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  • Vacant Property Registry
    There are approximately 1,800 vacant non-seizable properties within the City of Syracuse ranging in use from residential to religious. To live next to a vacant property is often times to live next to a breeding ground for nuisance and crime. Vacant structures impact the value of nearby property. These vacant properties are not only a blight on the neighborhoods, but the city in its entirety. It’s well past due to address these eyesores left by owners to sit unoccupied and deteriorate. The City is trying to creatively use all the tools available to address this issue, such as efforts through the Greater Syracuse Property Development Corporation, otherwise known as the land bank, investments in rehabilitation and demolition and through the Vacant Property Registry. Although it is nearly impossible to eradicate all vacant properties plaguing the City, this administration has made this a priority and is dedicated to putting in the best effort to control and reduce the number of vacant properties in this City.
    What is the Vacant Property Registry?
    As of April 16th, 2013, Mayor Stephanie A. Miner signed and passed an ordinance requiring owners of vacant properties with exterior code violations to register. The goal of the Vacant Property Registry (VPR) is to reduce blight in neighborhoods and to motivate owners of dilapidated properties to do one of three things: A.) Rehabilitate and reoccupy, B.) Stabilize and maintain, or C.) Demolish with private funds. If the owner choses option A, they will have to submit a rehabilitation plan that will include a timeframe that it will be completed, no longer than 365 days after successfully registering their property. Should the owner choose option B, they will need to submit a plan for securing the building that meets the City’s maintenance standards along with a reason why they wish to keep the building vacant. Option C, would allow the owner to start the demolition process to completely remove the blighted structures using their own funds. Owners will need to register annually, and properties that remain vacant are subject to an escalating fee schedule (see table below).
    Why the Vacant Property Registry?
    2/3 of all vacant buildings in the city are tax-current and can’t be addressed by the City’s more aggressive tax collection efforts for transfer to the land bank. The Vacant Property Registry will encourage owners to take responsibility for their properties by getting them reoccupied, selling them to someone who will, or demolishing them if they are not salvageable. Properties that cannot find a productive use in the short term will be better maintained, preventing further deterioration, and preserving them for a future use.
    Why the fee?
    The City is currently not reimbursed for the cost of periodically inspecting vacant properties, a task which costs the Division of Code Enforcement in excess of $400,000 per year. The fee is critical to encouraging owners to put their properties back into productive use, comply with the building codes, and to discourage real estate speculation and negligence.
    Property Type Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Each
    Plan A or C
    (rehab or demo)
    $100 If no extension is granted,
    then the maximum fee for the
    relevant property type will be
    charged each subsequent year.
    1-3 unit residential $250 $500 $750 $1,000
    4-6 unit residential $500 $1,000 $1,500 $2,000
    7+ unit residential $250/unit $500/unit $750/unit $1,000/unit
    (whichever is greater)
    $.05/sq. ft.
    $.10/sq. ft.
    $.15/sq. ft.
    $.20/sq. ft.
    While other communities charge a flat fee for all property types, by tying the fee to the size of the property Syracuse’s fee schedule is designed to have a measurable impact on commercial and larger properties, without placing an undue burden on the owners of smaller vacant properties. Since larger vacant properties are typically higher-value properties, this will ensure that the fee influences owners’ development plans, encouraging them to actively market the property. This proposal of escalating fees tied to the type of property is based on the experience of Vacant Property Registration administrators in Binghamton, Albany, and Newburgh. Furthermore, properties with no exterior code violations will not be required to register at all, and won’t be subject to the fee.
    Apply for periodic inspections button
    To report a vacant property, please visit the web portal here.
    To obtain a copy of the Vacant Property Registration, please click here or visit the Division of Code Enforcement at 201 East Washington Street, City Hall Commons, Syracuse, NY, Room 312.
    For a copy of a Trespass Affidavit for your vacant property, please click here.
    For the Syracuse Property Conservation Code, please click here.
    For more information, you can contact us by phone at (315) 448-8689 or by email at  
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