§8-12-16a. Registration of uninhabitable property.

     (a) The governing body of a municipality may, by ordinance, establish a property registration for any real property improved by a structure that is uninhabitable and violates the applicable building code adopted by the municipality. An owner of real property subject to the registration shall be assessed a fee as provided by the ordinance.

     (b) The mayor of the municipality shall appoint a code enforcement officer to investigate and determine whether real property violates provisions of the applicable building code of the municipality.

     (c) After inspecting the property, if the officer determines the property is uninhabitable and violates the applicable building code, then:

     (1) The officer shall post a written notice on the property which shall include:

     (A) An explanation of the violation(s);

     (B) A description of the registration;

     (C) The date the fee will be assessed;

     (D) An explanation of how to be removed from the registration;      (E) An explanation of the appeals process; and

     (F) A statement that if the fee is not paid, then the property is subject to forfeiture; and

     (2) Within five business days of the inspection and the posting of the property, the officer shall, by certified mail, send a copy of the notice that was posted to the owner(s) of the property at the last known address according to the county property tax records.

     (d) Within forty-five days of receipt of the notification by the owner(s), the property owner may:

     (1) Make and complete any repairs to the property that violate the applicable building code; or

     (2) Provide written information to the officer showing that repairs are forthcoming in a reasonable period of time.

     (e) For purposes of this section, "owner" or "property owner" means a person who individually or jointly with others:

     (1) Has legal title to the property, with or without actual possession of the property;

     (2) Has charge, care or control of the property as owner or agent of the owner;

     (3) Is an executor, administrator, trustee or guardian of the estate of the owner;

     (4) Is the agent of the owner for the purpose of managing, controlling or collecting rents; or

     (5) Is entitled to control or direct the management or disposition of the property.

     (f) After the repairs are made, the owner may request a reinspection of the property to ensure compliance with the applicable building code. If the officer finds the violations are fixed, the owner is not subject to the registration and no fee will be incurred.

     (g) The officer may reinspect the property at any time to determine where in the process the repairs fall.

     (h) Within ninety days of receipt of the notification by the owner(s), the property owner has the right to appeal the decision of the officer to the enforcement agency, created in section sixteen, article twelve of this chapter.

     (i) If an appeal is not filed within ninety days, the property is registered and the fee is assessed to the owner(s) on the date specified in the notice. The notice of the fee shall be recorded in the office of the clerk of the county commission of the county where the property is located and if different, in the office of the clerk of the county commission of the county where the property is assessed for real property taxes.

     (j) If the enforcement agency affirms the registration and assessment of the registration fee, the property owner has the right to appeal the decision of the enforcement agency to the circuit court within thirty days of the decision. If the decision is not appealed in a timely manner to the circuit court, then the property is registered and the fee is assessed on the date specified in the notice. The notice of the fee shall be recorded in the office of the clerk of the county commission of the county where the property is located and if different, in the office of the clerk of the county commission of the county where the property is assessed for real property taxes.

     (k) A fee assessed under this section shall be recorded in the same manner as a lien is recorded in the office of the clerk of the county commission of the county.

     (l) If the fee is paid, then the municipality shall record a release of the fee in the office of the clerk of the county commission of the county where the property is located and if different, in the office of the clerk of the county commission of the county where the property is assessed for real property taxes.

     (m) If an owner fails to pay the fee, then the officer shall annually post the written notice on the property and send the written notice to the owner(s) by certified mail.

     (n) If a registration fee remains delinquent for two years from the date it was placed on record in the clerk of the county commission in which the property is located and assessed, the municipality may take action to receive the subject property by means of forfeiture. Should the municipality take the steps necessary to receive the subject property, the municipality then becomes the owner of record and takes the property subject to all liens and real and personal property taxes.