The City of Leitchfield, on Monday, approved an ordinance establishing a vacant residential property registration and maintenance program.
During the regularly scheduled Monday, June 16 Leitchfield City Council meeting, City Attorney Kenneth Smart gave the second and final reading of the Vacant Property Ordinance, which was approved by the City Council.
The purpose of the ordinance, Smart said, is to prevent threats to public health, general welfare and safety of City residents, which may arise as a result of vacant and unmaintained properties, a substantial number of which are the result of foreclosure.
In addition, the presence of vacant residential property poses the risk of depreciating property values and contributing to the deterioration of surrounding neighborhoods, Smart said.
The requirements of the ordinance are as follows:
Creditors - identified as federal or state banks, savings bans, savings and loan associations, credit unions or any entities acting on behalf of the creditor named in the debt obligation - who wish to file a complaint of foreclosure or execute a deed in lieu of foreclosure on a residential property located in the City of Leitchfield must first inspect the property to determine whether it is vacant.
If the property is vacant, the creditor must then, on the same day the complaint of foreclosure is filed or the deed in lieu of foreclosure is executed, register the property as vacant with the Leitchfield City Clerk’s Office.
If a residential property becomes vacant at any time after a creditor files a complaint of foreclosure or executes a deed in lieu of foreclosure, but prior to vesting of title in the creditor or a third party, the creditor must, within ten business days after learning of the vacancy, register the property as vacant with the Leitchfield City Clerk’s Office.
Registration of a residential property as a vacant property will include the property’s address, and the name and contact information of a person located within the Commonwealth of Kentucky who is authorized to accept service of process or other official notices as may be required on behalf of the creditor.
If a residential property becomes or remains vacant, and the City of Leitchfield determines the property is in violation of any ordinance regulating a nuisance, the City may notify the creditor of the violation and require the creditor to correct the violation to the extent consistent with the terms of the mortgage.
A notice of violation will include a description of the conditions that give rise to the violation and provide a period of not less than twenty days from the creditor’s receipt of the notice for the creditor to timely remedy the violation.
If the creditor fails to remedy the violation for within the stated period, the City may issue a citation and impose penalties against the creditor for violation of any ordinance regulating a nuisance as well as a violation.
Any creditor who fails to register vacant residential property with the City or violates the terms of the ordinance will be found guilty of a violation as defined in the Kentucky Revised Statutes.