Phoenix REALTORS® Work With City to Improve Neighborhoods
Blighted and abandoned homes have been costly for the city of Phoenix, Arizona, and some homeowners, which is why the Phoenix Association of REALTORS® has worked with the city government to develop an approach to these troubled properties through its participation on the Blight Liens Ad Hoc Committee.
Blighted homes have depressed the value of neighboring properties and added millions of dollars to the city’s debt. To protect neighborhoods and public safety, the city has paid contractors to mow lawns, drain unused swimming pools, board up broken windows, and fence off blighted properties. The city has also placed abatement liens on properties to recoup the money spent on these measures, but these liens have often proved to be uncollectable, as owners skirt the law and transfer the properties without the city’s knowledge. Unpaid liens total more than $7 million.
In 2014, the mayor and the Phoenix City Council convened a Blight Liens Ad Hoc Committee to review the blighted properties issue and develop policy recommendations. Representatives of the Phoenix Association of REALTORS® were invited to be a part of this committee.
The REALTORS® supported implementing a blight lien pilot program that would recover unpaid liens and help foster owner occupancy. Under the pilot program, the city would foreclose on approximately 15 properties with unpaid abatement liens to recover the payments owed. The city would immediately sell the property to private property owners for rehabilitation. REALTORS® would help ensure that the pilot program would respect private property rights, and only the most severely blighted properties would be subject to foreclosure proceedings.
The city council accepted the policy recommendations of the REALTORS®.
Phoenix REALTORS® believe that these policy recommendations will help foster owner occupancy, improve neighborhood safety, and increase property values. The recommendations should also help to improve the city of Phoenix’s financial health.