City of Phoenix considers online registry for vacant properties

Squatters and illegal entry into properties is having one Valley city propose an online...
Squatters and illegal entry into properties is having one Valley city propose an online registry for vacant properties.(Arizona's Family file)
Published: May. 25, 2023 at 5:38 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Earlier this month, the City of Phoenix’s Neighborhood Services Department proposed creating an online registry for vacant properties.

It would be used for both residential and commercial properties and comes in light of the city receiving a number of calls and concerns from the community about addressing issues on vacant properties.

If there are rule violations or criminal activity taking place on a property and someone reports it, the city has to contact the property owner before taking immediate action. According to Neighborhood Services Director, Spencer Self, there are a lot of property owners that don’t live in the Valley or even the state. Therefore, they’ve run into the issue of getting in contact with owners to fix the issues quickly.

“With crime, things like trespassing, drug use or distribution, and even on occasion things like prostitution may be occurring, and when we can’t get ahold of those property owners quickly either through the Neighborhood Services Department or the police department those issues can last for longer than we’d like,” Self said.

The idea is that it would be an online portal so that property owners can access it at any time. So what are the requirements?

  • Owners would register annually
  • Provide an onsite contact
  • Register a property that’s been vacant for over 30 days
  • Applies to commercial properties larger than 10,000 sqft or residential properties with at least 50 units

On top of preventing or addressing criminal activity, Self said what lead to this proposal was an uptick in neglect issues across the city. If approved, he hopes this will help improve accountability amongst property owners.

“This year we’ve had a very rainy season and so we’re seeing weeds. I know things, like stink net or stinkweed, has become a huge issue all across the city, and it really proliferates when folks are not timely in terms of property maintenance,” said Self.

Self presented the proposal to the Community and Cultural Investment Subcommittee earlier this month. Self said the next steps to enact the registry will be conducting community engagement throughout the summer, then having enough feedback to have a formalized proposal before the city council sometime this fall.