Bill No.
39-16
Concerning: Housing
and
Building
Maintenance
Standards
Registration of Vacant Property
Revised:
5/2/2017
Draft No.
-ll.
Introduced:
September 20.2016
Enacted:
May 2. 2017
Executive:
May 12.2017
Aug ust 11. 2017
Effective:
Sunset Date:
-!....!:No~n~e'---
_ _ _ __
Ch, _1_1_, Laws of Mont. Co.
2017
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 ofVacant 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, 26-23.76-24,26-25,
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.
Added by 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
Sec.
1.
Chapter 26 is amended
by
adding [[Articles I and
H
(Sections
26-19,26-20,26-21,26-22,26-23, and 26-24)]] Article
HI
(Sections 26-20. 26-21,
26-22. 26-23. 26-24, 26-25. and 26-26) as follows:
Article I. General.
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
*
*
*
Article.J..!l: [[RC2istration
2fI]
Unmaintained Vacant Property.
([26-19]] 26-20. Definitions.
In
this Article, the following tenns have the meanings indicated:
Department
means the Department of Housing and Community Affairs.
Director
means the Director ofthe 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 [[by
~
tenant without
more than minor cosmetic changes]] as a
residenc~
Occupied
means the use of one's 9welling as a residence [[in improved real
property]] on
~
regular basis.
Public nuisance
has the same meaning as in Section 26-2.
Vacant [(building]] dwelling
means residential real property improved
Qy
~
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
dwelling which is not occupied. L-vacant dwelling includes. a unit in a
mruLOl11i.nium. A [[buildingl] dwelling is only
~
vacant [[building]] dwelling
20
21
if the Director detennines that there is no resident for which an intent to return
and occupy the [[building]] dwelling can be shown. To detennine whether
dwelling
is
vacant, the Director must consider:
~
22
23
24
ill
past due utility notices and/or disconnected utilities;
accumulated mail;
no window covering;
no furniture observable;
open accessibility;
-2­
25
26
27
ill
ill
ffi
ill
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BILL
No.
39-16
28
(Q)
deferred maintenance; and
the dwelling is boarded
!:ill.:.
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
ill
Unmaintained vacant
([building))
@Jelling
means
~
vacant [[building]]
dwellin..,g not maintained as required
by
Chapter 26, Article
L
[[Visual blight
has the same meaning as in Section 26-2.]]
[[26-20]] 26-21. Applicability.
This Article does not.@I?ly to any real property that is
W
owned by:
ill
ill
ill
{hl
under
the government of the United States or its instrumentalities;
the State ofMaryland or its instrumentalities; or
~
foreign government or its instrumentalities;
active
construction
or
undergoing
active
rehabilitation.
~
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
renovation, ([or)) repair. or demolitionc.1 [[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]];
~
for
~
period not to exceed 24 months, the subject of
~
probate
proceeding or the title is the subject of litigation, including
~
foreclosure
proceeding; or
46
47
48
@
[[26-21.
maintained as required
by
Chapter 26, Article
L
Registration
of
unmaintained
vacant
buildings;
inspection;
49
notification]] 26-22. Designation of unmaintained vacant dwellings; inspection.
50
51
52
53
54
W
{hl
[[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 of unmaintained vacant buildings.
~
Registration required.
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BILL
No.
39-16
55
56
57
58
59
60
ill
Within 90 days after
f!
building becomes an unmaintained vacant
building, the owner must register the building and
Pf!Y
the
registration fee required in Section 26-23.
An
owner must renew
f!
registration annually from the date of initial registration unless
there is
f!
change in ownership.
ill]]
The Director must identify [[nonregistered]) unmaintained vacant
[[building]] dwellings
thro~bout
61
62
63
64
the County. The Director must
notify the owner in writing that the owner's [[building]] dwelling
has been designated as an unmaintained vacant [[building]]
dwelling and
of the owner's
right to
[[appeal]]
se~k
65
66
67
reconsideration of this designation and appeal the decision under
Section 26-25.
[[@]]
LtU
Inspections required
68
69
ill
Inspections
required
The
Director
must
inspect
every
unmaintained vacant [[building]) dwelling at least annually to
ensure that:
(A)
the [[building]) dwelling complies with all applicable laws,
including Chapter 26, Article
t
and
70
71
72
73
ill)
vacancy of the [[building]] dwelling is not;
74
75
76
ill
(ii)
detrimental to the public health, safety, and welfare;
f!
hazard to police officers or firefighters entering the
[[building]] dwelling in an emergency; or
77
(iii)
f!
public nuisance.
78
79
ill
Additional inspections authorized.
The Director may inspect
[[f!])
~Ulllllilintainec!
vacant [[building]] dwelling more often than
80
annually to ensure compliance with this Article.
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BILL
No.
39-16
81
82
83
[[W
County notification.
The Director of the Department of Finance must
notifY all propertY owners of the requirements ofthis Article at the same
time as the Director notifies propertY owners of any real property taxes
due.]]
[[26-22]]
Z6-23.
Exemptions.
84
85
86
87
W
The Director may grant an exemption from the [[registration]]
requirement in Section [[26-21)) 26-22 for any real property that is:
88
89
ill
in compliance with [(26-21]] 26-22(a) and the property owner
has been actively seeking in good faith to rent Ho!]]
property if:
CA)
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
(ill
or
sell the
90
91
92
93
94
95
the building has
~
valid certificate of occupancy;
~
ill
for
period not to exceed 12 months, the subject of
~
pending
~
96
97
98
99
application for
necessary approval for development before the
Planning Board, Board of Appeals. or Office of Zoning and
Administrative Hearings; or
ill
{Q}
for
~
period not to exceed 24 months, the subject of [[an
100
101
102
103
104
105
106
107
inheritance]] a probate proceeding.
The cumulative time period that
~
vacant [[building)) dwelling may be
exempted from this Article must not exceed
J
years.
if}
@
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]]
~
Section [[26-24]] 26-25.
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BILL
No.
39-16
108
109
110
111
112
113
114
115
116
117
118
119
120
121
122
123
124
125
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127
128
129
130
131
132
133
[[26-23]] 26-24.
Fees;
lien.
[[!ill]]
(a)
Fees.
The County Executive must set one or more fees
Qy
regulation
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.
[[lhl
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
hlll
!l2l
Lien.
Any unpaidfee under this Article constitutes a lien on the proper!)::
and may be collected in the same manner as taxes are collected.
[[26-24]] 26-25. Right to appeal.
!ill
Within 10 days after the [[designation of an owner's building as
~]]
Director sends written notice that an owner's property has. been
designated~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 fmal determination.
lhl
Any person aggrieved
Qy
[[an]] a designation or
OQ1ke~mal
action of
the Director under this Article may, within [[ 10 days after receiving]] 15
days after the Director
se~
written notice of the action, appeal that
action to the Circuit Court under the Maryland Rules of Procedure for
judicial review of
~
final administrative agency decision. An appeal
does not stay the Director's action. A party aggrieved by the decision of
tlliLCircuit Court may appeal that decision to the Court of Special
Appeals.
26-26. Annual report.
-6­
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BILL
No.
39-16
134
135
136
137
138
139
140
141
142
143
By March 1. 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:
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;
au
l£)
the number of citations issued
to
each property owner during the prior
calendar year: and
(g)
the amount of fees collected from each property ()wnerduring the prior
calendar year.
-7­
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BILL
No.
39-16
Approved:
date
Linda M. Lauer, Clerk ofthe
COlUlCil
- 8­