Philadelphia steps up efforts against blight

The city of Philadelphia is planning a major crackdown on blight. Mayor Michael Nutter stood outside a blighted property in Port Richmond to issue a warning.

 

“Philadelphia residents should not have to put up with this crap anymore in this city,” said Nutter. “We are sick and tired of being sick and tired about blight and deteriorated properties in this city. We have had enough.”

 

Mayor Nutter says there are as many as 20,000 blighted properties in the city, and Philadelphia is using new state legislation to go after absentee property owners.

“Let me put all property owners on notice right now,” said Nutter. “If you are not maintaining your property if you are not taking care of your property if you do not have your property up to Philadelphia’s code and are not in compliance, we are coming for you.”

Licenses and Inspection Commissioner Fran Burns says her agency will focus on homes with missing windows in blocks that are 85 percent occupied.

“We have the ability to ask the court to fine that owner $300 a day per opening for not putting in the doors and windows, we’re going to find the owner through our research, we’re going to take you to court on a dedicated court day, you need to pay attention and I think we’ve gotten your attention,” said Burns.

Councilwoman Maria Quiones-Sanchez says residents often complain about absentee landowners.

“We’re here to tell you that we’ve heard you we’re getting it together, as the mayor said if it was easy someone else would have done it,” said Quiones-Sanchez. “We’re committed to seeing this through.”

Philadelphia has struggled with abandoned and nuisance properties for years. The current housing slump makes it even tougher, since owners looking to sell are less likely to spend money to improve a house for a diminished payoff.

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