Vacant and Boarded Buildings

Why This Is Important

Vacant and boarded buildings negatively affect the safety and livability of the City's neighborhoods. They frequently become havens for criminal activity and contribute to blight and reduced property values. The longer a building remains in the City's vacant building registration program, the more likely it is to experience serious decline such as copper theft, fire and general disrepair. This results in more costly repairs to properly rehabilitate it in the future. In addition, monitoring and managing vacant and boarded buildings require a high amount of staff time and resources that could be used for other functions. Finally, a vacant property has a huge opportunity cost because it is a valuable asset that could be used for housing or other economic activity. To maintain our quality housing stock, it is in the best interest of everyone to work collectively to move the property back into the housing market as fast as possible and remove any blighting influence.

What's Being Done

The City of Minneapolis is focused on many fronts in finding ways to encourage property owners to not allow their buildings to become vacant. Significant efforts are under way to keep property owners in their homes through foreclosure prevention efforts. In addition, the City requires owners to register vacant buildings through Minneapolis' Vacant Building Registration program. Registration requires that the property owner pay a substantive fee, which has increased from $2,000 annually to $6,000. To minimize the economic impact and provide an incentive for rehabilitation, the City also adopted a "waiver" provision, which permits owners to postpone payment of the fee if they agree to enter into a Restoration Agreement with the City and bring the property up to code in a timely manner. The City has three main regulatory business processes that directly impact whether a property is rehabbed or demolished. They include:

  • Code Compliance - which requires all condemned properties to be brought up to all current codes before a certificate of occupancy can be issued.
  • Emergency Demolition - which uses the City's regulatory authority to order emergency demolitions of properties that pose an immediate hazard to public safety.
  • Nuisance Declaration and Abatement (249 Ordinance) - which is used to determine when a property should be declared a nuisance and abated through demolition or rehabilitation.

In addition, the Community Planning and Economic Development Department plays a role in fostering rehabilitation of existing housing and demolition of properties in preparation for future development opportunities. When necessary, the City also acquires blighted or potentially blighted properties.

About This Measure

A vacant building (one required to be registered as vacant with the City) should meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Condemned, requiring a code compliance inspection.
  • Unoccupied and unsecured for five days or more.
  • Unoccupied and secured by means other than those normally used in the design of the building for 30 days or more.
  • Unoccupied with multiple housing maintenance, fire or building code violations existing for 30 days or more.
  • Unoccupied more than 365 days with an order having been issued to correct a nuisance condition pursuant to section 227.90.

Boarded buildings are properties that have been boarded either by the City because they were open to trespass, by the police or fire department or by an owner in order to secure a property. A property that has three or more openings boarded for more than 60 days will be condemned by the City.

The chart includes all properties registered as vacant with the City. Previous years reflect the number at the end of each year.

Last updated Feb 26, 2013

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