Atlanta Building News
December 13, 2011

Atlanta City Council Approves Vacant Property Registration Ordinance

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Atlanta City Council Approves Vacant Property Registration Ordinance

On December 5, the Atlanta City Council voted 14-0 to approve an ordinance requiring owners of vacant residential property to register with the City’s Office of Code Enforcement.

The ordinance applies to residential structures in which occupancy has ceased for more than 30 days. Owners of such properties must pay an annual registration fee of $100, file a registration statement with the Office of Code Enforcement that includes the name and contact information for each owner as well as an agent authorized by the owner or owners to receive notices of code violations, and post a sign affixed to the vacant structure containing this information.

Agents must have an office or residence that is located in the City of Atlanta. Owners who meet this location requirement may designate themselves as agents.

The ordinance exempts owners of residential rental property in which at least one unit is occupied and owners of seasonally vacant property, defined as occupied for a period of at least three months within the previous nine months and in which the owner intends to resume residing at the property.

Council member Joyce Shepperd, prime sponsor of the ordinance, agreed to an amendment to exempt owners of vacant condominium units from the registration requirement. Without this amendment, condo owners could have been placed in a legal conundrum had they been served with notices of code violation occurring on common areas. In such cases, satisfying the violation would likely violate the Georgia Condominium Act and their contract with their condo association. Adhering to the contract could have placed them in criminal jeopardy with the city. This amendment saves owners of vacant condo units over $100 per year in registration and related costs.

The registration requirement becomes effective on February 1, 2012.  Owners with a duty to register will have until April 1, 2012, to do so.

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