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Councilwoman Odette Ramos proposes bills aimed at private-owned, unkept vacant properties

Posted at 5:51 PM, Mar 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-04 13:42:10-04

BALTIMORE — The deaths of three fire fighters has pushed momentum forward addressing Baltimore City's vacancies since it happened earlier this year.

Monday, a Baltimore councilwoman is pushing new legislation aimed at reducing vacant homes across the city.

Monday’s announcement comes as police investigate human remains found inside of a vacant home Friday evening on Pennsylvania avenue.

RELATED: City Council President wants to bill vacant property owners for 911 fire responses

It’s one of the more recent issues driving Baltimore City Councilwoman Odette Ramos to push her new legislation addressing vacant properties through the council.

"This is a difficult situation because we do have people who are needing shelter and they're going into these properties,” Ramos shared.

In Friday's instance, we see some inside of vacant properties don't always make it out of them alive.

Ramos says Friday’s discovery combines and reinforces 2 issues the city needs to solve.

"We've got this vacant property no ones taking care of, but also the fact that we don't have affordable housing to help people,” she told WMAR2 News,

Her legislation aims to make property neglect a more expensive practice for absentee owners of vacant properties across charm city explaining her proposed use of in rem tax sale foreclosures.

"The city can take the property out of tax sale and foreclose on those liens only if its vacant and the value of the liens is over the value of the property,” Ramos said.

Her legislation would make property neglect cost more within city limits.

“We have several examples in my district and across the city where the house has not been getting a failure to abate, failure to abate that notice and that citation is pretty high but my bill would get the citation up to 1 thousand dollars,” said Ramos.

The initial citations she says would be the first part of a series of actions if necessary.

“The goal here is to get the attention of the owner and say hey its not just these little high grass and weeds citation. Its this big one. You’ve got to pay attention and if we don't you’ve got to keep citing them because my bill says everyday is a new violation,” she explained.

Ramos' second bill aims to expedite that foreclosure process in the courts creating a separate docket for those specific cases.

"The message that this sends to those who are just leaving the properties derelict is you cant do that anymore or we're going to fine you and fine you and fine you significantly and we're going to fine you substantially to deal with your homes and if you don't we will foreclose on them,” Ramos explained.