymd.gov
Tom Hucker; George Leventhal; Marc Eirich; Nancy Floreen; Hans Riemer; Roger Berliner;
Craig Rice; Sidney Katz; Nancy Navarro
Public Testimony: Bill 38-16
&
Bill 39-16
Sent:
To:
Cc:
SUbject:
GOOD HOPE
ESTATES
CIVIC
ASSOCIATION
DEDICATED TO MANTAINING .ANO ]MPlUJ.VING TNf:
(}£JAUTY OF UFE
WITHIN DUll
COMMUNlIT
Dear County Council,
Please support Councilmember Hucker's Bills
38-16
&
39-16.
Our neighborhood has had multiple foreclosures and vacant
homes pull down our property values and make it difficult for people to sell adjacent homes. We support these bills because
they would make our neighborhoods safer, more attractive, and more valuable.
There are currently four homes in our neighborhood with advertisements for pre-foreclosure auctions, and several more in
the adjacent community of Peach Orchard Estates (link). We do not want these foreclosures to go vacant or unmaintained,
and the proposed bills would help to address these issues.
For example, the property at 1500 Colesberg foreclosed in 2015 and was vacant for nearly a year. The grass was unmowed
and the property deteriorated (fences and windows broken), which seriously affected the sales of the two adjacent homes
(1424 and 1420 Coles berg): They sat on the market for over three months, much longer than most properties in our
neighborhood, because nobody wanted to live on the same street as the eyesore vacancy. But once the vacant house was
purchased and fixed up in May, the other homes sold just weeks after.
Many of the people selling homes in our neighborhood are seniors with limited incomes who suffered great financial losses
during the recession. Nearby vacant homes and foreclosures can hinder their ability to gain fair market value for their
homes, and require them to either settle for less or wait excessively until the time is right. By discouraging vacancies, these
bills would help seniors sell their homes and allow them to retire comfortably.
Nearly every street in our community has been affected by foreclosures and vacant homes. There is a house 100 yards from
me that is vacant and was recently cited by DHCA for not mowing the lawn (see below). We want the out-of-town owners
1
@
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to maintain their property without us having to remind them, but the existing penalties for lack of maintenance are
inadequate to compel them to do the right thing.
On behalf of the residents of Good Hope Estates, I compel
you
to do the right thing and vote in favor of Bills 38-16
&
39­
16.
Thank you for your time and consideration. Please do not hesitate to call or email me with any questions.
Sincerely,
--Sebastian
Sebastian Smoot
President, GHECA
1200 Rainbow Drive
Sp,cel Spring
t\i~C
20905-4134
fv;ol1tgome
c
y County D:,;trict
5
email
gheca@gheca,org
eel' 240-308-1006
website
I
facebook
I
'lex+c];)or
2
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TESTIMONY OF
THE GREATER CAPITAL AREA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
BEFORE THE MONTGOMERY COUNTY COUNCIL ON
Bill 38-16,
"Housing and Building Maintenance Standards
-
Foreclosed Property Registration
Penalty"
Position: Support
Bill 39-16,
"Housing and Building Maintenance Standards
-
Registration of Vacant Property"
Position: Support
November 1, 2016
Council President Floreen and members of the County Council, my name is Richard Stoner and I
am the 2016 Chair of the Greater Capital Area Association ofREALTORS®' ("GCAAR")
Public Policy Committee. GCAAR is the voice of Montgomery County and the District of
Columbia's over 10,000 REALTORS®, property managers, and other real estate professionals.
GCAAR is also a voice for many homeowners throughout the entire DC metro region on
important property rights and land use issues.
On behalf of GCAAR, this testimony is to voice our support of both the
"Foreclosed
Property Registration Penalty"
and
"Registration of Vacant Property"
Bills. We believe both
bills are practical and reasonable ways to address concerns in the housing community,
while maintaining fair protections for property owners.
First, with regards to the
"Foreclosed Property Registration Penalty"
Bill, GCAAR recognizes
the serious problem certain communities continue to have with foreclosures. Such delinquencies
may put the financial livelihood of entire communities at risk, and warrant attention from
lawmakers. GCAAR commends the Council's effort to protect the County's homeowners' to
strengthen the foreclosure registry requirement.
@
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As it stands, the foreclosure registry requirement serves as a way to identify who is holding the
foreclosed property.
In
Homeowners and Condo Associations, for example, far too often
outstanding fees pile up to an amount that could very well exceed any net proceeds that could be
paid to the Association on resale. The uncollected revenue from the delinquent unit is a burden
on not just the Associations, but to the owners who are paying. If the Associations aren't well
capitalized and can't access reserve funds, then owners face special assessments to make up
budget shortfalls.
Bill 38-16 would directly aid the County's many common ownership communities go after the
units that are delinquent in payments by strengthening the requirement for the owner ofthe now
foreclosed unit to come forward. Knowing who these owners are will ultimately help with the
collection of fees and maintenance of these units until the next owner takes over.
For those foreclosed properties not within a common ownership community, the Bill's increased
requirements may move these properties into more productive uses sooner and allow more
people the opportunity to become County homeowners. In the long term, keeping our housing
market solvent and moving will help the financial health of the County. Not only may we expect
to see increased property tax revenues, but homeowners bring a multitude of investments into
our neighborhoods such civic engagement, local business support and community development
endeavors.
Next, GCAAR also supports the
"Vacant Property Registration"
Bill as written. GCAAR
understands the concerns residents may have with unmaintained vacant properties due to safety
and health concerns, as well as increased risk of crime. As real estate professionals directly
working in the buying and selling of properties, we understand first-hand the relationship an
unmaintained vacant property can have with the surrounding properties.
For example, even if you have a home with a multitude of positive attributes, potential
purchasers may still have concerns if there is a clearly blighted property next door.
In
the long­
term, this can have a negative impact of the value of real estate, which is only now starting to
make a steadier recovery.
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GCAAR sees that the
"Vacant Property Registration"
Bill is focused on keeping a more accurate
account ofunmaintained vacant properties. Many of our members either own or manage
properties for family and clients who live elsewhere at different times of the year. These
properties, while vacant, are well maintained and definitely not blighted.
The Bill's distinction between properties which are merely unoccupied and those which are a
blight to the community specifically accounts for our one of GCAAR's primary concerns;
keeping the legislation focused on addressed those properties with are vacant and unmaintained,
as opposed to well-meaning homeowners who may spend time in away from home for a few
months at a time.
Overall, GCAAR encourages the Council to move both the
"Foreclosed Property Registration
Penalty"
and
"Registration o/Vacant Property"
Bills for the benefit of the entire housing
community.
We sincerely thank the introducer of the legislation, Councilmember Hucker for engaging our
organization in discussions about the Bills throughout his extensive research process and believe
his outreach efforts have ultimately lead to strong legislative measures. As always, we thank the
entire Council for consideration of our Association's perspective on these very important issues.
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Hillandale Citizens Association, Inc.
Montgomery County Bills 38-16
&
39-16
Penalty for Not Registering Foreclosed Properties
&
Listing Vacant Properties
The Executive Committee of the Hillandale Citizens Association supports
Councilmember Hucker's two bills crafted to improve the Department of Housing and
Community Mfairs (DHCA) management of vacant properties. We ask that Council also
consider the following:
• Add a time requirement for final registration with the State Foreclosure Registry
Add a provision to have DHCA list designated unmaintained, vacant properties on their web
site, as they do condemned properties
• Remove the two-year grace period for listing properties in foreclosure action from the
unmaintained, vacant property designation
Bill 38-16 -"-- Enacting the State's Foreclosure Registry Penalty Provision in MoCo
Requiring the purchaser of a foreclosed property to promptly report their purchase to the
state's foreclosed property database will improve DHCA's ability to identify responsible
parties. Imposing a $1,000 fine will encourage buyers to act quickly and acknowledge their
ownership with the
initial
registration.
Unfortunately, the bill stops short of requiring
thefinal
registration and actual deed
transfer be done quickly following the court's ratification of a foreclosure sale. Please make this
a requirement.
Bill 39-16 - New Blight-Reduction Tool: Unmaintained Vacant Residential Property List
Establishing and implementing aMoCo
unmaintained vacant residential property
list
with an annual inspection requirement and fees will help DHCA to address all types of
abandoned properties that drag down a neighborhood. Since many of these properties will not
have voluntary registration, it is imperative that DHCA aggressively uses the authority provided
in this bill to add qualifying properties to the list. Furthermore, having inspection fees escalate
within the service request/complaint system may encourage absentee owners to consider selling
or renovating the home. We ask that this list be published on DHCA's web site.
Unfortunately, the more critical vacant, abandoned, unmaintained homes in Hillandale
have been lengthy, stalled, or unprosecuted foreclosures. These have not been contested
foreclosures for the most part. Some cases have been dismissed due to inactivity, then restarted
or refiled. With this experience, the 24-month grace provision in the legislation is too
lenient. All vacant and unmaintained homes should be treated equally based on the condition of
the property. These properties need to be inspected, with registration charges and fees being
added to the tax bill. Mortgage companies routinely pay the tax bills to avoid the possibility of a
tax sale. Please remember that the negative impact of these homes on surrounding properties is
significant and action must not be delayed.
We also encourage Council to review with DHCA the Department's policies regarding
their existing powers to enforce housing code standards, including their ultimate tool, requiring a
property owner to "repair or remove" a deteriorated, vacant dwelling through the District Court
process. Several years ago, this approach was used
in
Hillandale with two successful
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outcomes. One home
was
sold and renovated while another
was
demolished. 1bis is a tool in
their tool box that needs
to
be carefully used when necessary.
Thank you for considering our input
as
Council reviews and adopts Bills 38-16 and 39­
16.
Margie Goergen-Rood, President
Eileen Finnegan, Zoning and Planning
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Bill 39-16 Housing and Building Maintenance Standards - Registration of Vacant Property
Testimony by Ann Barbagallo, Co-Chair
Justice and Advocacy Council of Montgomery County
Archdiocese of Washington
My name is Ann Barbagallo. I am here speaking on behalf of the Justice and Advocacy Council of
Montgomery County, an official voice of the Archdiocese of Washington, whose mission is to
advocate on behalf of the poor and vulnerable in Montgomery County. I appreciate the opportunity
to testify regarding the Bill 39-16 Housing and Building Maintenance Standards - Registration of
Vacant Property.
Catholic Social Teaching proclaims that human life is sacred and that the dignity of the human person
is the foundation of a moral vision for society. We believe that every person has a right to those
things required for human dignity. A basic moral test is how our most vulnerable members are faring
and how well we are fulfilling our responsibility to put the needs of the poor and vulnerable first.
We commend Council Member Hucker and all of his colleagues who support Bill 39-16. Montgomery
County is one of the most affluent counties in the United States, but not all of its residents qualify for
five hundred thousand, seven hundred thousand or million dollar homes. There is a real shortage of
affordable housing. At the same time, there are scores of moderately priced, vacant homes in our
county that could help fill that need if they were offered for sale. Many of us have observed vacant
homes that are often left unattended for months, even years. In my own community of Damascus, on
Route 27 - the main road through town, there have been at least three homes vacant for months, in
some cases years. One house is just five doors away from Damascus High School and another is doors
away from Cedar Grove Elementary School. Their overgrown yards and lack of maintenance create a
public eyesore, their close proximity to schools presents an added danger, and their lack of use is a
lost resource. I am happy to report that one house was rehabilitated this summer, went on the
market in September, and according to the sign had a contract in about two weeks! That is a clear
sign that there is an eager desire for affordable homes.
We welcome actions the County Council can take to make more affordable housing available to our
residents.
Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today.
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MARYLAND
BUILDING
INDUSTRY
. . .
~
ASSOCIATION
(\
11825 West Market Place
Fulton, MD 20759
301-776-6242
TESTIMONY OF LARRY CAFRIT?
BEFOrE
::-:~
MONTGOMERY COUNTY COUNCIL
BILL 39-16 - HOUSING AND BUILDING MAINTENANCE STANDARDS - REGISTRATION
OF VACANT PROPERTY
Good Evening.
I am Larry Cafritz , owner and President of Cafritz Builders and Chairman of
the Custom/Small Builders Council of Maryland Building Industry Association, testifying in
support of Bill 39-16, subject to certain revisions being made to Artic!e II, Section 26-20, dealing
with Applicability and/or Exemptions and specifically paragraph (b) under 26-20.
We
appreciate the safety concerns raised by the Bill's sponsor about problems created
0",
unmaintained vacant properties and the potential impact on a neighborhood's property values,
and we applaud his efforts to address this issue.
We do however believe that additional modifications need to be made to the proposed bill to
ensure that vacant properties owned by home builders, developers or their clients, or in the
process of sale by or to a homebuilder, developer or client, are fully exempted from the
requirements of this proposed legislation.
As currently written the bill proposes (Section 26­
20 (b)) that the registration requirements would not apply to properties under some form of
active construction and provides a 12-month time frame.
This language is insufficient and
does not adequately address all the circumstances under which a vacant property owned by a
home builder, developer or client, or under sales contract by or to a home builder, developer or
client, should be exempted from the registration and fee requirement.
The bill also needs to
address properties that are planned for demolition within 18-24 months of transfer, sale or
vacancy of the property, and/or under active pursuit of utility disconnects for razing, active
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Page 2
application for subdivision or zoning approval. Additionally, on Page 6, Line 108 of Bill No.39­
16, the word lIunmaintained" should be inserted before the word Ilvacant" to further ensure
exemption of property owned by or for sale by a homebuilder, developer or client.
You have heard from me and other builders on many occasions about the lengthy and
expensive process we must go through to obtain development and building appiOvals and
permits. This is true whether it is a subdivision of mUltiple houses, or a single lot infill house.
It literally takes months and I urge you not to add yet another regulatory action (and fee) to the
existing process.
I have attached to my testimony a copy of proposed language that revises Article II, Section 26­
20, Items a) through e).
Thank you for your consideration of our concerns.
Laurence Co/ritz
Laurence Co/ritz Builders
7520 Hampden Lane
Bethesda, MD 20814
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Attachment to Testimony by Larry Cafritz on 11.1.16
BILL 39-16 - HOUSING AND BUILDING MAINTENANCE STANDARDS­
REGISTRATION OF VACANT PROPERTY
NEW PROPOSED LANGUAGE IN BOLD for
Section 26-20. Applicability.
This Article does not apply to any real property that is
a) owned by:
1.
The government of the United States or its instrumentalities;
2. The State of Maryland or its instrumentalities; or
3. A foreign government or its instrumentalities;
b) under active construction or undergoing active rehabilitation, renovation, or
repair, OR under a building permit to make the building fit for occupancy; or
that '/las issued, rene'l,.'ed or e><tended 'Nithin 12 months of the registration
Gate;
c) planned for demolition within 18-24 months of transfer, sale or vacancy of
the property; or
d) under active pursuit of utility disconnects for razing, active application for
subdivision or zoning approval, or under active pursuit or issuance of a
demolition, building or other related permit; or
-e) for a period not to exceed 24 months, the subject of a probate proceeding or
the title is the subject of litigation, including a foreclosure proceeding; or
G
f)
maintained as required by Chapter26, Article 1.
®
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\
12200 Tech Road, Suite 250, Silver
Sp~1:lg,
f.1aryland
2090L-1983
Phone: 301--622-2400
Fax: 301-622-2800
wwv.'.MHPartners.org
November 1,2016
The Honorable Nancy Floreen
President, Montgomery County Council
Montgomery County Council
100 Maryland Avenue
Rockville, MD 20850
Dear Council President Floreen:
On behalf of Montgomery Housing Partnership (MHP), please allow me to take this opportunity to
express my support for Bills 38-16 Foreclosed Property Registration Penalty and 39-16 Registration of
Vacant Property.
These Bills both aim to strengthen the integrity of our neighborhoods, and are critical to supporting our
communities through the continuing impacts ofthe housing market crash. The foreclosure crisis
continues to have a visual and detrimental impact on many neighborhoods throughout Montgomery
County. As of August 2016, the County was still seeing one foreclosure for every 1,347 housing units,
with the hottest spot in Barnesville, with a rate of one in every 89 units. From an economic standpoint,
the median sales price of foreclosed properties is 33 percent lower than non-foreclosed homes
(RealtyTrac).
In 2012, the Maryland State Legislature enacted a law to develop the State's Foreclosure Registry. The
intent of the registry was to provide local jurisdictions with up-to-date information on ownership once
the foreclosure process has begun and before the deed has been filed. This period when the ownership is
in limbo often leads to property neglect and disinvestment. However, without a clear understanding of
the current ownership, it is extremely difficult for the County to enforce housing code and safety
regulations. Use of the Foreclosure Registry provides the County with the contact information for the
responsible entity during this period. However, many of the lenders initiating the foreclosures fail to
register.
It
is up to each local jurisdiction to enact enabling legislation to fine those not
in
compliance,
and to-date Montgomery County has not done this. Bill 38-16 would rectify this enforcement loophole,
and enable Montgomery County to enforce compliance with the Foreclosure Registry.
These issues around the failure to register foreclosures especially impacts the condominium community,
MHP has been working with a broad base of stakeholders in the condo community to address their
growing needs as this is one area of the County housing market that is still impacted from the downturn
in the economy. The failure of banks to register their foreclosures and start paying condo fees can have a
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serious, detrimental impact on a condo community's viability. We encourage the Council to pass this
Bill and hold the lenders accountable for complying with State law.
Additionally, we encourage your support of Bill 39-16 to create a vacant property registry for
Montgomery County.
In
the various communities throughout the County that MHP supports, we
consistently hear from community members about the vacant properties that are plaguing their
neighborhoods. They lack appropriate maintenance, are a drain on area resale prices, and can foster
criminal activity. The registry will provide the County with an additional tool to monitor and hold
owners accountable for the appearance and safety of their properties. The Bill appropriately provides
leeway for those that are trying to sell their home, or work through the intricacies of closing out an
estate. However, it is time we start holding negligent owners accountable for the impacts their properties
are having on the neighborhood at large. The fees proposed should serve as an appropriate incentive for
the owner to re-occupy the unit through a sale, rental, or personal occupancy. Additionally, the regular
inspections will ensure at least a minimal level of safety and visual appearance, working to minimize the
impact on the surrounding homes.
However, we do want to make sure that Bill 39-16 as written, includes all residential dwelling units,
including multi-family. As we noted earlier, the condo market is still struggling to rebound after the
housing crisis, and this bill is critical to that sector of the market. In that regard, we would suggest
examining the list of factors for consideration of vacancy to include those that may pertain to common
ownership communities. For example failure to pay assessments can be a sign of the owner no longer
occupying the unit.
We thank Councilmember Hucker, and the many Councilmembers who have already signed on to
support one, or both, of these bills, and protect Montgomery County neighborhoods.
I welcome the opportunity to discuss these thoughts with you further. Please feel free to reach me at
rgoldman(a),mhpartners.org or 301-812-4114.
Sincerely,
';-_~"~:.,.
1:"
-.
..
.
"
_.,"
Robert A. Goldman, ESQ.
President
Montgomery Housing Partnership
Bills 38-16
&
39-16
2
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MONTGOMERY VILLAGE FOUNDATION,
INC.
10120 APPLE RIDGE ROAD
MONTGOMERY VILLAGE, MARYLAND 20886-1000
(301) 948-0110 FAX (301) 990·7071www.montgomeryvillage.com
October 28, 2016
The Honorable Nancy Floreen, President
Montgomery County Council
100 Maryland Avenue
Rockville, MD 20850
Re: Bill 38-16; Bill 39-16
Dear Ms. Floreen and Council Members:
r
am writing on behalf of the Montgomery Village Foundation Board of Directors to comment
regarding the above-referenced bills.
MVF supports both of these bills and hopes that they will add incrementally to the measures
that the County can use to reduce the impact of deteriorating and vacant homes in County
neighborhoods.
During the years since the sub-prime lending crisis in 2008 led to a depressed housing
market, Montgomery County neighborhoods have experienced a significant increase in
vacant and un-maintained properties as the result of defaults on mortgages. The
condition of these properties frustrates neighbors during the uncertain period of time
when lenders are deciding whether to foreclose or not. The additional time required for
the Courts to plod through the many steps in the foreclosure suits that actually do reach
the Courts only adds to the frustration.
Although a defaulting property owner remains the legal owner during this lengthy
process, owners often move out of their homes at the bank's request, and mistakenly
beHeve their obligations have ended. If an owner can eventually be located, courts do
usually impose liability for unpaid HOA assessments, but abandoning a property often
leaves a homeowners association and the County without a party who will take concrete
steps to maintain a property.
In MVF'sexperience. after identifying a responsible party, it takes cooperation from the
HOA and the County to see imprOVements to housing and property code violations on a
property. For example, MVF does not have the authority to repair buildings and charge
the costs to an owner, but the County does. MVF can add to the process through direct
appeals to owners and by applying to the courts for injunctions to enforce architectural
standards on deteriorated properties. HOAs can enforce covenant violations, including
property maintenance; however, enforcement authority is weaker than that of the
County. Even working together, it takes diligent persistence to achieve modest results.
Although the County Code allows significant fines for repeated housing code violations,
the Courts seem reluctant to impose them.
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Instead, more often, a generous compliance schedule is established, and this may
require several additional inspections and court dates before
it
achieves results.
Oftentimes, neighbors are dissatisfied with the County's enforcement efforts because
they do not believe they go far enough to correct all the violations on a property. For
instance, the County may go onto a property to board up broken windows or to secure a
door, but will not cut grass, remove excessive debris from yards, fix downed gutters,
etc. The Department of Housing Affairs (DHCA) uses their authority to secure
properties, but in our opinion, could go further to address property maintenance
violations on neighborhood properties.
Although these bills seek to impose financial incentives on owners outside of the
judicial enforcement of the housing code, our opinion is that realistically, the financial
coercion these bills rely on
will
not make the hundreds of vacant deteriorating properties
in the County disappear. This is because the owners of many of these properties simply
don't have the money to maintain them, or to pay additional inspection fees and fines.
So even if inspection fees are added onto a tax bill, there will
be
no improvement to
many of these properties until after they proceed through the tax sale or foreclosure
process as noted above.
In sum,
MVF
is supporting these bills to add to DHCA's tool chest of enforcement.
However,
we
trust that the Council, DHCA and the courts
will
continue to work together
to utilize State and County codes to significantly reduce vacant and unmaintained
properties in our neighborhoods.
Thank you for conSidering these concerns in your review of Bill 38-16 and Bill 39-16.
cc:
County Council Members
MVF Board of Directors
Dave Humpton, Executive Vice President
Christopher Hitchens, General Counsel
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\\0
Woody Brosnan
Representing PREZCO, the Presidents' Council of Silver Spring Civic Associations
Re: Bill 39-16
Honorable Council members,
When a home is in a rundown condition it negatively impacts the value of nearby
homes and how people view their neighborhood.
Many years ago we had a gentleman on my block who didn't mow his grass and
didn't fix the holes on his porch screen and generally did not maintain his
property. I was so annoyed I thought about reporting this to the county, but then
I read some of the rather inflammatory bumper stickers on his beat-up van and
allowed discretion to become the better part of valor. Eventually the man died,
and fortunately the house was quickly fixed up and flipped.
But that doesn't happen everywhere. Sometimes there are foreclosures where a
house can be on the market for a long time. In these circumstances the county
should ensure that the bank or other lender is maintaining a property so that it
not become an eyesore in the neighborhood.
One more point: Twice I have taken out home equity loans to remodel our house.
On both occasions the appraiser used recent home sales to help determine his
assessment. If you have a house in terrible condition, its sale can impact the value
of other homes in the neighborhood.
This bill is supported by civic associations representing the Indian Springs, Long
Branch, Lyttonsville, North Four Corners, North Hills of Sligo, North Woodside,
Park Hills, Rosemary Hills, Seven Oaks-Evanswood, Woodmoor-Pinecrest,
Woodside, Woodside Forest and Woodside Park neighborhoods.
9101 Louis Avenue, Silver Spring, Md. 20910
301-588-0025
woodybrosnan@verizon.net
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FROM LIS
David Evans 13005 Gershwin Way, Silver Spring, MD 20904 (301) 890-1385
Testimony of David Evans: IN SUPPORT OF Bill 39-16, Housing and Building
Maintenance Standards - Registration of Vacant Property Before the Montgomery
County Counsel November 1, 2016
Thank you for the opportunity to address the board in regards to the problem of vacant
properties in our neighborhoods.
I am a lifelong resident of Montgomery County and moved into the Silver Spring
community of Tanglewood thirty-three years ago where my wife and I reside today.
For over ten years we have been forced to tolerate a boarded up vacant home located
at 3017 Schubert Drive which has affected our property values. Sometime in the future
should we decide to relocate we could find it difficult sell our home for a reasonable
price if something isn't done about this eye sore.
When this property was left vacant people illegally entered the home and found that if
they used an extension cord and a power outlet from the deck of a neighboring home
that it was the ideal party house. I believe the resident next store discovered the
extension cord usage once their Pepco bill showed an increase. The police were called
and the home was boarded up. I'm not sure if this action was initiated by the owner or
Montgomery County.
Over the years I have contacted the county several times about lawn maintenance
issues and the county has promptly issued citations and have had the grass cut and
bushes trimmed. There was also a portion of a deteriorating fence that was removed
because of safety issues.
I believe the person who owns this property lives outside of the US and has never
attempted to rent or sell the property. I'm also certain that no one has entered this
home for an inspection or for any other reason in the last ten years.
I have to believe that this kind of problem must exist in other neighborhoods throughout
the county. In my opinion the county should have the power to seize a home or take
appropriate action after a reasonable amount of time for a neglected or abandoned
property. It's only fair to the other residents in the neighborhood.
Thank you for your consideration.
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Mihill. Amanda
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Joan Flaherty <flahertyj54@gmail.com>
Wednesday, September 28, 2016 8:15 PM
Cou nty.Cou nci I@montgomerycountymd.gov
Vacant dilapidated housing in Montgomery County
Dear Council Members,
I favor bills that would put a stop to neglected and blighted houseslbuildings in Montgomery County and
require owners of single-family residential housing and buildings to maintain their properties. Why do I favor
this? I lived next store to a single-family house that was in disrepair and neglected for years. After a terrible
storm, a tree fell on this house and it was declared unfit for human habitation by the firefighters. The renters
moved out and the landlord did nothing for two years.
It
was not only a danger to the neighborhood but may
have led to decreased property values. Fortunately, the house was purchased by a small businessman who
improved and transformed the property into a very nice home and sold it.
.
Thanks for considering my views on this matter.
Sincerely,
Joan Flaherty
240-353-4962
1
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Mihill. Amanda
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Charlie Garlow <charliegarlow350@gmail.com>
Tuesday, September 27, 2016 11 :26 AM
County.Council@montgomerycountymd.gov
Vacant dilapidated housing in Moco
Dear council members
I favor those bills that would require owners of buildings that are vacant and dilapidated to clean up their act!!
We need these houses on the market to make available more moderate priced housing. We also need to clean up the
blight.
Sincerely
Charlie Garlow
9929
Woodburn Rd
Silver Spring MD
20901
Sent from my iPhone
1
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Mihill. Amanda
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Lauren Grant
<
laureng919@gmail.com>
Tuesday, September 27, 2016 11 :06 AM
County.Council@montgomerycountymd.gov
Re: Neglected and foreclosed homes
Hi,
I just want to say that I support Tom Hucker's two bills. I can only imagine how frustrating it is for
homeowners who live next to or near distressed properties and cannot do anything to resolve the
situation. Should these bills pass, at least there is some chance that the homes become occupied or
at least properly maintained sooner rather than later.
Lauren G
Silver Spring, MD
1
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Speaker: Becky Lavash
112 East Schuyler Road
Silver Spring MD 20901
November 1, 2016
Bill 39-16. Housing and Building Maintenance Standards - Registration of Vacant
Property
and
Bill 38-16. Housing and Building Maintenance Standards - Foreclosed
Property Registration Penalty
Comments:
When I heard about these bills related to vacant homes, I reached out to my neighbors on our
listserv to ask for addresses of vacant homes in our community. Within an hour I learned about 8
houses in my Community and I heard about the terrible problems the other residents are
experiencing. Some of my neighbors are here tonight to talk about one of these 8 houses but
others could not attend. I am here to speak for them.
These vacant houses are are easy to identify. As I read the emails describing the houses I realized
that could recall most of them from my own walks in the neighborhood. But I didn't know all the
details. A few years ago at the height of the foreclosure peak, I struggled with neighbors to mow
the lawn of a neglected house that was prominently located on Flower Avenue in our
neighborhood. But none of us was properly equipped for (nor should we be expected to be) to
take on this task. It took us hours and we were concerned we would be in a precarious legal
position if anything happened.
I have compiled a list of the houses I learned about to the end of my testimony so you can refer to
it later. I will share a few of the descriptions now so everyone can hear it.
These vacant houses are easy to spot. Grass and weeds grow tall and go to seed, bushes are not
trimmed, tree branches grow into the sidewalk, die and fall unattended. Rats and raccoons move
into the houses and the yards, trees grow into gutters and gutters fall off the house, often blocking
doors and windows, making the abandonment obvious. The weeds spread unchecked. Pipes
freeze, paint chips and peels, wood rots and holes open that allow squirrels, raccoons, rats, and
children inside. Dark windows indicate the abandonment, and the houses visibly deteriorate.
Mosquitos breed by the million in unattended pools, buckets, and wheelbarrows.
Our neighbors have to live next door to these neglected buildings and compensate for the neglect.
They have to clean up the weeds, vines, and branches, that spread into their yards and keep the
rats out of their trash cans. They check the houses to try to
j)e~
if squatters have moved in, install
bright lights pointed at the houses to try and keep squatters away. And they have to call County
enforcement, time and again, to try to get some attention and correction for the
negl~ct.
10f4
Lavash Testimony 38-16 and 39-16
"
@
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Some of these houses are in long term probate with disinterested and unresponsive owners.
Some are in foreclosure with banks that are not equipped or interested in addressing these
maintenance issues. Some are abandoned by owners who can not cope with home ownership. In
all cases the houses fall into disrepair, lose value, and blight our community.
It takes a long time for the county to get around to inspecting the property, contacting the owner,
and then for action to occur to address even the lawn mowing issues. It is clear the current system
and level of fines is not working to resolve these problems. Higher fines and more rigorous actions
are needed. The houses listed here are proof of the failure of the current laws.
These houses are long term topics on the neighborhood listserv and the problem lingers on for
years. They drive down property prices and make the residents' lives more complicated. And
unhappy.
Please pass meaningful legislation to better manage these neglected properties and make our
neighborhoods a better place. Perhaps significant daily fines will provide the motivation needed to
get these neglected homes occupied again.
Following is a list of troubled homes and the problems they cause in our community. It is not a
complete list.
9206 Wendell
Street.
Longtime owners and longtime neighbors. She developed dementia and they
moved to be closer to their son in Frederick MD. Someone comes occasionally
and uses a weed-wacker to cut the grass. It's not the best look. The grass has
been at least 10 inches high on something of a regular basis. The neighbors have
talked about taking up a collection to have the lawn maintained. I paid for the last
mowing. There should only be a need for one more mowing this season. But the
leaves are coming down and no one is raking them and it is unslightly. I wouldn't
want the full weight of the county govemment to fall on them because they are
longtime neighbors. I will probably pay to have the leaves raked before the
November leaf collection and for the grass to then be mowed a final time this
season. For your purposes, please note that the house is vacant and fully
fumished with minimal upkeep of the grounds and the neighbors pitching in.
You can see, when you pass by, that no one is caring for the place. This home has
been empty and abandoned for more than 12 years. The owner has a hoarding
problem and is unable to cope with the property. Gas and electric are shut off. The
owners son is estranged. The house is condemned.
Plants are growing in the gutters, the roof is decaying, the siding is coming off.
Someone has been having the grass cut during the summer. Neighbors report that
the backyard is an overgrown mess and they have put flower pots along the
driveway to try to make it look a little cared for, but it is quite a mess. The county
has finally boarded up windows and doors but electric connections to the house are
corroded and gas leaks from the line leading to the house have occurred.
The homeowner has let all insurance lapse. When a branch fell from a neglected
tree and pierced the neighbor's roof, they leamed that the owner of the Bradford Rd
house had no insurance. So the victims had to cover all costs themselves even
9303
Bradford
Road
20f4
Lavash Testimony
38-16
and
39-16
 PDF to HTML - Convert PDF files to HTML files
though they had wamed the Bradford owner of the rotting tree.
One neighbor is so fearful they have installed a bright spotlight that shines onto the
abandoned property and adjoining neighbors.
Animals get into the house through large holes in the side. For months a window
air conditioning unit was hanging dangerously from a window.
But I noticed in the spring a trash can full of water, which I dumped over, not easy.
I didn't want Mosquitos to breed in the stagnant water. Then later in the summer I
found it was full of water again, dumped it out also. But I don't live close by, I just
walk by it occasionally. So this is a health issue.
This property is owned by Martha McClendon.
Lauren Cary was the last housing inspector of record, 240.777.3698.
9208 Flower
Avenue.
We live diagonally behind that house and have been having problems with it for
years.
There doesn't seem to be anyone living there consistently. My husband and I peer
into the windows occasionally when we walk by, but the inside looks pretty empty.
And the backyard is a disaster.
Among other things, that means the swimming pool is not cared for, and
mosquitoes breed there like crazy. We basically can't use our yard at all during the
warmer months. And we've had contractors come to do work who've told us that
they've never seen such a mosquito swarm in any place they've ever worked.
We've reported this to the county, but apparently there's nothing they can do but
issue wamings-which have no effect because no one is really living in the house.
Also, there's a very scary tree growing in the backyard. It's huge, and it has quite a
lean, and I'm afraid it's going to come down in a storm and fall right on our house!
Owner's address listed as Leavenworth KS
12 Hamilton Rd
3 E Hamilton
Rental property that is unrentable because of code issues.
Has been vacant for almost 2 years, but the owner does cut the grass at least.
Gutters have been down and across the front door all summer. The roof is visibly
rotting. The backyard is a mess. Not listed as primary residence.
Owner listed as Glen Echo MD
9201 Wire Ave
There is a lack of yard maintenance and rare lawn mowing.
Others report raccoons, etc in the attic.
Abandoned car in the driveway.
Since 2005 - owner address listed as Minnesota
30f4
Lavash Testimony
38-16
and
39-16
 PDF to HTML - Convert PDF files to HTML files
300 East Schuyler
Vacant more than 10 years. Fence is down, deer living in backyard. Numerous
calls about windows open in house. Rodents, lawn frequently not mowed. Owner
not motivated to make any changes. Zillow rates as $400K plus house, largely due
to comer lot size. Paint peeling, rodents, freezing pipes, condemnation notices.
Tax Lien on property as of 2016 for $7500
nearby
7219
Central
Ave, takoma
park, M D
20912
it has been mostly abandoned for the past, at least, 6 years. The owner
comes around every once in a while but for the most part the yard is
unkempt and often completely maintained. My understanding from the
listserv is that there are rodents and also there have been
kids vandalizing it at one point.
Mostly there have been complaints about it on the listserv for years.
40f4
Lavash Testimony 38-16 and 39-16
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[Company name]
To:
From:
CC:
Montgomery County Council
Meghan McCoy, 806 Silver Spring Ave. ,20910 (301) 466-1578
ESSAC
11/1/2016
Bill 39-16, Housing
&
Building Maintenance Standards Registration of Vacant
Property
Date:
Re:
Comments:
My name is Meghan McCoy my partner and I are raising our family in our 6 person
household at 806 Silver Spring Ave. off of Fenton and Silver Spring Ave. We are a
multilingual, English
&
Spanish, multi cultural, African American and Hispanic,
multigenerational, 3-74 yrs, household. Our home has been in our family since
1989. We are active community members committed to enjoying the splendor of
our neighborhood and the diverse offerings of our community and the businesses
attracted to our thriving downtown area.
There are two properties owned by Fenton Group llC C/O Ulysses S. Glee. on our
block 812
&
814 Silver Spring Ave. that have been condemned since 6/24/2016. I
have 3 words for these homes: degradated, dilapidated, blighted, vermin infested,
magnets for underage drinking, squatters, and other related uses and destructive
activities. The sign on the door provided to you in my documentation has a note
under
10#
7-3698 which states, The owner of this property is put on notice to
correct the violations noted within immediately or be subject to a fine of $500 or
the first day and $750.00 each day thereafter." Have fines been assessed? What
actions have been taken?
II
I ask you to picture any given morning Abuelo (grandfather) walking his 3yr old
grandson to school, which requires passing these blighted and dilapidated
properties. Grandfather is hard of hearing and hard of sight but uses the tools
available to him to ensure a safe walk to our son's school. He has two blocks to go
to reach Quality Time at 8101 Georgia Ave. And yet on any given day he will
face a number or hazards; un-shoveled snow, ice as a result of Fenton
Groups contractors or employees dumping snow from the adjacent parking
lot onto the side walk, untreated sidewalks with ice, trash such as beer cans
and other trash, and my least favorite poison ivy. Each time we encounter
these things we
file
a report with
311.
I wish to have
Bill 39-16
passed to ensure real action can be taken in our
community against opportunists who wish to sit on properties and wait for
the best offer to pad their pockets. Those with no regard for contributing to
the safe and thriving community we are proud members of. Thank you for
listening I and my neighbors will be looking forward to your action in the
right direction on this matter of great to concern to families and any
community members interested in clean and safe environments to promote
the success of our exceptional community.
®
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Mihill. Amanda
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Michael Messina <MMessina@afscme.org>
Wednesday, September 28, 2016 9:36 AM
County.Council@montgomerycountymd.gov
vacant homes bills
I fully support both of representative Hucker's bills regarding vacant homes. Two properties at the end of my street have
been vacant for years. Vagrants have occupied them. County firefighters have been called to extinguish fires. They are
crumbling, they are an eyesore, and they are unsafe, yet they remain standing. The time to address such an important
matter is now. Please vote to enact the proposed legislation. Thank you.
Michael Messina
752 Silver Spring Avenue
1
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Mihill. Amanda
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Mike Mowery <mikemowery@gmail.com>
Wednesday, September 28,20168:14 PM
(ounty.(ouncil@montgomerycountymd.gov
In support of Bill 38-16 and 39-16
To Whom
it
May Concern ­
I'm writing to let you know myself and my family would like to encourage you to support bills 38-16 and 39­
16. As residents of Silver Spring, on Silver Spring A venue, I pass by two abandoned/vacant properties on a
daily basis.
Bill 38-16, Housing and Building Maintenance Standards - Foreclosed Property Registration Penalty
Bill 39-16, Housing and Building Maintenance Standards - Registration of Vacant Property
Sincerely,
Mike Mowery
&
Caroline Joyce
707 Silver Spring Ave
SS, MD 20910
1
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Testimony of Francine Panzo 9106 Walden Rd. Silver Spring, MD 20901
Thank you Council Members for allowing me to testify today.
'We moved into our beautiful home on Walden Road in 2001.
We fell in love with neighborhood and appreciated the way our neighbors took care of their homes and
property including the owners of 300 E. Schuyler Road. They kept the lawn mowed and the house in
good order.
Then Mrs. Mae passed away and within 2 years so did Mr. Mae. Sadly since then the heirs to this
property have let it go downhill fast.
For the last 11 years I have had to contact the County on a monthly basis to because the grass
sometimes gets to be 2 feet high.
Now the house itself is falling apart on the exterior. One can only imagine what's going on inside the
property. The bricks on the front of the house are disintegrating and falling off. The roof is sagging, the
gutters have plants growing out of them and windows are broken.
It is clear that someone is paying for the utilities on the property because a light is always on in the
kitchen.
There are several major concerns I have with this property that I have a perfect view of on daily basis,
and both of them are public safety issues.
The first is, now that the corner of Walden and E. Schuyler have become a bus stop for high school and
elementary schools kids the house has become a very tempting place for teenagers to hang out and do
teenager things. This started to happen last year when they broke into the basement and started to
congregate with alcohol, cigarettes, etc.
The police have been called many, many times throughout the years to take investigate break-ins and
chase away potential squatters, escalating last year when the bust stop started.
The second concern is that there are several older neighbors that live right next to this property and
they are in harm's way every day because of potential fire, vandalism, and rodent and insect infestations
which are plentiful and obvious around the property.
The property values in my neighborhood have started to recover slowly but this house is a chain around
the necks of every resident near it. It is obvious that the person that owns this house has no concern for
it or care about her neighbors at all. At this point I believe this owner should be heavily penalized for the
condition of the property and the constant threat to public safety that it presents.
Again thank you for the opportunity to testify today and I hope that this bill will provide some kind of
recourse for the neighbors forced endure this growing problem throughout the County.
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BILL 39-16: HOUSING AND BUILDING MAINTENANCE STANDARDS
REGISTRATION OF VACANT PROPERTY
October 18, 2016
Testimony - Sylvie PITTMAN
IN SUPPORT OF THE BILL
1.
Thank you for the opportunity oftestifying today on this important issue and special thanks
to Councilmember Tom Hucker for sponsoring) this bill.
2. I am here today to speak about the property at 300 East Schuyler Road, Silver Spring,
MD, 20901, which is directly adjacent to my home at 302 East Schuyler Road.
3.
I have lived in my home since May 2006 - thus the house in question has been vacant for
at least 10 years, and probably closer to 12 years according to neighbors.
4. The house is completely neglected, is in total disrepair, and the yard is never
maintained. The basement door has been ajar for several months, allowing vagrants
and teenagers to enter the premises. The police have been called on multiple occasions.
The neighbors and I have systematically filed complaints with the Montgomery County
Department of Housing and Community Affairs regarding mowing/debris removal, and
illegal entry. Vermin has also been detected around the property. I have also personally
spent hundreds of dollars on tree trimming of overhanging branches on my roof and
property.
5. My concerns do not only address appearance and maintenance, however, but also my
personal safety and the safety of the neighborhood overall, and of course the negative
impact on the property values of adjacent homes.
6. Finally, I strongly believe this vacant house and others like it should be at the very least
registered, and ideally occupied. I also believe that there should be a strict timeline
imposed, limiting the duration of these housing vacancies.
7. I strongly support this bill.
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IH
Testimony on Bill 39-16, Registration of Vacant Property
Jr-
/- /
b
7.' 3
0
\~
_._,================N~ov~e~m~b~e~r=l~,2=0~1=6=_
=.=.
==============.J_.._ .... ____ _
My name is Richard Rothman. I live at 11209 Fall River Court in Potomac. I have lived there for
38 years. I am here in support of Bill 39-16.
In our neighborhood there are two vacant homes. One is located at 9314 Cranford Drive in
Potomac. This house has been vacant for over ten years. It is a custom built house that was
never completed and was never occupied. We don't know who the owner is. It is an eye sore in
the neighborhood as well as a security and safety concern. Because garage doors were not
installed, the garage was open and exposed and several years ago vagrants moved in.
Neighbors across the street became concerned and called police when they saw fires in the
garage probably being used for cooking. The vagrants were evicted and eventually garage doors
were installed.
The second vacant house is at 9108 Marseille Drive in Potomac. It is directly behind my house.
This house has been vacant for about 15 months. The owner moved out and left the house in
terrible condition. There is a plastic tarp on the roof in an attempt to mitigate leaks into the
house. The gutters, soffits, and fascia boards have fallen off in many places exposing the
underside of the roof. Weeds and tall grass have grown up around the house. In short, the
house is a neighborhood eye sore and poses the same security and safety concerns as the
house on Cranford Drive.
I support Bill 39-16 because it will provide a registry where owners of vacant homes can be
identified and hopefully, penalties applied, if they fail to maintain their house in a safe and
secure manner.
Thank you.
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Kathlin Smith and Bernard Van Leer
742
Silver Spring Avenue
Silver Spring, MD
20910
October
7, 2016
Council President Nancy Floreen
and Members of the Council
100
Maryland Avenue, Fifth Floor
Rockville, MD
20850
Dear Council President Floreen and Members of the Council,
We are writing to express our strong support for bills
38-16
(Foreclosed Property Registration
Penalty) and
39-16
(Registration of Vacant Property). We cannot be there to testify in person
but ask that you add this written testimony to the record.
For years, we and our neighbors have complained about two abandoned homes at
812
and
814
Silver Spring Avenue. One
(812)
has a very large hole in the roof, allowing rain and snow to
accumulate, likely weakening the structure. Windows and doors have been periodically
boarded and then unboarded. Squatters have lived there at various points. And a few years
ago, a fire broke out. Any of these situations-structural failure, vagrants, and fire-pose
serious risk to neighboring homes. How can these conditions be allowed to persist? Who would
be responsible if others' property were damaged or injury occurred as a result of this neglect?
We would like to add that there is a further hazard posed by some neglected properties, and
that is when trees have become diseased and weakened, and abut neighboring properties. We
hope that the inspection of vacant buildings might also include a check on the health of any
large trees on the property, especially if a complaint has been registered.
Bills
38-16
and
39-16,
if passed, would make it easier for the County to identify who is
responsible for abandoned or neglected buildings, and would reduce the number of such
buildings by mandating inspections and requiring owners to pay fees for inaction.
We thank Councilmember Hucker for introducing these bills and Councilmembers Berliner,
Leventhal, and Navarro for their cosponsorship. We urge the Council to vote for them-for the
sake of our neighborhood and for countless other neighborhoods in the County.
Sincerely,
J~1)4tu~
Kathlin Smith
Bernard VanLeer
Bernard Van Leer
@
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Mihill. Amanda
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Laura <Iveamazon@aol.com>
Tuesday, September 27, 2016 9:04
PM
County.Council@montgomerycountymd.gov
Vacant houses in the County
Dear Council Members,
I am writing to ask you to support Tom Hucker's legislation addressing the problems of vacant and foreclosed homes in
our communities. As a former employee of Fannie Mae who worked on affordable housing issues for many years, I can
attest that this problem needs to be solved for communities to survive and recover. Please support his two bills which will
provide new tools for the County to address these important issues.
Thank you,
Laura Van Etten
1
®
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Mihill. Amanda
From:
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Louis Wilen <Iouiswilen@gmail.com>
Friday, September 23, 2016 5:56 PM
Cou nty.Cou nciI@montgomerycountymd.gov
SUPPORT: Bills 38-16 and 39-16
Dear Councilmembers:
Please vote in favor of bills 38-16 and 39-16. These laws are needed
to reduce the quantity of dilapidated homes in Montgomery County.
These new laws will also spur property owners to put unused homes on the market, which will reduce the housing
shortage in Montgomery County.
Thank you for considering my views.
Louis Wilen
Olney, Maryland
301-551-3636
1
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MONTGOMERY COUNTY COUNCIL
ROCKVILLE, MARYLAND
TOM HUCKER
COUNCILMEMBER
DISTRICT 5
MEMORANDUM
TO:
Councilmember Nancy Floreen, Chair, PHED Committee
Councilmember George Leventhal, Member, PHED Committee
Councilmember Hans Riemer, Member, PHED Committees
Councilmember Tom Hucker
Amendment to Bill 39-16, Housing and Building Maintenance Standards
- Registration of Vacant Property
March 22,2016
FROM:
SUBJECT:
DATE:
Since I introduced Bill 39-16 in the fall, the Office of the County Attorney and the Department
of Housing have raised a number ofconcems and suggested improvements to this bill.
~CA's
concerns are mostly technical in nature as they deal with various definitions and conflicting
provisions. DHCA's concerns are more substantive as they are related to privacy and public
access to the registry.
In response to these concerns, I have asked Council staff to draft the following amendment. The
technical portion of the amendment clarifies many of the definitions and make it clear that this
bill applies to condominiums. The substantive portion of the amendment eliminates the registry
requirement and simply requires DHCA to designate unmaintained vacant properties. I have also
included a reporting requirement in the amendment, so that the Council can be better informed of
the size and scope of this problem during budget deliberations.
Thank you in advance for your consideration of this amendment. Please feel free to call me or
my staff if you have any questions or concerns.
STELLA B. WERNER COUNCIL OFFICE BUILDING • 100 MARYLAND AVENUE, 6'" FLOOR • ROCKVILLE, MARYLAND 20850
240-777-7960
OR
240-777-7900 • MD RELAY - DIAL 711 • FAX 240/777-7989
COUNCILMEMBER.HUCKER@MONTGOMERYCOUNTYMD.GOV • WWW.MONTGOMERYCOUNTYMD.GOV
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AMENDMENT
To Bill 39-16
BY COUNCILMEMBER HUCKER
Beginning on page
5,
lines 108-115, amend heading and add paragraph
(b)
to Section
26-24
to
read:
1
2
[[26-23]] 26-24. Fees.
[[(ill]]
Ca)
Fees.
The County Executive must set one or more fees
.Qy
regulation
3
4
under Method
m
The fee must increase for larger numbers of
inspections performed that the Director determines are necessary to
ensure compliance with this Section.
5
6
[[(Q)
A vacant building owned
.Qy
the County or its instrumentalities must
comply with the registration requirement of Section 26-21, but is not
subject to any fees required in paragraph
hl]1
!!i}
7
8
9
Lien.
Any unpaid fee under this Article constitutes a lien on the property
and may be collected in the same manner as taxes are collected.
10
f:\law\bills\1639 registration of vacant property\hucker council amendment.docx
1
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Agenda Item 5B
May 2,2017
Action
MEMORANDUM
April 28, 2017
TO:
FROM:
SUBJECT:
County Council
Amanda Mihill, Legislative
Attomey~kL,t.i
'"
Action:
Bill 39-16, Housing and Building Maintenance Standards - Registration
of Vacant Property
Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee recommendation
(3-0): enact
Bill 39-16 with the following amendments:
• remove the requirement for a registry, but require DHCA to provide annual reports on
the Department's activities related to unmaintained vacant dwellings;
• clarify that condominiums are within the scope of the bill;
• make technical amendments to the bill.
Bill 39-16, Housing and Building Maintenance Standards - Registration of Vacant Property,
. sponsored by Lead Sponsor Councilmember Hucker and Co-Sponsors Councilmembers Leventhal
and Navarro, then-Vice President Berliner, Councilmembers EIrich, Riemer, and Rice, and then­
Council President F10reen, was introduced on September
20,2016.
A public hearing was held on
November 1. Select testimony and correspondence in on ©21-59. A Planning, Housing and
Economic Development Committee worksession was held on March 28.
Bill 39-16 would:
require owners of certain unmaintained vacant buildings to register those vacant
buildings with the Director of the Department of Housing and Community
Affairs;
require owners of certain unmaintained vacant buildings to pay certain fees;
require inspections for certain unmaintained vacant buildings; and
generally amend County law on housing and building maintenance standards.
Additional background materials from Lead Sponsor Hucker is attached on ©8.
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Issues/Committee Recommendations
The testimony and correspondence that the Council has received on this issue has been generally
supportive. However, a few issues have been raised, which are addressed below.
1.
Should Councilmemher Hucker's amendments he adopted?
After Bill 39-16 was introduced,
Councilmember Hucker developed a series of amendments to the bill to address concerns raised.
The Department of Housing and Community Affairs (DHCA) raised substantive concerns related
to privacy and public access to the proposed registry. Specifically, DHCA staff felt it was ill­
advised to create a real-time list of vacant houses throughout the County since that list would then
be subject to the Maryland Public Information Act. (Council staff notes that the State Foreclosure
Registry, per the law that created the Registry, is not subject to the Public Information Act.). The
Office ofthe County Attorney also raised concerns, though those are more technical and clarifying
in nature.
In response, Councilmember Hucker developed a set of amendments to Bill 39-16. A
memorandum explaining the amendments is on ©60 (attachment excluded).
Committee
recommendation (3-0):
The Committee believed that Councilmember Hucker's amendment
struck a good balance between addressing the needs of communities to deal with unmaintained
properties and the privacy, security, and clarifying issues raised by Executive staff and
recommended adopting Councilmember Hucker's amendments.
Council staff understands that DHCA does not object to the bill, but questioned whether the bill
will accomplish the sponsor's intent to incentivize owners of vacant properties to rehabilitate
and/or sell the properties. There is no question that further work needs to be done to address vacant,
abandoned, and/or unmaintained properties throughout the County. Council staff does believe that
this bill is a beneficial step to take.
2. Should Bill
38-16
apply to vacant properties in condominium communities?
Vicki Vergagni,
on behalf of Glen Waye Gardens, opposed Bill 39-16 because, as introduced, it was unclear as to
whether the bill applied to condominiums (©22-26.
It
was the sponsor's intent to include vacant
condominiums within the scope of the bill. The Committee-recommended bill clarifies that vacant
condominiums are within the scope of the bill (see ©2, lines 18-19).
3. Should there he a 2-"year grace period/or foreclosures?
As introduced, and under the Hucker
amendment, Bill 39-16 would not apply to property that is the subject of a probate proceeding or
the title is the subject of litigation (including foreclosure proceedings) for up to 24 months (©3,
lines 44-46). The Hillandale Citizens Association urged that the bill be amended to apply to
property in foreclosure proceedings (©32-33).
According to the sponsor, this provision was added because including property owners going
through foreclosure within the scope of the bill would add more hardship to an already difficult
situation. This is certainly a balancing act. One potential option is to reduce the length oftime that
exempts these properties from 24 months to 12 months. The Committee did not recommend any
changes to Bill 39-16 on this issue.
2
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4. Are additional exemptions/or construction-related activities necessary?
Bill 39-16, and the
amendment proposed by Councilmember Hucker, would exempt properties that are "under active
construction or undergoing active rehabilitation, renovation, or repair, and there is a building
permit to make the building fit for occupancy that was issued, renewed, or extended within 12
months of the registration date" (©3, lines 39-43). Additionally, the bill would exempt, for 12
months, property that is the subject of "a pending application for a necessary approval of
development before the Planning Board, Board ofAppeals, or Office ofZoning and Administrative
Hearings" (©5, lines 95-98). Larry Cafritz argued that the bill should broaden its exemptions for
construction related activities to exempt properties "planned for demolition" or under "active
pursuit of utility disconnects for razing, active application for subdivision or zoning approval, or
of demolition, building or other related permits or issuance of such permits" (©35-37).
It
would be challenging to implement a law based on an actor's intent and therefore does not
recommend exempting properties "planned for demolition" within 18-24 months. The Committee­
recommended bill specifies that properties are exempt if they are under active construction or
undergoing active rehabilitation, renovation, repair, or demolition, or under a building permit to
make the building fit for occupancy or be demolished (©3, lines 39-43). Council staff notes that
under the Committee-recommended bill, which replaces the "registry" with an annual reporting
requirement, that in and of itself addresses some of the issues that Mr. Cafritz raises.
NEW ISSUE
At the Council session, Councilmember Hucker intends to offer an amendment that would specify
that any unpaid fee imposed for violations of Bill 39-16 is a lien on the property and is collected
in the same manner as taxes (see ©61). This will provide an additional tool for DHCA to enforce
Bill 39-16.
This packet contains:
Committee Bill 39-16
Legislative Request Report
Sponsor materials
Fiscal and Economic Impact statement
Select testimony and correspondence
Hucker PHED memorandum (attachment excluded)
Hucker Council amendment
Circle #
1
7A
8
14
21
60
61
F:\LA w\BILLS\1639 Registration Of Vacant Property\Action Memo.Docx
3
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Bill No.
39-16
Concerning: Housing
and
Building
Maintenance
Standards
Reg istration of Vacant Property
Revised:
4/24/2016
Draft No.
~
Introduced:
September 20.2016
Expires:
March 20. 2018
Enacted: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Executive: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Effective: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Sunset Date: ---'-!.No:::<.:n"""e'--_ _ _ _ __
Ch. _ _ Laws of Mont. Co. _ __
I
COUNTY COUNCIL
FOR MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MARYLAND
Lead Sponsor: Councilmember Hucker
Co-Sponsors: Councilmembers Leventhal and Navarro, Vice President Berliner, Councilmembers
Eirich, Riemer, and Rice, and Council President Floreen
AN
ACT to:
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)
require [[owners of certain unmaintained vacant buildings to register those vacant
buildings with]] the Director of the Department of Housing and Community Affairs
to identifY unmaintained vacant dwellings;
require owners of certain unmaintained vacant buildings to pay certain fees;
require inspections for certain unmaintained vacant buildings; and
generally amend County law on housing and building maintenance standards.
By adding
Montgomery County Code
Chapter 26, Housing and Building Maintenance Standards
[[Article I, General
Article II, Registration of Vacant Property
Sections 26-19,26-20,26-21,26-22,26-23, and 26-24]]
Article III. Unmaintained Vacant Property
Sections 26-20. 26-21. 26-22. 26-23. 26-24. 26-25. and 26-26
Boldface
Underlining
[Single boldface brackets]
Double underlining
[[Double boldface brackets]]
* * *
Heading or defined term.
Added to existing law by original bill.
Deletedfrom existing law by original bill.
Addedby amendment.
Deletedfrom existing law or the bill by amendment.
Existim! law unaffected bv bill.
The County Council for Montgomery County, Maryland approves the following Act:
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BILL
No. 39-16
1
2
Sec.
1.
Chapter 26 is amended
by
adding [[Articles I and II (Sections
26-19, 26-20, 26-21, 26-22, 26-23, and 26-24)]] Article
lIT
(Sections 26-20. 26-21.
26-22. 26-23. 26-24. 26-25. and 26-26) as follows:
Article I. General.
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4
5
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*
*
*
Article ITI. [[Registration
!ill]
Unmaintained Vacant Property.
[[26-19]] 26-20. Definitions.
In this Article, the following terms have the meanings indicated:
Department
means the Department of Housing and Community Affairs.
Director
means the Director of the Department or the Director's designee.
[[Dwelling unit
has the same meaning as in Section 26-2.]]
Fit/or occupancy
means ready for immediate occupancy
[[Qy
~
tenant without
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more than minor cosmetic changes]] as a residence.
Occupied
means the use of one's dwelling as a residence
[rill
improved real
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16
property]] on
~
regular basis.
Public nuisance
has the same meaning as in Section 26-2.
Vacant [[building]] dwelling
means residential real property improved
Qy
~
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dwelling which is not occupied. A vacant dwelling includes a unit in a
condominium. A [[buildingll dwelling is only
~
vacant [[building]] dwelling
if the Director determines that there is no resident for which an intent to return
and occupy the [[buildingl1 dwelling can be shown. To determine whether
dwelling is vacant, the Director must consider:
~
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ill
ill
ill
ill
past due utility notices and/or disconnected utilities;
accumulated mail;
no window covering;
no furniture observable;
open accessibility;
ru
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of
vacant property\bill1 0 committee.doc
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BILL
No. 39-16
28
29
®
ill
deferred maintenance; and
the dwelling is boarded up.
~
30
Unmaintained vacant [[building]] dwelling
means
vacant [[building]]
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dwelling not maintained as required
121
Chapter 26, Article
L
[[Visual blight
has the same meaning as in Section 26-2.]]
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[[26-20]] 26-21. Applicability.
This Article does not
illm1Y
to any real property that is
(ill
owned by:
ill
the government ofthe United States or its instrumentalities;
the State of Maryland or its instrumentalities; or
~
m
ill
(hl
under
foreign government or its instrumentalities;
active
construction
or
undergoing
active
rehabilitation,
~
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renovation,
[[Qrll
repair. or demolition, [[and there is]] or under
building permit to make the building fit for occupancy or to be
demolished [[that was issued, renewed, or extended within 12 months of
the registration
date]]~
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(£)
for
~
period not to exceed 24 months, the subject of
~
probate
proceeding or the title is the subject of litigation, including
~
foreclosure
proceeding; or
47
@
maintained as required
121
Chapter 26, Article
L
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49
[[26-21.
Registration
of
unmaintained
vacant
buildings;
inspection;
notification]] 26-22. Designation of unmaintained vacant dwellings; inspection.
(ill
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[[Building maintenance required.
The owner of
~
vacant building must
maintain the building as required by Chapter 26, Article
L
®
(£)
Unmaintained vacant buildings registry.
The Department must maintain
~
list ofunmaintained vacant buildings.
Registration required.
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1639
registration of vacant property\bill
10
committee.doc
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BILL
No. 39-16
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ill
Within 90 days after
~
building becomes an unmaintained vacant
building, the owner must register the building and
~
the
registration fee required in Section 26-23. An owner must renew
~
registration annually from the date of initial registration unless
there is
~
change in ownership.
ill]]
The Director must identify [[nonregistered]] unmaintained vacant
[[Quilding]] dwellings throughout the County. The Director must
notify the owner in writing that the owner's [[Quilding]] dwelling
has been designated as an unmaintained vacant [[Quildingl1
dwelling
and
of the
owner's
right
to
[[appeal]]
seek
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reconsideration of this designation and appeal the decision under
Section 26-25.
[[@]]
!l1l
Inspections required.
ill
Inspections required.
ensure that:
(A)
The
Director
must
inspect
every
unmaintained vacant [[Quilding]] dwelling at least annually to
the [[Quilding]] dwelling complies with all applicable laws,
including Chapter 26, Article
t
and
.Qi}
vacancy of the [[building]] dwelling is not;
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ill
(ii)
detrimental to the public health, safety, and welfare;
~
hazard to police officers or fIrefIghters entering the
[[Quilding]] dwelling in an emergency; or
(iii)
~
public nuisance.
[[~]]
ill
Additional inspections authorized.
The Director may inspect
an unmaintained vacant [[building]] dwelling more often than
annually to ensure compliance with this Article.
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BILL
No. 39-16
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[[ill
County notification.
The Director of the Department of Finance must
notify all property owners of the requirements of this Article at the same
time as the Director notifies property owners of any real property taxes
due.]]
[[26-22]] 26-23. Exemptions.
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ill
The Director may grant an exemption from the [[registration]]
requirement in Section [[26-2
U]
26-22 for any real property that is:
ill
in compliance with [[26-21]] 26-22(a) and the property owner
has been actively seeking in good faith to rent
[[QfJ]
or sell the
property if:
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.cAl
the time period for sale or rent does not exceed
1
year from
the initial listing, offer, or advertisement of sale or rent of
~
residential building; and
.em
ill
for
~
the building has
~
valid certificate of occupancy;
period not to exceed 12 months, the subject of
~
pending
~
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application for
necessary approval for development before the
Planning Board, Board of Appeals, or Office of Zoning and
Administrative Hearings; or
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ill
(hl
for
~
period not to exceed 24 months, the subject of [[an
inheritance]] a probate proceeding.
The cumulative time period that
~
vacant [[building]] dwelling may be
exempted from this Article must not exceed
J
years.
{£}
An
application for an exemption [[from the registration requirement]]
must be made on
~
form the Director prescribes.
@
A person that believes the Director has incorrectly denied the person's
application for an exemption may appeal that decision [[according
!Q]]
under Section [[26-24]] 26-25.
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BILL
No. 39-16
108
[[26-23]] 26-24. Fees.
[[{ill]]
The County Executive must set one or more fees
Qy
regulation under
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Method
@
The fee must increase for larger numbers of inspections
performed that the Director determines are necessary to ensure
compliance with this Section.
[[(hl
A vacant building owned
Qy
the County or its instrumentalities must
comply with the registration requirement of Section 26-21, but is not
subject to any fees required in paragraph
illb]]
[[26-24]] 26-25. Right to appeal.
W
Within 10 days after the [[designation of an owner's building as
~]]
Director sends written notice that an owner's property has been
designated as an unmaintained vacant [[building]] dwelling, the owner
may petition the Director for reconsideration
Qy
filing the form
prescribed
Qy
the Director. Within 30 days after receiving the petition,