If you missed it, the District’s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs has updated its regulations regarding vacant buildings inside the city. As of October 1, there are two new tax brackets for properties which are classified as vacant and/or blighted — the former will be charged $5 per $100 of assessed value, while the latter will be charged $10 per $100 of assessed value. Those are some fairly stiff penalties for an issue which is often a recurring issue in several neighborhoods.
Owners of vacant buildings are required by law to register said structures with DCRA. Obviously, many do not, and so DCRA depends on the community to assist in identification. If you notice a building that has an accumulation of mail, no window coverings, is in a advanced state of disrepair or has been boarded up, you can report it the Office of Vacant Property by calling 311. (It’s worth noting that there are several exceptions to the regulations: a property can not be considered “vacant” if the owner is trying to rent or sell the building, or has an application pending on it with any one of several governing agencies like the National Capital Planning Commission or the Board of Zoning Adjustment.) If none of the exceptions apply, a DCRA inspector will then inspect the property in question, and at least the government might be able to pick up some extra tax revenue and put some heat on those who sit on useless eyesores.