SEATTLE - The City of Seattle on Saturday started new stricter enforcement and fines on vacant properties in the city.
The changes took effect on June 1st.
Officials say they add a wider range of properties to the city’s Vacant Building Monitoring Program.
Officials say they had about 100 vacant buildings on the list, with the new changes that number jumps up to 1,200 vacant buildings.
“Unfortunately, just about every neighborhood in the city has their experience with a vacant building,” said Bryan Stevens.
Stevens works with Seattle’s Department of Construction and Inspection.
He says between 2016 and 2017 there was a dramatic increase in complaints about vacant buildings. Some of the issues include unauthorized entry, accumulation of junk, public safety issues like fires, rodent infestations, and criminal activity.
The city is cracking down with stricter enforcement requirements, more frequent inspections, and higher fees.
Now, properties in development that include a vacant building will be included in the city’s Vacant Building Monitoring Program.
These vacant buildings will be inspected.
There are three fee tiers for inspections:
Vacant but no violations: $261.40
Vacant with violations but not open to entry: $435
Vacant and open to entry: $521.75
These fees are three percent higher than before, Stevens said.
The properties must pass three consecutive monthly inspections before they are removed from the Vacant Building Monitoring Program.
Owners in violation will receive a notice to make the corrections.
Stevens says if no change is made the owners could face fines of $150 per day for ten days. After ten days, the fees increase to $500 per day.
“Hopefully it’ll create a lot more incentives for the property owners,” said Stevens.