City councilor pushing plan to foreclose on problem properties

Instead of waiting years and giving warning after warning for people to fix up their rundown and vacant homes, one city councilor has had enough of that game.

Diane Gibson wants the city to start taking those homes away, foreclosing on them to establish a land bank, meaning the city would be in the business of owning problem homes and buildings.

It’s one of many recommendations in a new 50-page study on the nuisance property issue.

“These would be on the list of the most problematic [properties], where no one’s been living in the house for some time,” Gibson said.

Next up, city council would have to sign off on a task force that would come up with a plan, which would then go back to city council. The study recommends the city foreclose on 10 to 15 houses in the first year of the program.

“Excellent. Maybe if we could get it torn down and make it an empty lot even would be better than leaving it a dilapidated house,” Thomas Cole of Albuquerque said about the abandoned property in his neighborhood near Constitution and Louisiana.

Councilor Gibson said it’s also a way to compel property owners to repay outstanding code liens or fix up their property.

“We haven’t done a really good job in keeping track of the liens that we put on properties,” Gibson explained. 

According to a land bank feasibility study, the city has failed to collect millions of dollars in fines and housing code liens over the years.

Councilor Gibson hopes to bring her resolution to city council before June. The task force would cost $25,000.

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