The City Council introduced an ordinance this month that would require the registration and maintenance of properties that are vacant or in foreclosure. A public hearing and final approval of the ordinance (O-31-14) is scheduled at the council’s Aug. 11 regular meeting.
By law, a bank already must notify the city clerk of any foreclosed or vacant properties, according to City Administrator Cherron Rountree. The ordinance would add a fee to the registration process. The main reason behind the legislation and fee is to discourage banks from holding onto vacant or foreclosed properties, she said.
It’s unclear how many foreclosed properties there are in Rahway but Rountree said the city is putting together a list from the notifications and would have have a better idea of how many there are – and how much revenue the fees might generate – when the ordinance gets voted upon. She reiterated that the impetus behind the measure isn’t to generate revenue but to discourage vacant properties.
Owners would have to register properties with the city within 14 days of becoming vacant, with an initial registration fee of $500. Registration renewal fees would run $1,500 after the first year, $3,000 for the second renewal and $5,000 for the third and subsequent renewals. A similar effort is being undertaken in Plainfield as well as some South Jersey towns.