H. B. 4386
(By Delegates DeLong and Morgan)
[Originating in the Committee on Government Organization.]
[February 21, 2008]
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by
adding thereto a new section, designated §8-12-16a, relating
to authorizing municipalities to create an annual vacant
property registration; limiting the authority to class I and
II municipalities; providing for registration fees; providing
for appeals; and providing penalties.
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended
by adding thereto a new section, designated §8-12-16a, to read as
ARTICLE 12. GENERAL AND SPECIFIC POWERS, DUTIES AND ALLIED
RELATIONS OF MUNICIPALITIES, GOVERNING BODIES AND
MUNICIPAL OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES; SUITS AGAINST
§8-12-16a. Regulation and registration of vacant properties.
(a) The governing body of a class I or II municipality may, by ordinance, establish an annual vacant property registration and may
charge a fee to the owner of any parcel of residential property
improved by a residential structure, or commercial property
improved by a structure containing multiple dwelling units, that is
vacant, has been vacant for at least six months, and is
characterized by violations of applicable housing codes established
by the municipality.
(b) The municipality shall designate a municipal officer to
investigate any property that may be subject to the registration
and registration fee. The officer shall report his findings and
recommendations, to the enforcement agency, created in subsection
(b), section sixteen, article twelve, of this chapter. The
enforcement agency shall determine whether the property is subject
to the registration and registration fee.
(c) Within five business days, the enforcement agency shall
direct the designated municipal official to notify by mail the
owner of the property subject to the registration and registration
fee at their last known address according to the records of the
municipality. The property owner has the right to appeal the
decision of the municipality to a municipal court or other court of
competent jurisdiction within thirty days of the notification.
Absent the existence of any valid appeal or request for
reconsideration, the registration fee begins at the beginning of
the next registration period after the decision of the municipal
(d) Within thirty days of notice from the municipality, the
property owner may complete any improvements to the property that
may be necessary to revoke the registration fee, and then may
request a reinspection of the property and a reconsideration of the
registration fee. If the enforcement agency revokes the
registration fee, no fee will be incurred. If the enforcement
agency affirms the assessment of the registration fee, the property
owner has the right to appeal the reconsideration decision of the
officer to the circuit court with competent jurisdiction within
thirty days of the decision. Absent the existence of any valid
appeal to the circuit court with competent jurisdiction, the
registration and registration fee begin on the beginning of the
next annual registration period after the reconsideration decision.
(d) The ordinance shall provide:
(1) Creation of a registration list;
(2) Procedures for payment of the registration fee;
(3) Penalties for delinquent payments of the fees;
(4) Provide notice and due process procedures; and,
(5) Any other provisions necessary to effectuate this section.
(e) If a registration fee is delinquent for two years, a
municipality may after proper notice place a lien on the subject
property and the property is subject to foreclosure proceedings in
the same manner as delinquent real property taxes.
(f) The owner of the property against which the assessment was
originally made is able to redeem the property only by presenting
evidence that the violations of the applicable housing code cited by the municipal officers have been cured and presenting payment of
all registration fees and penalties.
(g) Upon bona fide sale of the property to an unrelated party
said registration and registration fee shall cease and the
delinquent registration fee forgiven.