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May 23, 2015

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NLV council wants to further tweak home-upkeep rules

Updated Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012 | 9:34 a.m.

The North Las Vegas City Council withdrew a proposed vacant homes maintenance ordinance from consideration Wednesday to make further adjustments.

The proposed ordinance is designed to help the city reduce its collection of deteriorating vacant homes by forcing lenders to register foreclosed homes with the city. The city initially introduced the ordinance on Oct. 3 but the council decided to postpone voting on Oct. 19 to discuss potential changes. The changes to the ordinance the city plans to discuss include further:

• Eliminating the vacancy requirement and including homes with a notice of default;

• Including homes in which the homeowner forgoes foreclosure proceedings and gives the deed to the lender;

• Making the registration fee annual;

• Eliminating a requirement to post a sign with contact information.

While the city council withdrew the measure, there is an urgency to make the changes as soon as possible. Councilwoman Anita Wood of Ward 3 expressed interest in voting on the ordinance at the Jan. 2 city council meeting (the soonest available time the ordinance could be voted on).

She said there was always a fear that there may be another wave of foreclosed homes; the law needs to be in place to prevent potential deterioration.

“We’ve asked for this a long time, and we want to get things up and running,” Wood said.

The original proposal would require lenders to register any foreclosed homes with the city. It also requires contact information be posted on the property and requires maintenance of landscaping and pools. The property must also be locked to prevent access to unauthorized people.

The proposed changes would capture a wider net of vacant homes. Under earlier versions of the proposal, homes that are vacant after a person receives a notice of default or decides not to go into foreclosure would not be registered, North Las Vegas city attorney Jeff Barr said. The annual registration fee would also help the city pay for maintenance of the properties, Barr added. Wood said she favored all the proposed changes.

The purpose of the law is to prevent the deterioration of vacant homes, which would help sustain homeowner property values and keep the city clean. Foreclosed homes blight has been a constant issue in North Las Vegas since the Great Recession hit. Wood of Ward 3 said the biggest issue is tracking down the owners of those foreclosed properties to clean up any deterioration. The law would help ease that process.

A similar ordinance is already in place in Las Vegas.

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