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Committee Substitute House Bill 4386 History

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HB4386 SUB
COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE

FOR

H. B. 4386


(By Delegates DeLong and Morgan)

[Originating in the Committee on Government Organization.]

[February 21, 2008]



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.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §8-12-16a, to read as follows:
ARTICLE 12. GENERAL AND SPECIFIC POWERS, DUTIES AND ALLIED RELATIONS OF MUNICIPALITIES, GOVERNING BODIES AND MUNICIPAL OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES; SUITS AGAINST MUNICIPALITIES.

§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 officer.

(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.




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